Alumni of the Month, December, Barlin Kesuma
Barlin Hady Kesuma is a senior teacher and a newly appointed principal at SMP Negeri 4, a junior secondary school in Samarinda, East Kalimantan Indonesia with 1083 students and more than 70 teachers and supporting staff. A graduate of the University of Birmingham’s School of Education with a degree in International Education, he promotes global citizenship through collaborative school projects and mentoring some teachers. As School Online programme ambassador he actively involves in training a number of schools in two provinces - East Kalimantan and North Kalimantan, to establish partnerships with schools abroad via British Council’s School Online community forums.
Barlin chose to pursue his master and doctorate degrees at the University of Birmingham’s School of Education because the School has national and international standing as a centre of excellence for research in education which was recognised by consistently scoring high in the Research Assessment Exercise. He also recalled that the School provided wide and varied opportunities to undertake research programme that supported his growth of research skills and build on subject knowledge
During his stay in UK, he enjoyed mostly its friendly and supportive atmosphere of the people in the UK. For the first time in his life, he lived far away from his family for pursuing his degree in UK, but he did not feel insecure, thanks to finding new Indonesian community in Birmingham, West Midlands. In the small community of 80 Indonesians, Barlin gained a strong friendship and cooperation among students and Indonesian expatriates in Birmingham. They lived, supported each other and felt warm togetherness, as they often organised some activities and gatherings in a regular basis.
Five years after his return to Indonesia, he was appointed as a head teacher in one of the largest state-funding schools in the City of Samarinda. Barlin concurs his UK degrees (master and doctorate in Education) have played an important role for his career because he managed to compete with other strong and senior candidates across the city to get the post. His UK education and experience background has supported him with fresh knowledge and ideas that helped him do well in his previous posts.
As he recalled his life in the UK, Barlin said although his university is located in Edgbaston, he chose to live in an area called Aston, which is about 1 hour if traveling by buses to the campus, because Aston has a big stadium, home for a Premiership football club named Aston Villa. Living by a big stadium gave him precious experience since he is a big fan of English football Premiership since he was younger. In Aston, he learned to live with people from many different races, ethnics, religions and countries who could live in a perfect harmony. Barlin concludes his story by encouraging other Indonesians to study in the UK and embrace its multiculturalism as the experience has given him a valuable insight on how the unity in diversity is practiced in a country outside the beloved country, Indonesia.