The Jakarta Post
Jacqueline Kirchner (left) from Germany participates in batik-making at the Budi Utomo Teacher Training and Education Institute (IKIP) campus, Malang, East Java. (JP/Nedi Putra AW)
Thirty-one-year-old Jacqueline Kirchner's hands looked stiff when she poured malam (hot liquid wax) from a canting (spouted bowl) onto a white sheet so she could draw patterns on it. Nevertheless, the German citizen seemed to enjoy learning how to make batik at the Budi Utomo Teacher Training and Education Institute (IKIP) campus, Malang, East Java.
Meanwhile, Mukhtar Hassanpoor from Afghanistan and Kim Seowon from South Korea were busy coloring the batik cloth that had already been patterned.
Hassanpoor said he enjoyed the making of batik tulis (hand-drawn batik), which is made by hand without the use of any machinery.
"In my country, there are actually some handmade crafts such as clothes or carpets, but the process of making batik here is unique and amazing," he said.
Hassanpoor said he plans to bring and introduce some batik cloths created by him to Afghanistan.
Echoing him, Jacqueline, who arrived in Indonesia in December and accompanied Manuel Kirchner, her husband, said she really liked batik even though this was the first time she had studied it.
"Although it is difficult because you must be thorough, it is very pleasant. This is something that does not exist in my country," she said, speaking in Indonesian. Jacqueline said previously she only knew of batik from photographs and now finally had the opportunity to make it herself.
Jacqueline, Hassanpoor and Kim are some of the 22 foreign students of the Darmasiswa program from the Education and Culture Ministry studying at IKIP Budi Utomo Malang in the 2018/2019 academic year .
These students come from a number of countries, such as Italy, Germany, Thailand, Afghanistan, Sudan, Ukraine, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the United States. They have come to learn the Indonesian language and culture.
Jacqueline admitted that at first it was rather difficult to speak Indonesian, both the grammar and pronunciation, saying it differed greatly from German.
"But by studying every day, in two months I have been able to communicate in Indonesian in a number of daily conversations," said Jacqueline, who admits to enjoying a rice rendang dish, a local culinary delight consisting of meat slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices.
Nurcholis Sunuyeko, Budi Utomo IKIP's rector, said that in addition to the Darmasiswa program, there were also foreign students entering the regular Indonesian Language Program for Foreign Speakers.
"Batik itself is a cultural introduction program that has been going on since 2008, which is given not only in theory, but also practice," he said.
Nurcholis added that the foreign students were also introduced to other types of cultural heritage, such as dance, especially the Malangan Mask Dance.
"In order to expand their knowledge about Javanese culture, we plan to invite them to Yogyakarta," he said. (liz/wng)