Sunday, April 5, 2020

Why Did You Become a Language Teacher?

This time I would like to take a moment to write a response to Jelena Hardy and those who ask me, "Why did you become a language teacher?"

The more I think about an answer to the question, the more I'm flooded with memories from my youth. First of all, please let me take you into my background a little so I can explain where my desire of becoming a teacher comes from.

I went to first grade in 1988. I was so nervous during my first week of school as I was not good at reading at all, but Ms. Lili, my home room teacher, helped me patiently to get through those hard days. She opened up the world of reading and writing to me. I loved her - a strict but caring and understanding teacher. At least that is how I remember her from 32 years ago. It is just sad that she passed away about three years ago after a battle with breast cancer. Then there was Ms. Bas, my third grade junior high school English teacher who greatly helped my English skill development. Then there was Ms. Dewi Susilawati, my English and home room teacher from the first to third grade of vocational high school. For me, Ms. Dewi Susilawati was like my own mother. Motherly, caring, patient, understanding and inspiring are five words that would describe those three women best. I mention those three great women because I feel that they contributed, in part, to the life choices I made.

Since I was a little boy, I have always loved helping my classmates with their homework and learning came easy to me for the most part. Being able to help and teach my classmates made me feel good. When I was in the sixth semester of university I was selected to join a program where the upperclassmen could become a teaching assistant for younger students. I enjoyed the program, and it was the starting point for me to decide more seriously where I’d go in life. After finishing my under-graduate program, the university hired me for an English instructor position for two semesters even though I was not from the English department, my major was Communication studies. During that period, teaching English always felt like my destiny. Teaching, especially teaching English was the right thing for me. I love learning, teaching and I love seeing and helping other people learn.

After I was done with the university contract, I was eager to apply my English skills and teaching experiences to English language schools as an English teacher, but unfortunately I came in at the time where schools only accepted those who graduated from the English educational department. It was hard and frustrating for me, but it was not long until I met Joshua Kegg who hired me for an English and Indonesian instructor position at GEC in 2009.

Thanks for asking this question, it brings back some good memories. Sincerely, Adrian. 


A little bit about me
I'm Adriansyah Putera. I’ve been working for Global English Course (GEC) since 2009. I teach English, and also Indonesian for non-native speakers of Indonesian. I’m also a freelance local guide in my hometown, Bengkulu. I’ve been contributing to Google Maps since September 2015. I love listening to music, hiking, photography and writing.

You can find me on Instagram and Flickr

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Palak Siring Kemumu - Wisata Alam Yang Scenic

Wisata alam Palak Siring Kemumu, tempat yang sejuk dan bagus untuk bersantai

Mengemudi menuju pedalaman dari humiditas Bengkulu utara, Anda secara bertahap akan melewati area persawahan dan mulai menanjak melewati desa-desa pegunungan yang sejuk dan lembab di sekitar Kemumu, Arma Jaya, kabupaten Bengkulu Utara. Kemumu terkenal dengan daya tarik alamnya yang indah yaitu Palak Siring, sebuah kawasan yang indah, sejuk, dan cocok untuk bersantai dan juga bisa digunakan sebagai base untuk hiking di sekitar sungai kecil yang bersih dan perbukitan hijau di sekitarnya. Jika Anda tidak ingin melakukan hiking, Anda bisa berjalan kaki singkat untuk melihat pemandangan alam yang keren atau berenang (dekat lokasi air terjun Palak Siring) dan menikmati makan siang Anda. Anda dapat bermalam di Palak Siring, atau melakukan perjalanan pulang-pergi dengan mudah dari kota Bengkulu. Sehari di Palak Siring bisa menjadi pengalaman yang menyenangkan. 

Hiking di sepanjang tepi sungai dan melintasi hutan berbukit
Palak Siring Kemumu jarang dikunjungi oleh turis, namun di hari Minggu dan hari libur kawasan ini akan dipadati oleh pengunjung lokal. Sayangnya tempat yang indah ini tidak memiliki fasilitas yang memadai dan mengalami masalah dengan sampah. Tiket masuk per orang hanya Rp. 2.500 (sekitar US $ 0,15), gratis parkir kecuali akhir pekan.

Lokasi: Palak Siring terletak di Kemumu, Arma Jaya, kabupaten Bengkulu Utara, sekitar 62 km (38,5 mil) / 1,5 jam dari kota Bengkulu, atau sekitar 15 menit berkendara dari Arga Makmur. Temukan lokasi wisata Palak Siring di Google Maps.

Note: Selalu berhati-hati saat berjalan di dekat lokasi air terjun. Beberapa jalan setapak dan bebatuan bisa basah dan licin.

Foto-foto dari wisata alam Palak Siring 

Nafas segar dari alam Palak Siring
Pemandangan dari puncak air terjun Palak Siring
Kolam alami yang sejuk dekat air terjun Palak Siring
Anak sungai Palak Siring
Aliran air yang sejuk dan bersih di dekat air terjun
Photos by Adriansyah Putera and Peter Kimball

Thursday, June 6, 2019

My Devotion to Place Edits and Photo Sharing on Google Maps

Hello, my name is Adriansyah Putera, but you can call me Adrian. I am an Indonesian teacher for non-native speakers of Indonesian, and I am also a freelance local guide in my hometown Bengkulu. I have been contributing to Google Maps since September 2015, and I'm now a Level 9 Google Local Guide.  

