It has been almost five months being an exchange student. Awesome! I have done so many things, enjoyed every moment with my host family, had fun at school, and learnt a lot of stuffs. Thanks God! And New Year is coming SOON! I believe 2011 will be the most unforgettable year in my life. I think the world shall know, how wonderful 2011 for me!

Being an exchange student was one of my crazy dreams!  I create dreams and live to make them real. I believe God give me chance to live so I can explore the world as I dream. He gave me brain to think and body to do something! Anyway, now I am living my dream, hosted by a wonderful family in Perkasie, PA!

Well, I am sure that being an exchange student is not just about go to a US public high school, have fun and be a good girl! Nope! It is beyond that. I am a daughter, everything that I do will represent my family. I am an ambassador of my country. I am Muslim and supposed to show Americans that the negative stereotypes about Muslims are wrong. I am not only me, but also about them.  Now, I am a daughter in a new family. I am in an American community with all their cultures. I am student of a precious high school. So it is not just about my pleasure, but also their pleasure of my existence.

I’ve spent most of my childhood and youth in school, learnt about science, math, social studies, arts, language, and etc. And now, I have a new subject that I never had at class; LIFE! Being far away from home makes me able to see from outside the box and realize many things that I never thought before. I become more independent and always try to make decision wisely in every situation. And the most important thing is find positive side in every opportunity.

I feel so lucky to be hosted by Sims Family. They are really humble, friendly, and lovable. They are active in many social activities. My host parents are deacons at church and work voluntarily for youth group.  My host mom is registered as a volunteer in a NGO working on disaster area. They inspire me to work as a social worker as I never thought before. Really, it is a wonderful job. I joined them in several activities. I saw how they served people. I saw how everyone really grateful and love them.

Every Sunday morning I accompany my family to go to church for Sunday school and service. I don’t mind. The people are really nice. They treat me as a family, not as a stranger. I am so pleased to be around them. My host sister, an exchange student from Thailand named Mee, and I make good friends and love to play with the kids. We also join Youth Group every Wednesday night. I am so amazed by how they educate children in the early age about religion and stuff. I like their creative way in presenting to the class. It is wonderful to see how the children are very interesting and paying attention to what they teach. Back to Indonesia, especially in my city, the government has special programs about Islamic Education for children and youth. But it doesn’t really catch their enthusiasm. It probably happens because it has less fun. It is presented not as the children want to or too hard so they can barely understand.

Here I found new interests in the field I never really enjoyed before; crafting and cooking! I have two art classes at school, Art and Design and Digital Design. I really love both of them! I have so much fun. I also learnt how to crochet and knit. My grandmother and her sister taught me! The other thing is cooking! So far I love American food and love to help mom prepare food. I especially love baking cookies and pies! My host family also challenged me to cook Indonesia food for supper. I cooked Siomay (meatball, noodle, tofu, egg, with peanut sauce), Pergedel (fried mashed potato), Fried Rice and Fried Noodle. I also cooked Fried Banana for International food festival at school. It was so honorable to serve Indonesian food to Americans! I learnt the key of good cook; BRAVE!

At school, I’ve done other cool stuffs! I join Literary Magazine Club, Earth Club, Japanese Cultural Club, and Bowling Club. I was also in marching band! The season has ended, though. I have been making friends and doing a lot of fun activities with them. Once again, I am amazed by Americans’ generosity. They are so nice and very welcome to new comer. I absolutely love the classes even Calculus! Really! I love the way teachers teach here. They are friendly and very creative. So far, I do pretty well at class. I do my best in every class. Because as I mentioned, it is not only about me, it is also about Indonesia. I’ll make my homeland proud of me.

If I were not in an exchange program, I probably just think of myself, barely think of how people can judge my country and Islam from myself. But here, I opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart. Each day, I am learning about life by living it. 2011, I stepped a step forward and will never move back. I thank God and everyone for this wonderful year! Wish a better year for all of us!


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