While the scholarships form the core of the activities of the VDMS, we also developed courses to complement the formal programs of the Indonesian universities. As such, we mention the ‘leadership conferences’, and the ‘regional meetings’. Further, a special place are devoted to the ‘projects’, since these are focused on students from SMA’s and SMK’s. Outstanding experts, coming from Indonesia and outside, are the main contributors to our courses, which will described in more detail below:
Once or Twice a year, a Citizenship Workshop (CW) will take place. The main subject of the program will be an understanding and creating on how to develop a society. Core competence of this program will be worked out and discovered by the participants, which will be supported by facilitators. All participants will learn the idea of sustainability, and also will learn how to be an active citizen who creates sustainable affects to the community, to be active, proactive, creative, and critical. Thus the participants are expected to learn how to manage it. All competences are in the academic purpose; to broaden the perspective is on the surrounding environment. As a series of application and selection process, the participants are required to fill in and write down several questions. About 20 VDMI students who are in their 3rd and 4th year participate in a CW. CW held in Lembang and Salatiga (2017), Jatinangor and Bandungan (2018), and the last in Trawas (East Java) on August 2019
Each year, several Regional Meetings (RMs) take place, one in each of the different regions where our partner-universities reside. A VDMS student should have the possibility to visit at least one RM during his/her education, which implies that the RMs have a frequency of about three per year. Also the Person in Charge (PICs) for the VDMS at the universities and the alumni are invited. The program consists of lectures and exercises which focus on the development and strengthening of the cooperation among the students and with the staff of the universities. Network development is stimulated too. Problems of the students are discussed in (sub) groups during the RM and solutions are developed. Ways to increase the possibility of getting a job in the future are a topic as well. The RMs take mostly two adjacent days. There is no selection process. In 2017 and 2018, RMs were present in Gorontalo, Flores, Yogyakarta, and Jabodetabek-Bandung. In 2019, VDMI held 5 RMs were present in Semarang (Central Java), Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara), Manado (North Sulawesi), Padang (West Sumatera), and the last in Makassar (South Sulawesi) on October 2019.
Excellent Writing Club (EWC)
Students’ ability in writing always becomes a big concern for the education outcome in Indonesia. Indonesian students mostly do not have as many writing assignments compared to their counterparts from developed countries. The problems usually come up when Indonesian students continue their studies abroad. How to do the writing assignment mostly become the hardest thing to be learned by Indonesian students. Whereas, 90% of the grades received by students who study abroad are from their written assignments. Furthermore, most of the Indonesian students who study abroad are funded by sponsors (received a scholarship). In selecting the benefit recipients, these sponsors mostly required the candidates to have at least a minimum of 3 publications to represent their writing abilities. Those who can show their ability in writing in addition to other criteria required by the sponsors are those who finally manage to get the scholarships.
Bridging the lack of training in writing for Indonesian students from the formal institution in Indonesia, Van Deventer-Maas Indonesia scholarship provides the Excellent Writing Club (EWC) program as one of its capacity-building programs. EWC is an online coaching platform designed for VDMI alumni and grantees to practice writing and get feedback from the writing expert. Alumni and grantees are expected to send at least one to two articles per month through this platform. After receiving feedback for their articles, Alumni and grantees could utilize the feedback when they write their next articles. It is expected that by this continued practice, VDMI alumni and grantees will steadily improve their writing abilities by participating in the EWC.
To be able to submit their writing to the EWC online platform, Alumni and grantees should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a membership account. After receiving the user name and password, Alumni and grantees of VDMI could access the platform and send their articles anytime at their convenience. As a reward for the active members of this club, each year, VDMI provides the Excellent Writing Workshop (EWW) for 20 selected members (fully covered). Not only that these members do not have to spend their expenses to attend this annual event, but they will also get a great opportunity to meet national trainers who are experts in writing.
Similar to all other capacity-building programs of VDMI, the EWC program also aims to add more valuable skills to the VDMI benefit recipients. Thus, Alumni and grantees of VDMI can stand out among other students/Indonesian scholars who did not receive this scholarship. VDMI genuinely hopes that the scholarship and all of the capacity building programs designed for alumni and grantees can prepare them to be active citizens that can develop Indonesia, especially communities around them.