This year, ASEAN Countries are facing AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) which means a trade block agreement by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
supporting local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries. Indonesia is one of the ASEAN countries, we as an Indonesian youth needs to prepare on facing this
and adapt with it. By understanding more about the other ASEAN countries, we could plan strategies on how to face AFTA in our own country.
Meliani, one of BNEC’s Steering Committees, on her third year of the college, recently got a chance to go to Vietnam for ASEAN in Today’s World Programme
2015. It is a two-week international study program focusing on ASEAN and East Asian affair where the accommodation, local transport, and meal expenses are
fully funded. She was chosen after passing the requirement phase which is a submission of an essay.
The activity that Meliani and the other chosen participants joined was Learning Vietnam language starting from basics. After that they also learned the
ASEAN Economy. Then, they also got the chance to travel around the city guided by the Vietnam Liaison Officers to places such as mall, lakes, temple, and
parks. While, on the weekend, the participants were invited to go to Machu Village or Halong Bay. In Machu Village they could go shopping, see the
traditional house, traditional dance, and last but not least, the traditional foods. The most interesting experiences for Meliani were:
1. The experience to visit a new country.
Seeing new cultures including the food and places that she has never seen before. She was also taught how to play Beer Game, the game that who loses should
drink the beer.
2. Friendly friends from all around ASEAN, sharing tradition and also cultures.
Each of the chosen participants did the presentation about their own country so the others could learn and know more about various things in ASEAN
3. The lessons and lecture which are so open minded and inspiring.
In the lecturing, they are so practical not only theoretical.
After joining this program, Meliani knows a new knowledge about the ASEAN economy which she has never known before and also the trending issues about ASEAN
Countries such as Food safety condition between Philippines and Japan. She said if she didn’t join this event, she could not get this kind of learning even
though she pays for it. The other benefit she got by joining this program is she knows the information to join another interesting event opportunity that
is CIMB Youth Asean Leader in Malaysia which she has joined afterward.
For those who are interested to join this kind of program, here are some tips that Meliani gives:
1. Prepare the essay well (usually it is about the reason why you want to join the program)
2. Be an open minded person because in there you will know a lot of new unique people with different background and cultures.
3. Don’t forget to prepare your camera!
Various ASEAN Programs for youth could be a great chance to understand more about ASEAN countries. And nowadays, there are many programs that give this
opportunity for youth like us. Thus, be aware for the chance given, be prepared for being chosen, and develop yourself even more!