As if being a medical student and doing his residency wasn’t keeping him busy enough, Fransiskus Andrianto also wears the hat of president of the Indonesian Network at Columbia University in New York. Recently, the network managed to hold a third successful Indonesian Night attended by 200 people. Andri caught up with My Jakarta to share more about the event, to tell us why pop icon and Columbia student Cinta Laura was missing in action, and to give an introduction to the world of prosthodontics.
You are president of the Indonesian Network at Columbia University. What does that entail?
I am in charge of leading and gathering Indonesian students at Columbia University. At the beginning of a new academic calendar, I organize a gathering so that the new students can meet with current students. Other than that, I arrange meetings and gatherings with Indonesian students at New York University as well as with the Indonesian Students Association in New York City, Permias NYC.
Tell us about the Indonesian Night.
We hosted our third Indonesian Night to promote Indonesia’s culture and cuisine to students at Columbia University. This event consisted of an authentic Indonesian dinner, the opportunity to wear and take pictures in traditional costume, traditional dancing by the Saung Budaya group, an angklung performance by INCU members involving the audience, Indonesian songs by the International House Choir group and a ‘poco-poco’ dance.
This year we also hosted our first Indonesian seminar, ‘Indonesia Through Different Lenses,’ which had three guest speakers: Don J. Melnick from the anthropology department, Karen Bryner from the teachers’ college and Wimboh Santoso from Bank Indonesia.
Why wasn’t Cinta Laura involved?
We actually tried to contact Cinta Laura several times last year, through her Columbia e-mail account, to let her know about our association. We basically informed her that we exist and we would like to know if she is interested in getting involved. Up until now, we haven’t got any response from her and I respect her decision. This is the main reason why we did not get her involved in our event. Hopefully she will participate in future events.
What kind of medical student are you?
I am currently doing a postdoctoral residency and master of science in prosthodontics. Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Graduate programs in prosthodontics include classroom lectures and seminars, laboratory and clinical training, oral reconstruction and continuing care. Prosthodontists are masters of complete oral rehabilitation. A prosthodontist is dedicated to the highest standards of care in the restoration and replacement of teeth.
What’s lacking in prosthodontics in Indonesia?
I think we are lacking patient awareness of dental health, and that’s very critical. It’s our job to educate others about the importance of dental health. Another factor is that evidence-based dentistry has not been well implemented in Indonesia. Everything we do here in the United States is based on evidence, not anecdote. Another big challenge for prosthodontics is laboratory support. Prosthodontists here in the United States work very closely with dental technicians. Not only that, we also deal with sophisticated and complex prosthetic rehabilitations that require a high level of laboratory support.
Why New York City?
I have always been fascinated by the energy and dynamism of New York City. Doing my specialty training in NYC gives me the opportunity to treat some of the most challenging cases as well as the most demanding patients. On top of that, Columbia University is considered one of the top universities in the United States, and also is affiliated with a very prestigious hospital, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
What does it take for an Indonesian student to get into Columbia University?
Sheer determination, persistence and perseverance. Well, I can only speak based on my personal experience. Getting into the Dental Medicine Postdoctoral Program at Columbia University is very competitive. They look at pretty much everything, such as academic performance, clinical performance, extracurricular activities, publications, research experience and personality. They are looking not only clinicians, but also scholars. We are expected to be very critical and always have a rationale for what we are going to do.
What is the most interesting experience you’ve had as president of INCU?
I think the most interesting experience I’ve had so far is preparing for the 2013 Indonesian Night. It gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better. I feel very fortunate to meet all these Indonesian students here in NYC.
Is there a favorite spot you miss in Jakarta?
My favorite spot in Jakarta is Grand Indonesia. I think there is no other place than shopping malls to provide entertainment for us in Jakarta. There are not many outdoor activities, especially during the day when the temperature gets quite high.
Fransiskus Andrianto was speaking to Angelyn Liem.