As a part of the joint program initiated between Goshen College (GC), Indiana and Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW), Yogyakarta, 13 students of Goshen College participated in Study-Service Term (SST) hosted by UKDW. The program, by its name, comprises two terms, namely study term and service term. Study term offered some classes and workshops where GC students learned the culture and heritage of Indonesia, Indonesian, arts, socio-economic, religion, health, and education in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the service term is an immersion period where GC students are expected to apply their skills and knowledge during the study term in the communities across Yogyakarta municipality. The service term which lasted for 6 weeks, from 23 February–4 April 2019 was aimed to provide GC students with opportunities to engage in an immersion experiences in some communities through intensive activities. Located in 3 regencies, namely Bantul, Sleman, and Kulon Progo, this service (immersion) term promoted social and life skills, leadership development, social and cultural awareness, and solidarity in diversity.

Bina Anggita School for students with autism spectrum disorder and Dream House Organization for street children are the host institutions in Bantul regency where some of the GC students experienced their service (immersion) term. Two GC students spent 6 weeks in Bina Anggita School for students with autism spectrum disorder, assisting teaching, helping doing the school administration work, and helping the students in needs during their swimming and music classes. Likewise, another two GC students did their service (immersion) term in Dream House Organization, a non-profit organization that transforms and empowers street children through holistic education approach. During the 6 weeks service period, the focus of the service (immersion) term had been mainly on advocating street children through personal guidance and approach.

The service (immersion) term in Sleman regency took place in two host institutions, namely Yakkum Rehabilitation Center and Institute for Interfaith Dialogue (Interfidei). Two GC students who did their service (immersion) term in Yakkum Rehabilitation Center worked with the educators and staff in preparing kindergarten children with cerebral palsy to attend elementary school by developing their cognitive abilities, inter-social skill, and interests. In addition, GC students involved in the video making session for psychosocial-disabled clients who have difficulties in accessing public facilities. Interfidei, the other host institution in Sleman regency, became the ‘home’ for one GC student and helped him immerse in the inter-religious awareness through education, inter-religious workshops and seminars, as well as community engagement.

Kulon Progo regency had hosted 6 GC students and provided them with various immersion activities in some of the institutions around Boro area. Sancta Maria orphanage for boys was one of the other host institutions which had provided GC students with the experiences of living and working in the orphanage and helping with the children’s daily activities. These experiences were paired with the service experience in Pangudi Luhur Elementary and Junior High School where GC students were required to assist the teachers and students during the teaching and learning process. Perdikan EcoEdupark, an early childhood education center, was ‘home’ for one GC student during her service (immersion) term. During 6 weeks, GC student helped the community in and around Perdikan EcoEdupark in providing education for young learners three times a week, participating in home industry activities, such as making tempeh and cantella asiatica chips, as well as farming. The next host institution was a chrysanthemum farm which belongs to Pak Tody, the chairman of chrysanthemum farmers association in Kulon Progo. There was one GC student doing her service (immersion) term in this place who has a great interest in flower farming. The aims of the service (immersion) in the chrysanthemum farm were to immerse and familiarize GC student with the process of chrysanthemum farming and introduce her with the local culture and values. Pangudi Luhur (PL) elementary school Kalirejo was the last institution hosted two GC students during their service (immersion) term. PL elementary school has been empowering their students with organic farming skills and incorporating organic farming into the school curriculum. GC students who partook in PL elementary school dedicated their skills and knowledge in assisting the teachers and students during class activities, participating in farming, and socializing with the community around the school.

During the six-week service (immersion) term, each day was special and there was no ‘typical’ day for GC students, as stated by most of them during the last day of their service. The experiences varied greatly from one student to another, were rewarding, and life-changing for some of them. In addition, they experienced hands-on learning opportunities which might have enabled them to understand social issue, raise their awareness, learn new skills, meet new people, and embrace diversity. The celebration of their hands-on learning experience was conducted through presentation sessions sharing their project and valuable experiences during the six weeks of service (immersion) term. (LAK)