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Indonesian Exchange Students Adjust to Wyoming

Oct. 1, 2007 — Five students from Indonesia studying at the University of Wyoming have found warmth in Laramie.

In the people, that is. Not the weather.
The students arrived in Laramie at the end of August following an exhausting 30-hour trip from Semarang, the capital of the Central Java province and the fifth-largest city in Indonesia. They will study at UW for a full school year.
They’ve already become Cowboy football fans — “I love it so much!” exclaims Khairu Roojiqien Sobandi — and they’re excited to see snow for the first time.
They also are impressed with the equality in relationships among professors and students, surprised by the casual dress of students compared to Diponegoro and wowed by Coe Library.
It’s the Wyoming lifestyle, though, that’s made the greatest impression.
“We were told that America is crowded and Wyoming is not,” says Wijayanto, a student who goes by just one name. “America is full of stars, like Tom Cruise, but I cannot find any here. America is full of traffic, but, around here, never.”
But the students nearly didn’t make it here.
After Tom Seitz, a visiting professor in the UW Department of International Studies, organized the exchange last fall, the Indonesian government changed its mind and canceled the trip in April.
Then government officials changed their minds again in June, and Seitz scrambled to make the necessary arrangements for the students to travel to Wyoming.
Now that they’re here, Seitz hopes they’ll learn as much as possible about the American culture and return to Indonesia to share their experiences.
“I want them to learn some about America and what life is like here,” says Seitz, who visited Diponegoro as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1997. “Indonesia is a government in transition. It’s fascinating to think about a country of 230 million people democratizing, but that’s what’s happening.
“They’re looking for new ways to go about things (in government), and there’s a lot these students can take away from this country,” he adds.
The exchange also will allow UW and its political science students to learn about Indonesia. In the future, Seitz hopes some UW students will elect to travel to Diponegoro to study for a year.
While excited to experience the American way of life, the students would prefer not to experience a winter in Wyoming.
The weather in Indonesia is almost always hot and humid, with temperatures sticking close to 90 degrees around the year.
As fall arrives in Laramie, Sari is wearing a stocking cap, Wijayanto is sporting gloves and Mubarok is donning a winter jacket.
With a laugh, Stephanie Anderson, an assistant professor of political science, says, “They’re already putting on scarves and sweatshirts.”
They might need to bundle in four or five layers to stay warm by January.
“I know it’s only fall, but it’s so cold,” Mubarok says with a smile.
Laughing, Wijayanto adds, “The people are warm, but the weather isn’t.”

Posted on Monday, October 01, 2007


Program Magister Ilmu Politik (MIP) UNDIP Tahun Akademik 2006/2007

1. Dzunuwanus Ghulam Manar University of Wyoming, USA DOUBLE DEGREE PROGRAM

Master in Politics and MPA

2. Khairu Roojiqien Sobandi
3. Muhammad Fahmi Mubarok
4. Pamela Kristina Sari
5. Wijayanto
6. Agung Setia Bakti
7. Rachmat Hidayat

Sumber: (Diakses 30 April, 2010)