Jakarta. Several United States-based community colleges participated in an education fair in Jakarta on Tuesday (10/10) to present young Indonesians wishing to study abroad with more affordable alternatives.
"[A]cademic and education exchanges are an essential part of our strategic partnerships with Indonesia. As more Indonesian students study in the United States, we build very important bridges between our two societies," US Ambassador Joseph Donovan told reporters.
There are currently around 9,000 Indonesians studying in the United States and Donovan said he is working to increase that number. He added that there is a 95 percent approval rate for student visa applications at the US Embassy in Jakarta.
Sixteen community colleges, including Bellevue College and Shoreline Community College from Washington State and Riverside City College from California, participated in the event.
Community colleges offer two-year programs and serve as a pathway for students to eventually earn their bachelor's degrees. They represent the largest system of higher education in the United States, with more than 950 public community colleges across the country.
According to Kristoffer Toribio, assistant director for international admissions and recruitment at Orange Coast College in California, 50 percent of American students begin their undergraduate degree at community colleges.
Ambassador Donovan said community colleges "offer great transitions from Indonesian academic life to American academic life" and a "great bridge to moving on to four-year schools."
Furthermore, most community colleges have lower requirements for international students to apply as they do not have high language requirements compared with those of universities.
They are also inexpensive in comparison and have smaller classes as well as a wide range of student services, offering a "smooth transition to studying abroad," said Karen Schinnerer, cultural and education attaché at the US Embassy.
While each community college differs, most require students to have completed high school or be at least be 18 years old, in addition to proof of English proficiency and the financial ability to the pay tuition fees.
EducationUSA Community College Fair 2017 also took place in Medan, North Sumatra, on Sunday and it will end in Surabaya, East Java, on Thursday.