I’m going to share my experience in participating in AFS selection from step one until step three. Please read this if you are interested in participating in the selection next year… Insya Allah it is useful… hehe… And I’m sorry for writing such a long script since the selection also took a long time, 3 months… hehe… Ok, happy reading all…..
Oh, if you’ve never heard of AFS, you can googling it… If I explain it here then it will be much longer than it already is… ok?
It started with the first selection of AFS in April. The selection was… it made me dizzy, stressed, and it was really annoying… Just imagine, our brain was forced to work hard from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon, doing problems which were not that hard but they were a lot and needed high level of analysis and logic. And there were neither food nor drinks, so we had to bring our own lunch box from home. And.. this was one experience I would never forget. On the day of the test, I forgot to bring (and most likely I lost it) my AFS’ selection card; therefore, I had to join the ‘violator’ groups, which consisted of people who came late, wore unsuitable clothes, and didn’t bring participant card. They made me substitution card and I started one hour late than the others. I was quite sad and nervous because there were only two people who forgot to bring their participant cards and I was one of them. So, my advice to you all, when you plan to join AFS or any other tests, never forget to bring the participant card and follow all the prevailing rules on the day of the test. I was lucky AFS didn’t disqualify me automatically, if they did…
Ok, let’s get down to business. So, the first selection of AFS was written test consisted of three steps, which were general knowledge, English, and essay.
The first test was general knowledge. There were hundred multiple-choice questions. The types of questions were very different from the questions you find for the test for advancing to higher class at school, mid semester, or anything they teach at school. That’s why it’s called general knowledge. The questions were more about current news, or up-to-date news, international, and even about infotainment. Many questions related to general knowledge such as currencies, geography, national anthem, traditional clothes, and the names of a country’s president were asked.
International organizations such as UN, UNICEF, IMF, CIA, and also others were also asked, such as how many countries are the members of an organization, when was it established, etc. There were also quite numerous questions to test our nationalism towards Indonesia, for example folk songs, history of R.A. Kartini, etc.
Also, there were rather easy questions for teens (which was infotainment). For instance, awards won by famous singer Adele, the names of the director and casts for The Raid, The Hunger Games, The Artist, etc. From all the questions, the most difficult part were questions related to history and politics. If you are a type of person who doesn’t like reading newspaper or watch news on MetroTV, I’m sure you would be at loss by just looking at those questions. There were questions about wars, political embargo, dynasty in China, Japanese kingdom, etc.
Well, my advice is, start reading and watching news. You don’t have to be precisely details in reading them, just read the headline and don’t ever miss news. In addition, you don’t have to memorize all details related to currency, a country’s geography, etc. I mean you don’t need to memorize whole atlas. It would be exaggerating…hehe. Just memorize famous countries such as Portugal, Spain, Brazil, USA, England, etc. And for those of you who are interested in music and movies, never leave this hobby, because I’m sure there will always questions related to this issues every year. There might be questions about Korean Waves such as K-Pop, SNSD, Suju, Big Bang, 2PM, SHINee, 2NE1, boA, and IU… But there would be only one question… no more… hehe…
That would be it. The questions weren’t easy but weren’t that difficult as well. I didn’t prepare anything at all for this general knowledge test. But maybe because I like reading news and I care about small things around me… so more or less I could do it. Out of 100 questions, I got 65 questions, had a doubt around 20 questions, and 15 questions I couldn’t answer. Hehe…
Continue to the second test. It was English test. Honestly, for me, and also other participants, the English test was rather easy and perhaps the easiest compared to other tests. There were reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. Reading comprehension and grammar were very easy; it was like the ones that were taught in junior high school. The tough part was vocabulary because the questioned words were kind of unfamiliar to me. For example, what is young goat called? And so on and so forth…
Let’s continue to third test, which was essay writing. It was piece of cake, we were asked to write a minimum one and a half folio paper page essay within (if I’m not mistaken) 90 minutes. The challenging part was the topic was already decided. We were given three optional topics and asked to choose one. The topics were quite challenging.
I remember there were topics about what would you do if you were the ideal world’s leader and who is your idol and why you idolize him/her. I chose the first topic. It was really hard to begin writing. I was confused. But then it just went on. Write whatever on your mind honestly and don’t forget to include in-depth analysis if possible. Also try to include facts. I wrote many facts I obtained from news and daily experiences. Maybe that was one of the reasons that I passed the first selection.
So, two weeks passed and finally the announcement was broadcasted through the internet. I was really ecstatic when I knew I passed. And I also felt proud of myself. Why? From 650 people, only approximately 80 people passed. That means I succeeded in ruling out around 570 participants. I can call that glory, right?