I love all 10 Google Maps contribution options, but my two most favorite options are place edits and photo sharing

Why do I love place edits?
Well, the Google Maps application is relatively new for many people in Bengkulu and its neighboring cities.  Since 2016, I have found a lot of inaccurate information, for example, wrongly placed map markers, incorrect categories, and mistaken hours from the local places and businesses on Google Maps. This issue has been my top priority since then.

My understanding, based on my findings in my city, is that there are still many Google Maps users with insufficient technical know-how. Here are some examples. 

Firstly, they don’t know about the function of the blue circle, that is, the “My Location” button in order to get their best approximate location when they need to add a new place or business, so it is very common that they just give a rough guess and pin down an approximation of their location. This can be very confusing for users. 

Secondly, for some reason, there are a lot of people (including Google Maps users) in Bengkulu and neighboring cities who just keep English as the default display language on their devices, even though they don’t really understand English. As a result, those who have limited English understanding, find Google Maps rather challenging to navigate. When it comes to selecting a category to describe a place or business, they could end up adding or selecting either a wrong category or a broad category, for example; store, school, market, or restaurant. As for ‘hours’, people are often confused by the usage of a.m and p.m. 

As a local guide, by correcting these issues, I see an opportunity to help Google Maps users, and local places or businesses that the Google Maps application serves. I spend at least 30 minutes per day searching around my city on Google Maps in order to find inaccurate information. I really enjoy doing this as I am able to help Google Maps users and support the Google Local Guides program to make Google Maps information more accurate and helpful. I also enjoy the opportunity to gain more points, frankly speaking. Finally, another reason why I love place edits, is that this feature allows me to report fake businesses, fake phone numbers, fake web sites, and inappropriate or illegal content to be removed. 

Why do I love to share photos on Google Maps?
I love photography, and for me, photography is about sharing. Sharing photos on Google Maps can provide useful visual information and help others see unfamiliar places they might want to visit, atmosphere of restaurants or cafes, accessibility, etc. I don’t really have any favorite photography style, I just want viewers to know and feel something through my lens. When it comes to sharing photos on Google Maps, I almost always try to share photos from places I have visited to help people better understand when they want to visit those places. I get a great sense of satisfaction and happiness from being able to help others while doing something that I am passionate about. 

Here are some my favorite shots I have shared on Google Maps,

Lake Mas Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu province, Indonesia
I love this photo for several reasons. First, this photo is my most viewed photo on Google Maps. This photo has been viewed over 845,000 times at the time of writing. Second, this photo always reminds me of a great nature hike I had with my two friends from Florida - USA.

I took this photo when my daughter and I were walking home from celebrating Indonesia's Independence Day. I want to show the atmosphere of the neighborhood and tell people that the neighborhood road is too narrow if two cars going in opposite directions.

Blooming Rafflesia arnoldii - see and smell it!
This is a photo from my nature walk with my wife when we finally found the world's largest flower - Rafflesia arnoldii in the wild. Based on my experience, I can tell that Rafflesia arnodii is not stinky and not a carnivorous plant like many people think. Location: Taba Penanjung, Central Bengkulu, Indonesia.

Helping just one person is worth it, but over a long and helpful contribution, I and also you all, have the chance to help thousands of people.

Keep contributing,
Adriansyah Putera

Note: I posted this article for the first time on Local Guides Connect April 2019 for one of requirements to apply Connect Live 2019.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Steps to Obtain a Driver License for Non-Indonesian Citizens

Polres Bengkulu

By: Adriansyah Putera

On December 14 2017, I went to the Polisi Resor Kota Bengkulu aka Polres Bengkulu (Bengkulu City Police Department) to renew my driver license. Too bad, my application was rejected as my driver license had gone beyond the expiration date. I was told by an on-duty traffic police officer that I must renew my driver license 2 weeks before the expiration date, driving with an invalid or expired driver license could result in a traffic ticket. I had no option but to apply a new driver license that required me to re-take the driver knowledge test and practical driving tests.

Having gone through the process of getting my Indonesian driver license, I’d like to take a moment to write all information gathered from my experience - from signing up to getting behind the wheel with a SIM (Indonesian driver license) - for those who are looking for information about the process of getting a driver license in Indonesia. 

Let’s begin with the basic requirements. You must be at least 17 years old. You must provide a valid passport and KITAS/KITAB and 2 copies of each of the documents, and provide proof of your fitness to drive. For those who are visiting on a tourist visa are not eligible.

