Critical Language Scholarship Program | Joy Cariño
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Joy and her language tutors at Kampung Warna-Warni

Joy Cariño

Joy Car­iño is an alum­na of the 2019 CLS Indone­sian pro­gram in Malang, Indone­sia. She’s a cur­rent senior at Mis­sis­sip­pi State Uni­ver­si­ty, with a major in Eng­lish and a minor in Lin­guis­tics and work­ing on a TESOL cer­tifi­cate. After grad­u­at­ing in May 2020, Joy hopes to teach Eng­lish and pur­sue research in lan­guage acqui­si­tion or soci­olin­guis­tics. She enjoys writ­ing poet­ry, fic­tion, and essays and has played the piano for local choirs in her community.

Get­ting to Know Joy

I grew up in Starkville, a small col­lege town home to Mis­sis­sip­pi State Uni­ver­si­ty, where I also attend col­lege. My par­ents are Fil­ipino immi­grants who came to teach and research at near­by uni­ver­si­ties. Grow­ing up in Starkville intro­duced me to inter­na­tion­al diver­si­ty in the immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty, crazy col­lege foot­ball tra­di­tions, a vibrant uni­ver­si­ty arts scene, and South­ern hos­pi­tal­i­ty all in one small town.

An Inter­est in Indonesian

I want­ed to study Indone­sian because I am inter­est­ed in study­ing soci­olin­guis­tics in con­texts of South­east Asia and want­ed to learn more about the region of the world where my fam­i­ly is from. I also want­ed to immerse myself in a new lan­guage and cul­ture and see what it was like to live in a mul­ti­lin­gual, mul­ti­cul­tur­al soci­ety like Indone­sia. In addi­tion, as an aspir­ing Eng­lish teacher, tak­ing immer­sive lan­guage class­es in Indone­sian showed me new tech­niques in lan­guage teach­ing that I hope to use in my own class­room some­day, such as tak­ing time at the begin­ning of class to chat infor­mal­ly about what we did the pre­vi­ous day, to prac­tice speak­ing our new lan­guage in mean­ing­ful and rel­e­vant contexts.

Stand­ing next to the Café Per­pus­takaan (Library Café) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Malang, the CLS host cam­pus. The mes­sage in front says love to read.”

My favorite word in Indone­sian is waduh” (wah-DHOO). It express­es sur­prise, but it can mean any­thing from amaz­ing!” to on no!” to wow!” to yikes!” depend­ing on con­text or how you say it. Anoth­er favorite word is pedas” (puh-DAS) mean­ing spicy.”

If you’re inter­est­ed in reli­gion, the­ater, poet­ry, arts, pol­i­tics, vol­ca­noes, health­care, inter­na­tion­al rela­tions, or any­thing at all real­ly, I would high­ly rec­om­mend study­ing in Indone­sia, where there is always some­thing inter­est­ing going on in pol­i­tics, cof­fee shop entre­pre­neur­ship, archae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies, and more! Fur­ther­more, if you’re into arts and his­to­ry, Malang is a great city to explore, with muse­ums, free indie band con­certs, art gal­leries, poet­ry read­ings, and TONS of cof­fee shops.

Mean­ing­ful Interactions

One day my lan­guage part­ner invit­ed me to hang out at her host home, where she lives with eleven oth­er women. I was a lit­tle ner­vous at the thought of being real­ly close, real­ly quick­ly to eleven oth­er women I’d nev­er met before, but I was glad she invit­ed me. That day, one of her room­mates was prepar­ing invi­ta­tions for her upcom­ing wed­ding, so my lan­guage part­ner and I helped her. As we fold­ed invi­ta­tions, the three of us talked about wed­dings, life, and rela­tion­ships. It was fun to talk about our dif­fer­ent dat­ing cul­tures (and dat­ing expe­ri­ences)! I loved this moment because it was such a homey, nor­mal occur­rence, some­thing I would do on a lazy Sun­day after­noon with my friends in Mis­sis­sip­pi. Fur­ther­more, my ner­vous­ness went away after meet­ing sev­er­al oth­er room­mates who told me I should come over more often, espe­cial­ly since they always had snacks and fast WiFi! This expe­ri­ence showed me that tak­ing a chance to meet new peo­ple can lead to spe­cial, shared moments!

Con­nect­ing Home and Host Cultures

With CLS friends in front of a Wayang (shad­ow pup­pet) dis­play at Kam­pung War­na Warni

For a class project dur­ing CLS, we had to cre­ate a dream busi­ness. Mine was called Men­ci­cip­pi” (Men­ci­cipi Mis­sis­sip­pi) which means Taste Mis­sis­sip­pi.” Men­ci­cip­pi would be a com­pa­ny that gives Indone­sians a taste of Mis­sis­sip­pi food, his­to­ry, arts, and cul­ture through per­son­al­ized tours. Through my pre­sen­ta­tion, I was able to share with my host com­mu­ni­ty a few sim­i­lar­i­ties between Mis­sis­sip­pi and Malang: most foods are friend, tea is sweet, and the peo­ple are kind and, per­haps, over­bear­ing­ly friend­ly! Then after class, our con­ver­sa­tions with tutors and teach­ers even­tu­al­ly turned to more dif­fi­cult top­ics, like how reli­gion is inter­twined in every­day life in both Indone­sia and the Amer­i­can South.

Upon return­ing to Mis­sis­sip­pi, I shared such sim­i­lar­i­ties with my friends, espe­cial­ly when it came to Indone­sians’ love for fried food. But I think the most impor­tant thing I shared with my home com­mu­ni­ty was my expe­ri­ence being a reli­gious minor­i­ty. I grew up as a Chris­t­ian in the Bible Belt, and I had nev­er spent much time with a large num­ber of non-Chris­tians. I shared with my Chris­t­ian friends in Mis­sis­sip­pi that even though I fol­lowed a dif­fer­ent reli­gion than most of my Indone­sian friends, I found that we val­ued reli­gion as part of our iden­ti­ty and as a guid­ing force in our lives.

CLS gave me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to nav­i­gate a new cul­ture and reflect on my own cul­tur­al bias­es. I learned that my iden­ti­ty as a Fil­ipino-Amer­i­can, Chris­t­ian, and Mis­sis­sip­pi­an gives me only one way of see­ing and liv­ing in the world. Liv­ing with a host fam­i­ly, explor­ing the city with lan­guage part­ners, and talk­ing with my new Indone­sian friends showed me that the world is so much big­ger and more com­pli­cat­ed out­side of my own lens.

Alumni Profiles

Joy Cariño
Joy Cariño
Indonesian 2019
Malang, Indonesia

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Posted Date

April 29, 2020