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Home | Where in the World | Meet Foreign Exchange Students | Meet Foreign Exchange Students - Indonesia: Sebrina

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Meet Foreign Exchange Students - Indonesia: Sebrina

My name is Sebrina and I am from Indonesia.

Indonesia is a developing country. We got independence from the Netherlands on August 17, 1945. Netherlands colonized Indonesia because they needed the spices and land. It took about three and a half centuries to be an independent country. It was very long time. It was very hard to get independence because the nation was not united.

Indonesia is the largest archipelago country on the world. It has 17,000 islands, and only 6,000 islands are inhabited. It is a tropical country. We only have two seasons. They are dry and wet seasons.

Indonesia located in Southeast Asia. We are the forth-largest population in the world with about 238 million people. Most of them are between 15-64 years old. Indonesia has very large number of ethnicities. We have more than 600 ethnic groups. Each ethnic group has its own language, tradition, culture, art and customs. Our motto is "Unity in Diversity." Most Indonesians are Muslim. Besides Islam, there are also other religions, like Christian, Buddhism, Hinduism, and animism. Religion is very important in Indonesia. Every citizen must have a religion. The government set the rule and law to protect human rights.

The most interesting things about Indonesia are nature and the cultures found there. Indonesia has so many beautiful places such as beaches, sea parks, mountains, lakes, etc. Indonesia is very rich with the natural resources. The soil is fertile. That is why Indonesia is an agrarian country (45% of the population are farmers). It is also supported by the climate and the season. The most important crops are rice, peanut, cassava, copra, palm oil, cocoa, spice, and coffee. The forest produces timber, rattan, etc. Indonesia also has industries such as petroleum and natural gas, textile, chemical, mining, and rubber. The Indonesian currency is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).

The Indonesian cultures are unique. The cultures influence the social life. Indonesian society plays by four rules. They are the government rules, social rules, religion rules, and customs. The language is bahasa, an Indonesian modified form of Malay. Generally people in Indonesia can speak two languages, the traditional and national language.

Our form of government is a republic. The government's system is democracy. Last September, we elected the new president for the next 4 years directly. Indonesia is still learning to become better country. People in Indonesia like to work together and solve any problem with discussion.

My experiences in the U.S. are wonderful. I was so happy when I heard that I would come to the U.S. Being an exchange student was my dream. I like to learn new thing and have new experiences. I am so glad came to this country. I have learned a lot about the U.S. culture, politics and government, economy, history and customs.

I love my host family, my school and my new friends. They help me to better understand the American life. My English skills have been improved.

There is a huge difference between Indonesia and United States. Here, people have more freedom to express their feelings. At school, I joined with the math team and the international student club. It is so much fun. I take chorus class. I like that class. The director lets me wear my veil when we have concerts. This class is so cool. It helped me more understand more about music.

I have a lot of friends at school. It was kind of hard to make friends because I am different, and I wear the veil. But I always supported myself to get a friend. I thought it was a challenge for me. One of the funniest things at school was when one student asked me, "Are you terrorist?" I did not know why he asked that question. I laughed.

The other funniest story is about a misunderstanding. One day in my science class, we had a group project about an expedition to Mars. We discussed the supplies that we would need to bring. I said to my group that we needed to bring "food". But my group did not understand because I pronounced it in the wrong way. I tried to say it a couple of times. They thought I said "foot." When I got home, I told my host family. They laughed. Since that, they make fun of me with those two words.

Twice a month during weekends, I do community service in the Baha'i community. I assist the teacher to teach the kids under 5-years old about the basic things in their religion. I like it because I learn about a new religion and share my knowledge about Islam.

I knew the news about the tsunami from the Internet. I was shock because the tsunami occurred on my island. My host mom's dad called and told about the tsunami. I was so sad. I called my family. Thank God they are fine. They just got a little earthquake. The following days I got calls from my friends and my teachers about the tsunami. I was so happy because they cared about me.

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