Study Abroad Scholarship Gives Social Work Student Fresh Perspective
Friday, September 15th
Rangga Radityaputra came to Rutgers in 2016 to study as a graduate in the School of Social Work—and the Indonesian-born and raised student is no stranger to the value social welfare systems bring to communities.
“When I was in high school and college, I was actively involved in student organizations and student union. There were lots of activities that we did, including organizing sports events for high schools in Jakarta, participating in social services such as teaching fishermen’s children, and organizing college student charity activities,” he said.
“Before I came to Rutgers, I worked as a direct-service practitioner for disaster, counseling, substance abuse, and human resources in Indonesia since 2009.”
It was those experiences, he said, that helped him to get to know people from different backgrounds.
“It was gratifying and satisfying that my work could make a little difference for them,” he said.
This summer, Radityaputra expanded his studies by going back to Asia, this time to China for the Social Welfare System in China study abroad program, with the help of a $1,000 scholarship from Rutgers China Office.
“My curiosity as a social work student to know how China’s social welfare system works motivated me to pursue study abroad in China. I wondered how China as a country administers their social welfare in the midst of their fast-growing economy.”
The two-week program, which brought him to the Chinese cities of Tianjin and Beijing, gave him a hands-on learning experience in social work. While there, Radityaputra spent time with social work administrators in boarding schools, nonprofit agencies, and the China Care Home—a medical care facility for young children.
“It was a sensitive experience for me when I met with a baby with a weak heart condition,” he said. “My little brother passed away when he was two and a half years old from a heart problem.”
After seeing various nonprofit and philanthropic agencies, he “believes that China has adequate resources to fund socially-oriented projects” and witnessed a “growing trend in philanthropic behavior in the country.”
However, he said that his studies gave him insights to see areas for growth in Chinese social welfare systems.
“On the other hand, I saw that they are still learning to provide the social services. In terms of services, I believe they heavily rely on the western model and curriculum and they are in the process to fit that model so it will be appropriate to China’s population.”
Rutgers China Office provides study abroad scholarships to students who pursue traditional study abroad, career-oriented internships, and other nontraditional credit-bearing study in China. Programs like Social Welfare System in China prepare Rutgers students to assume significant roles in the 21st century workforce—one that relies on a growing interdependence between the United States and China.
For 2016–2017, the Rutgers China Office awarded study abroad scholarships worth about $20,000 in total, with each scholarship up to $2,000 for semester study abroad programs in China.
Radityaputra said he values his experience in China and the connection he felt to his home culture.
“I feel happy and blessed to have the opportunity to come to China. Visiting cultural sites and nonprofit agencies reminded me of Indonesia; I feel that we have the same culture,” he said. “The importance of family and collectiveness, I think is the similar value in China and China has experienced a significant social change from their fast growing economy.”
Upon returning to Rutgers, scholarship recipients are expected to promote study abroad in China through classroom presentations, study abroad fairs, or information sessions. Learn more about the Rutgers China Study Abroad Scholarship and enter the 2017 Study Abroad Fair scholarship raffle for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship for any program.