Former Student Experience Blogger and recent political science graduate David Losinski '17 decided to embark on a new adventure following Commencement, flying across the world to spend the summer learning a foreign language in Indonesia! Read below to hear what David has to say about his experiences so far!
"Four days after graduating from the College of Idaho, I boarded an international flight heading for Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation, so I decided to spend an entire summer learning Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) with the US-Indonesia Program (USINDO).
Based on the reactions from those asking me about my 'adult' plans, I’m not sure telling them my real plans would have inspired any more confidence than saying “I don’t know.” Despite the apprehension, I landed in Jakarta Indonesia around midnight. The next few days were a flurry of activity, from orientation to city exploration, and from SIM card activation to host family preparation.
Yogyakarta is a cultural hub of Java, the most populous Island in Indonesia. It retains its sultan, who acts as governor of the Yogyakarta province under the Indonesian democracy. Yogya still retains a strong linguistic and cultural heritage, and learning to differentiate between Bahasa and local Jawa is quite the task. It is home to some of the best sweet food in Southeast Asia at unbeatable prices.
Culturally, many from Yogyakarta believe that profits from the sale of food should be minimal. Driving through Yogyakarta, one will see young women in jillbab riding a motorbike sidesaddle to school or work, scores of carts selling delicious fried street food, and any electronic, repair service, or merchandise store imaginable. Yogyakarta is a spectacular fusion of Asian, Muslim, and Javanese culture.
After about a week I felt myself settle into a rhythm, attending 6 hours of language class 4 days a week, exploring Yogyakarta, and practicing Indonesian with my abundantly considerate and helpful host family. Using Go-jek, Indonesian’s version of Uber, I could quickly navigate the city clinging on to a motorbike, only occasionally having to redirect the driver using my array of basic Indonesian directional phrases.
What I appreciated about my time in Southeast Asia last summer became a theme during this trip. As Professor Dayley said: Just about anything can happen in Southeast Asia, and the pleasant surprises outnumber the bad ones. “Pleasant” doesn’t come close to describing the unbelievably scenic beaches left vacant during Ramadan that we found by accident, or the delicious multi-course meals for under five dollars, or the sheer hospitality and patience of those helping us visiting Americans from injuring ourselves.
I would recommend any student from The College of Idaho to take the plunge and study abroad. Learning a language is challenging, at times embarrassing, but infinitely rewarding. The best way to exercise critical thinking skills is a new place full of unknowns and opportunities. Luckily, my undergraduate education prepared me well for this adventure. Completing currency conversions in my head, learning a language and thriving in Indonesia requires the kind of education and training that the College provides well."
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