Second selection involved personality interview in Bahasa Indonesia and English. What I meant was there were Bahasa Indonesia and also English, so there were two interviews. The participants were divided into two shifts, which were morning shift and afternoon shift. I got the morning shift. There was no time to feel nervous because I was the first one to be called. Furthermore, after I finished with the first interview (Bahasa Indonesia), I was also the first one to be called for the second interview (English). So I finished first.
The interviews weren’t really ‘terrifying’, but really made my sweats pour down. Hehe. First I was asked to introduce myself. However, once you mention your hobby or your dreams, you will be asked a lot of questions. For instance, why do you want to be a doctor? Why not other occupations? Being a doctor is really difficult, you know? It takes really long time to graduate from university and there’s no assurance that you will be a successful doctor. What if there are no more sick people, who would you be curing? Or are you going to pray that there would be a lot of people get sick so you can earn money? They asked types of questions that were really hard to answer. And every time you answered a question, they would just refute.
It was rather a debate. The most important thing is don’t be quiet, when they ask a lot of questions and you can’t answer and in the end you choose to hush. Don’t fall silent. Oh, and answer the questions in all honesty. Never tell fake stories because they will find out. In my opinion, the interview was like a way to read your minds. Hehe.
Oh right, the interview in English was not that difficult in my opinion. The interviewer’s way of talking was easy to understand because they are from Indonesia. The types of questions were similar to the first interview.
Ok, so the interview test finished and after I had been waiting for two weeks, I finally got the result. I am really happy that I passed, but… there was something missing. From 80 people, there were 40 people who also passed. People who got eliminated were less than half.
Ok, the third selection of AFS was called “Dinamika Kelompok” (Group Discussion) test. I think they have different type of test every year. But it is to test our attitude in a discussion and our reaction when we are under pressure.
Oh, in this selection we were divided into groups consist of 4-7 people. I got a really fun group. There was also Putri, hoshiZora member from Wonosari.
In the first test, our group was joined with another group so there would be around 10 people in a group. We were taken to a room…. whoa full of people. There were chairs lined neatly and we were required to sit in accordance to our participant number. Next, the moderator started to talk and explain the rules. We were obliged to have a discussion within 30 minutes in a loud voice regarding the topics that were given by the judges. The topic changed in every turn. My group was given a topic about the biggest problem faced by Indonesia and the countermeasures that can be done by the young generation. Couple of people first dominated the discussion, but as time passed, finally everyone joined the discussion. I regretted a bit that I only got chance to speak twice, since everyone else kept talking. Well, that’s indeed competition. But in my opinion, because everyone else kept talking as a consequence of ‘competition’, our group’s discussion was not focused. When one talked, the topic always changed. Another person talked, the topic changed again. There was no deliberation and consensus; instead there were only arguments without connection in every argument. So, my advice is, for you all who are interested in applying for AFS next year, when you are faced with test similar to this, try to discuss issues related to the issues being discussed; short, concise, and clear. Do not dominate the discussion but do not stay quiet.
On the second test, we were back to the original group, with the formation consists of 4-7 people. We were requested to build a tower from old paper within 5 minutes. My group didn’t have enough time that moment (so sad) and resulted in receiving rather harsh criticism from the judges. For example, why haven’t you finished it? Is there no leader in your group? No wonder your group couldn’t finish it. There is no one who controls the time. And so on and so forth. They asked questions that made us go awry.
After the second test, we had recess and they had the committees and returnees to fill the time. They mostly talked about their experience when they joined AFS. It sounded so exciting. There were returnees from Germany, France, Italia, and USA.
Ok, so the third test has finished and we are asked to wait for another two months for the next announcement. It really does take a long time, doesn’t it? The committee of AFS informed that the selection indeed takes a long time. He even said that the final announcement whether we pass the national selection and whether we are going or not will be published when we are in last semester of second grade of high school. That means still one more year… This makes me sad… hehe.. But let’s keep the spirit! Ganbatte!!
written by ilham, 16 Juni 2012,
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hehe…. Thank you….
(This story was translated by Dyah Alit Prastutiningtyas (Kak Ai), a Sponsor Sibling living in Japan. Kak Ai works for a Japanese Bank in Jakarta that sends her to study in Asia Pacific Univeristy (APU). She spends her time to learn Japanes language intensively in APU and to involve in social activities, such as contribute to hoshiZora Foundation. Kak Ai believes if we give children many chances to attain proper education and improve their skills, they can be good leaders in the future.)