Agus Maryono, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Name: Agus Maryono
Lives in: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Period in Germany: 1993 to 2000 (Mannheim, Karlsruhe and elsewhere)
Educational and research institution: University of Karlsruhe (now Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
Job: Deputy Director of SEAMOLEC (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Open Learning Centre), lecturer at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta
I started to think seriously about studying in Germany while I was still in high school. It was the former Minister of Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, Dr Burhan J. Habibie, who got me interested in the idea. I lived in Germany for seven years, spending some of this time in halls of residence and with host families in Mannheim and Karlsruhe. I completed my postgraduate degree and my PhD in hydraulic engineering at the University of Karlsruhe. I also took various language courses during this time. My stay in Germany was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and DFG (German Research Foundation).
I currently lecture at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and serve as Deputy Director of SEAMOLEC (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Open Learning Centre). I am also Chairman of the Indonesian Guest of Honour organising committee for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 (14 to 18 October, 2015).
'Thanks to the time I spent studying in Germany, I've been able to publish six books in my field.'
The seven years I spent in Germany have greatly influenced my life ever since, both professionally and personally. Being taught to think systematically and broadening my specialist knowledge have been particularly key in enabling me to publish several books. I've been able to pass on what I've learned about hydraulic engineering in lectures and seminars throughout Indonesia. On a personal level, I was able to enjoy life with my family. We got on well and supported each other. I can still remember well the enjoyable times I spent with my children at the playground. It was great that my wife was able to study too during our stay. Looking back on my time in Germany makes me remember my professor, who I still work with today on hydraulic engineering projects in Indonesia. I also have fond memories of the lab and the good working relationship I had with my very helpful colleagues there. Additionally, I still clearly recall shopping at Aldi, walking along the streets of Karlsruhe and travelling by tram. One thing that I thought was a shame was that I didn't have enough money to go to a nice restaurant, a concert or a football match while I was in Germany. As such, I would recommend that DAAD enable scholarship holders to enjoy these kinds of leisure activities.
'My personal mantra is that you should always try to improve.'
If you have the opportunity to spend time in Germany, then you should work hard, take the initiative in talking to people, familiarise yourself with the culture and develop relationships with professors and colleagues in your field. Don't say 'I can't do that', but rather 'I'll manage to do it'. You need to be diligent and be sure to gain practical experience in Germany before going back to your home country. In terms of the future, I hope to return to Germany for two to three years to expand my knowledge with a view to writing many more books. Most of all, I'd like to set up an institution in order to share my expertise more rapidly throughout Indonesia, as I think you should take every opportunity to help other people by passing on what you've learned.
Agus Maryono on the Alumniportal Deutschland
Online networks like the Alumniportal are a highly effective way of bringing many alumni together across large distances, saving time and cutting costs. I am an avid user of online networks myself and am in regular contact with other Germany-Alumni, lecturers at Gadjah Mada University and Germany-Alumni organisations in Indonesia.
At the same time, I think that networks are effective platforms not just for discussion, but also for working together. In other words, you can conduct research and run programmes within these alumni networks in order to add value to them. I hope that the alumni continue to strengthen cooperation between Germany and Indonesia through their work. They should also avoid a clique mentality and keep in touch and collaborate with Germany alumni in other countries.