UMM: Blogging, Classes, and a Fun Round of ‘Ask Caitlin’

Hey y’all! I’m so sorry for leaving you hanging for so long! Turns out at that blogging takes a lot of emotional and mental energy! I have been going on so many crazy fun adventures, and have been completely pooped by bedtime and keep promising myself that I will post the next day. The other thing that has been different these past few days, is we haven’t gone to a cafe! We had a full day on Thursday and Friday, and yesterday (Saturday), we just hung out at home and I didn’t feel up to writing. So, here we are today, Sunday, just relaxin at home after a busy day in Batu. I decided that my blog posts are going to be a little different from here on out. I don’t think it is practical to blog about every day at this point. I am just going to kind of write and see what happens! I noticed with my other posts, being just retelling of the days events, don’t contain a lot of my actual thoughts about certain experiences and I want to do more of that. SO, welcome to blog post #5!!

On Tuesday and Thursday, I went to Univeristas Muhammadiyah Malang, which is the university where Sam teaches English-speaking. There is one class on Tuesday, and two classes on Thursday. First, lets talk about the university. The campus is absolutely gorgeous. When you approach it, you turn into the entrance and drive under a beautiful arch, and then the entire campus opens up. You go down a pretty steep hill so when you first turn in, you get a beautiful view of the campus. To the left, there is a gorgeous mosque, and a river that runs in front of it. Then, when you are entering campus, there is a huge courtyard that has a couple of fountains, and a cool sign with the university name.

Sam teaches in a classroom on the third floor in one of the buildings. Remember how I said in a previous post that I really enjoyed how buildings in Indonesia are really open? Well, this is how the campus buildings are. When you go up the stairs, you are still outside, as well as when you are in the ‘hallway’. The classroom itself is a pretty traditional classroom, minus the heat. It is so hot and stuffy, and there is just a tiny oscillating fan to cool it down, and because everyone must dress very conservatively on campus, I was baking. The first day I wore a skirt with leggings underneath, a long-sleeved shirt and a big scarf. The second day, I wore a maxi skirt with leggings underneath (because you can’t ride on the back of a scooter with a skirt on without exposing your entire leg), a tank top with a very long sweater over it, and a scarf. Sooo hot. For the most part, all of the girls in Sam’s class were wearing hijabs, and I really wonder how they tolerate the heat. Another thing about the girls; they are all so fashionable it is wild!!  Sam says they call themselves ‘hijabistas’, like ‘fashionistas’ but with hijabs, and it is totally true. They are all so trendy and adorable!

To start off class, Sam had everyone do a little group warm up to get everyone comfortable. They are not used to having guests in class! We then started the ‘Ask Caitlin’ section in which they were able to ask me whatever questions they wanted. I was anticipating questions about me, my life in the US, the cats… basic questions. I was definitely not prepared for what they asked! I was so impressed with their English, but more so the depth of their questions. I’m not going to put all of my responses on here, because a lot of it was about politics and I really do not feel up to posting my current political views on the internet but here are some of the questions!!

  1. Why is your skin so white?!  The students were so surprised by how white I am! Sam has quite the tan, and next to her I pretty much glow in the dark. This was not the first time that I had been asked this question on this trip!
  2. Why did you come to Indonesia? To visit Sam, she has lived here for so long and always talks about how beautiful it is!
  3. What was your first impression of Indonesia? HOT HOT HOT
  4. What do you think of all of the people wearing Hijabs? I have been exposed to this before, as there was a pretty large Muslim population where we lived in Michigan, plus it was really close to Dearborn which has an extremely large Muslim population,  and I really enjoy all of the different patterns and styles!
  5. Can you describe American Culture? This question really threw me! I’ve never had to explain our culture before it was really crazy!
  6. What is the general populations attitude toward Trump? Oh man.
  7. What is the attitude around the World Trade Center, post 9/11, and what is there now? *me: these are intense questions yeesh*
  8. You are recently married, right? *me: coool easy questions about my life!*
    Ok! So, in the US, what is the attitude toward people that get pregnant and have babies before marriage? *me: OMG*

Sam to the rescue with an easier question! I mean YEESH! These kids put me through the ringer! (BTW when I say kids, they are 18-19 year old kids, not kid kids.) I still cannot believe that those are the questions they asked! They are so smart!

The other part of class was a speaking activity. The students had to design an itinerary for me in groups, and then present it to the class, and at the end I chose the itinerary that I liked the best. They were all so good! And they were so shy about speaking in front of me, so they were all giggly and adorable, it was almost too much. BUT, the focus of the activity was using single-word modals. Have any of you every heard of a modal? Because I don’t think I have ever heard that word in my entire life! Single word modals are words like should, may, can, will, etc. Learning about modals really made me reflect on how we learn language. When you are little and you are learning your own language, you don’t learn really what words are, or how to conjugate verbs, or what a modal is, you just learn the language. Sure, in English class we learn about verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, grammar, and stuff like that, but we already can speak English before learning about this. But on the flip side, when we learn a foreign language, we learn all of this other stuff before we can even speak the language! Maybe that is why I have a hard time learning languages. I have always been taught to focus so much on conjugating verbs and just learning vocab, and never really learned how to speak the language. Interesting!!

I can’t wait for next week’s classes!


3 thoughts on “UMM: Blogging, Classes, and a Fun Round of ‘Ask Caitlin’

  1. I LOVE seeing pictures of the university you know I’m going to ask Sam all the questions about infrastructure! I’m so glad you want to class and they asked real questions ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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