Steps of getting an Indonesian driver license

Here’s a how-to guide detailing every step of the process:

STEP 1. Go to the nearest city police department for signing up
You must be prepared with all the required identity documents: valid passport, KITAS/KITAB (Temporary/Permanent Stay Permit) and 2 copies of each of the documents. It’s not required to make an appointment before visiting, just go to the information counter at the “Pelayanan Penerbitan SIM” division to start the process, tell the staff what type/class of driver license you need. Class A, this license allows you to drive non-commercial vehicles or regular passenger cars with maximum allowable weight not exceeding 3,500 kg (7716 lbs). Class C, this license allows you to operate motorcycle. Here you will be directed to the appointed medical service unit to get a basic physical and mental fitness to drive exam. You need to provide a copy of your passport and KITAS/KITAB, and pay the Rp. 25,000 (about US$ 1.75) exam fee.

The exam includes at least:
  • A blood pressure exam. 
  • A vision exam which includes a color blind test and a distance vision test using a Snellen chart at a distance of 6 meters (20 ft) from the chart. 
  • A hearing (audiometric) exam. A simple whispered voice test at 20 cm (8 inches) from each ear. 
If you fail the exam, you will not be able to proceed to the next step and you will be required to reschedule. 

A poster shows the application fee and requirements
Go back to the Pelayanan Penerbitan SIM counter after you pass the exam and receive a Surat Keterangan Kesehatan (medical report), then pay the Rp 120,000 (about US$ 8.40) application fee for a Class A License, or Rp. 100,000 (US$ 7) for a Class B License at the BRI counter. After you have paid the application fee, save the application fee receipt for your records.

Go to the application counter and get a Driver License Application form. Complete the application form correctly, the form is in Indonesian language and you will need to provide a translator for yourself if you don’t understand the language. Submit the completed form with your original passport, KITAS/KITAB and a copy of each of the documents, and the application fee receipt to the application service counter. You will be given a waiting number for the identification process after you complete this step. Don’t forget to get your passport and KITAS/KITAB back. Then just take a seat and wait your number to be called.

You will be directed to go inside a room where an officer will collect your biometrics information. Here, you need to put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned, have a digital photo taken of your face, and give your signature.

STEP 2. Driver Knowledge Test
When you’re done with the identification process you will be asked to go to the “Ruang Pencerahan” room. At this room you will be given some brief information and useful advice about the driver knowledge test by an officer. It is greatly recommended that you listen to what the officer says carefully, you will find it very useful to help you to answer the test questions and increase your chances of passing your test on your first try. You will be given time to read a manual with the actual questions and answers before taking the test. If your Indonesian comprehension is not good enough you will need to provide a translator for you as the Division of Driver License might not provide the translation service.

The Ruang Pencerahan of Polres Bengkulu

Next, when an officer calls your number you go to the ruang ujian teori (knowledge test room). The test administrator will give the instructions to you and let you log into the computer. Insert your No. Registrasi (registration/application number), full name and Golongan SIM (class of driver license), then click “Mulai Ujian” button when you are ready to start the test. This 15-minute driver knowledge test is a computer-based, 30-random question, multi-choice test that assesses your knowledge of road rules and safe driving practices. You will be required to answer 7 survey questions before you start the test.

If you don’t pass the driver knowledge test on your first try, you must wait for 7 days before retaking it. You have 3 chances to pass the test. Schedule for retaking the test is 7, 14, and after 30 days. You can prepare yourself by taking a driver knowledge test simulation on Korlantas Polri (the National Police Traffic Corps Division) website at

Step 3. Practical Driving Test
Scheduling of the driving test is based on the availability of instructor. If the schedule permits, the driving test may be given on the same day as the knowledge test.

During the driving test, you will be asked by your instructor to complete a number of tasks to show you are capable of driving. Some practical tests you'll need to pass include:
  • Zigzag test. In this section you will see around 5 traffic cones in between point A and B. You have to drive the car forward from point A and zigzag over each the cone until you get to point B. From point B, you have to reverse the car while crossing over each cone again to get to point A. It could be done with or without an instructor beside you.  If you hit a cone, you must retake the driving test. 
  • Driving forward and backing up. Again, it could be done with or without an instructor beside you. If you hit a cone, you must retake the driving test.
  • Angle, perpendicular and parallel parking. Don’t hit any single cone. 
  • Handbrake control. Safely bring your car to a stop on an incline, and then restart your car and move away without rolling backwards or stalling the engine. 
  • Following and overtaking other vehicles on the road. 
  • Responding to road and traffic signs.
Driving test at Polres Bengkulu
You have 3 chances to pass the practical driving test. If you don’t pass the test on your first try, you must wait for 7 days before retaking it. If you don’t pass the test on your second chance, you must wait for 14 days before retaking it, and 30 days for your third chance. If you don’t pass the tests, you'll need to begin the driver license application process over or quit and get your money back.

If you pass the practical driving test successfully, your Indonesian driver license or SIM will be issued on the same day. Your SIM is valid throughout Indonesia. It expires 5 years after the issue date on your birthday, renew your driver license 2 weeks before the expiration date.

Special thanks to Bripka Supriyono, the Driver License Division officer of Polres Bengkulu. I greatly appreciate your hard work and dedication.