Since arriving in Oberlin in late January, 2019, “Aris” Arismawan has been busy. Visiting from Syiah Kuala University, he is impressed by the sheer number of posters he sees around Oberlin’s campus, and is excited by the number of course offerings available. While he lectures on Engineering and Industrial Management at SKU, he’s further explored his academic and personal interests here in Oberlin. Taking classes in Entrepreneurship, Comparative American Studies, Arabic, Economics, and a Korean ExCo, Aris has been fully immersed in the Liberal Arts. If that doesn’t make him too busy already, Aris has explored many campus events, guest lectures, movie screenings, and workshops. Upon returning to SKU, he hopes to create an event calendar similar to Oberlin’s, where one can see what’s happening on any given afternoon.
Other than an event calendar, Aris has been impressed with the attitudes between students and lecturers in Oberlin and hopes to bring some of that to Syiah Kuala. Along with technological changes, like wanting to contact students more through the internet or websites like Blackboard, he hopes to integrate more discussion into his lectures. He also hopes to explore peer-learning pedagogies, creating opportunities for more students to teach.
While Aris didn’t come to Oberlin with any specific research in mind, he’s made it a personal mission to learn about American cultures. Through taking Comparative American Studies courses, using the Shansi Visiting Scholar’s travel grant to explore the U.S. outside of Oberlin, and visiting many arts institutions like the Cleveland Art Museum and Oberlin’s Allen Art Museum, Aris has tried to find commonalities between Acehnese and American cultures. While this is project would inevitably take longer than just one semester in Oberlin, he was surprised with one thing – the friendliness of the people he’s met here. An avid participant in Oberlin’s Friendship Circle, he tries to engage with Oberlin students and professors as much as possible. He goes to International Student dinners and attends every Shansi information session, so he can share his own experience and make even more meaningful connections in Oberlin. He loves how frequently people smile here.
Even with his busy schedule, Aris finds time to spend in the library, the gym, and even The Feve. While he’s made many friends in his time in Oberlin, he emphasizes his appreciation for the Oberlin Shansi office. He says, “I feel like in Shansi, this is not just work, or just professional, this is like family.”
Arismawan (right) enjoying Oberlin's winter with friends Sri "Tina" Agustina (Indonesia), Hawraa Sana (Kuwait) and Wang "Sybil" Shiyu (China).