Good afternoon. It is my great pleasure to be here today to open the EducationUSA Spring Education Fair.
I am delighted that Pak Supriadi, from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education is with us this afternoon. The Ministry is a valued partner in our efforts to advance educational exchanges and cooperation.
I am also pleased to see so many enthusiastic potential students who are interested in studying in the United States.
Let me also extend a warm welcome to all of the parents who are joining us this afternoon. Thank you all for spending your Saturday to learn more about our schools.
My highest priority as U.S. Ambassador is to strengthen the partnership between the United States and Indonesia. One of the most meaningful and productive ways to do this is by building long-lasting connections through international educational exchange.
Education, and particularly international education, transforms lives. There is no better way to understand one another, and our cultures, than by sharing the experience of learning together.
The university and college representatives whom you will meet this afternoon have traveled to Jakarta because they want more Indonesians in their classrooms and on their campuses.
This is a great time to study in America. Right now, in addition to the nearly 8,000 Indonesians studying in the United States, there are well over 800,000 international students on American campuses.
The number of international scholars has never been higher. US colleges are proud we attract more foreign students to the US than any country in the world.
That’s because we offer the best diversity of college experiences, high quality teaching and research facilities, and the warm welcome all students experience in the U.S.
With over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, there is a program for every interest.
The 40 U.S. institutions participating in the EducationUSA Fair today demonstrate the extensive range of options available in America.
This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from 2-year community colleges, private universities and colleges, and 4-year public universities.
Let me speak for a minute about community colleges because they are a unique facet of the American higher education system, but not well understood here.
The community college route can be a wise choice for those who want a smooth transition academically or ultimately a bachelor’s degree at a lower cost.
When you spend two-years at a community college, you receive an associate degree, after which you can enter the workforce or choose to spend two more years at a college or university to receive your bachelor’s degree. Many community colleges have pathways that make transferring credit very easy.
My wife, Sofia, is a good example of this. Sofia started off as an international student at two-year community college and from there; she earned a scholarship to Brown University, one of the top schools in the United States.
Speaking of top schools, the U.S. has the most prestigious, top-ranked schools in the world. Our institutions are known for the quality of their facilities and faculties.
No matter which university you choose, you will earn a degree that is recognized and respected world-wide, opening the door to exciting career opportunities.
U.S. universities lead the world in research. The United States accounts for one-third of all research and development funding globally.
American universities spent more than $63 billion on research and development last year, which means greater access to cutting-edge research and the most advanced technology available.
Investment in research at universities fosters creativity and innovation. The U.S. is credited with producing the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial graduates.
Some of the most successful companies in recent years have been founded by students of American universities – Google at Stanford University, Groupon at the University of Chicago, Facebook at Harvard University, and Under Armour at the University of Maryland.
Now some people here still think it is hard for students to get a visa. That is not true! It is now easier and faster than ever to get a U.S. student visa.
Most of the application process is done online, and the average wait to obtain a student visa is only three days from your interview.
Most importantly, over 96% of qualified student visa applicants are approved for a student visa.
I want to thank EducationUSA for hosting this fair. EducationUSA is an organization that you can trust to provide unbiased, accurate, and comprehensive information about studying in the United States, and best of all, their services are free.
EducationUSA advisers don’t advocate for a single university; they neutrally represent all accredited institutions of higher learning. They can help you select an institution that is perfect for you, find scholarships, and walk you through the application process.
I hope that you will connect with an EducationUSA adviser here today, or later online, or at the education corner at @america in Pacific Place mall.
I hope that each of you will accept my invitation to study in the United States and that this event marks the first step in your journey to study in America.
I am delighted that Pak Supriadi, from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education is with us this afternoon. Pak Supriadi, will you please share a few words with us?