Indonesian students bring interests, goals to MacDuffie

Cassidy Polga, Editor-in-Chief

“They use a lot of garlic,” says junior Eveline Hamadi with a laugh, explaining the difference between American and Indonesian cuisines. “It’s different.  I like it, though,” junior Ade Olua continues.

The girls are talking specifically about Sage Dining, because that is their only basis to describe American food. Hamadi and Olua are part of a group of nine Indonesian students who won scholarships in their home country and were able to attend MacDuffie, where they arrived nearly two months ago. The Magnet interviewed Hamadi, Olua, and juniors Kezia Nunaki, Yvette Papare, and Prishiela Pandori in a group. Juniors Lucia Deda, Julio Kbarek, and Yusuf Rumbindi, and sophomore Ishak Tabuni are part of the same program as well.

The transition has been made easier in part, they say, thanks to the friendliness of the teachers and faculty here, though they say that they are often homesick.

All of the students came from the same province, Papua, whose government runs a scholarship program in every school in the city. The students had to submit their transcripts and pass a standardized test in order to be eligible.

“I screamed,” says Hamadi, when she found out that she had won a scholarship, and the others concur, saying that they were very excited and called one another to celebrate.

The group went to another province, Manado, to learn English for two months before MacDuffie was recommended to them by an in-school organization named ELC. This is the first time that any of them has been to the U.S., and they are excited at the prospect of visiting more of the country, particularly New York City.

Each student is in either ELL II or III, although they say that they are partial to math and science classes, particularly Chemistry, because “Ms. Hamel is so kind.” “And funny!” “And friendly.”

A common consensus among the group is that the teachers here are warmer than those they have had before, which they say is a welcome change. The girls are also all doing the “Winter Madness” CAP with math teacher Caleb Parsons, where they were introduced to the wonders of the American Christmas special, a la Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Pop culture wise, though, nothing beats One Direction in the group’s eyes.

They all erupt when asked about former member Zayn Malik, who left the band this summer, and excitedly name their favorite member. They watch YouTube clips of the band “every night” and all saw the band’s documentary “This Is Us” together.

The group hopes to continue traveling after graduation, and aspire to be doctors, scientists, actors, and engineers, and ambassadors, and all of them plan to go back to Indonesia at some point. As for changes they hope to see at the school?

“Maybe introduce our food?” Just a little less garlic, perhaps, and their American experience will be complete.