Tariq Widarso, a senior anthropology major, represented Ithaca College at an international conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the last week of March.
Widarso brought his research on the international student experience to the 75th annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology held from March 24–28. As an international student from Indonesia, he presented his paper, “Crossing International Perspectives: Understanding the International Student Experience at a Small College in the United States,” among hundreds of other students and professors from a range of degree programs who are working on applied anthropological studies.
Staff Writer Arham Muneer spoke with Widarso about his time at the conference, his research and the value of attending this type of conference.
Arham Muneer: How were you selected to participate in this conference?
Tariq Widarso: Last year, I presented in the same conference when it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. From that experience, I really wanted to present in this one. I’ve been working on my research for about 13 months, so I wanted to present on my research. So the process was I sent them an abstract of my paper … they would approve it and set me up.
AM: Did you do this research with a professor?
TW: This research was done with Dr. Sue-Je Gage of the anthropology department. She is my faculty adviser, and I told her that I wanted to present at this conference. By this semester, I had most of the work done, so I was ready to present, and she gave me the go. I would suggest that it’s a good experience to also attend these conferences as well as present because you get to get exposed to other people in your field, in all of the other universities.
AM: Was there a special topic this year?
TW: This year’s theme was continuity and change. The theme is very general, so it encapsulates a lot of work. In my section, it was about education and pedagogy.
AM: What was your research and presentation about?
TW: My research is on understanding international student experiences at Ithaca College. … It was about a 16-minute presentation on my research highlighting the topic, the motivation behind the research as well as the methodology and results and the analysis. It was about 13 months of doing interviews, making online surveys as well as doing literary reviews of current work done on the topic as well as participant observation.
AM: Were you sent by the anthropology department, and was there funding for the trip?
TW: I applied for funding from the anthropology department as well as the School of Humanities and Sciences, and both of them gave me a good amount of money. … It was very helpful because it severely reduced the amount of money that I would have had to spend otherwise.
AM: Do you have any suggestions for other students?
TW: Going to a conference about your field is very important because it’s a great experience to see what other kind of work is being done as well as meeting and networking with professors and undergraduates and people who would provide you with a different perspective on your field. After my presentation, there was a professor from the University of Kentucky who came up to me and she asked me about my research, and she wanted me to send her my paper. It’s a really good booster of my confidence as well. … It’s a great opportunity for future collaboration as well as keeping contact with people.