Jakarta. The United States Embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday (21/11) held an information session for Indonesian students who want to continue their tertiary education in American universities. During it, the embassy highlighted the role of international exchanges to strengthen partnership between the two countries and to help solve global challenges.
"It’s very much a part of our goals [at the embassy] to strengthen the partnership between our two countries, particularly in education," US embassy cultural attaché Karen Schinnerer said.
She said in today’s world, global challenges can no longer be solved solo by a country or a charismatic leader.
"It’s all of us working together. So a way to connect everybody is through international exchanges," Schinnerer said.
More than a million international students are currently studying in the United States.
Schinnerer said international educational exchanges provide the skills and the networks for Indonesian and American students "that are much needed in the 21st century workforce."
According to the annual Open Doors report from the US State Department and non-profit agency Institute of International Education, the number of Indonesians studying in the US is currently at a 13-year high, a total of 8,776 Indonesians.
The Southeast Asian country is 19th in the list of origin countries for international students in the US, and 12th in the list of origin countries for people who specifically enroll at US community colleges.
The report also recorded an 11.8 percent increase in the number of Americans studying in Indonesia, up to to 597.
"I think more and more Americans are seeing Indonesia as a leader in Southeast Asia, and so that is attractive to them," Schinnerer said.
Satrio Wicaksono, an Indonesian alumni from the United States’ Wesleyan College and Brown University, said the United States is a great option to pursue higher education, especially for those who are interested in research.
He said liberal arts colleges in the United States emphasize critical thinking and offer various options for studying abroad outside of the United States.
"Pursuing your higher education in the United States opens up many opportunities," Satrio said.
There are over 4,500 colleges and universities in the United States. The embassy said over 90 percent of student visa applicants are approved.
New York, California and Texas are the top regional choices for international students, with engineering, business and management, math and computer science as some of the most popular majors among this group.