From Indonesia to SRJC, International student seeks knowledge

Anne-Elisabeth Cavarec, Staff Writer

Thirsty for knowledge and inspired by the desire to study in an English-speaking country, Frengky Arya Saputra quit his job as supervisor for a multinational company specializing in sugar cane production in Indonesia to study at Santa Rosa Junior College, from Fall 2014 through Spring 2015.

Born in Bengkulu province, Indonesia, Saputra was a serious student who benefited from the educational opportunities that developed after the independence of his country.

At Lampung State Polytechnic, Saputra heard an idea that inspired him to come to Santa Rosa. After receiving a letter in English from a former student, Saputra’s English teacher, Nia Garyadi, said during class that she hoped one of her current students would also send her a letter in English one day. “That was the beginning of my journey,” Saputra said. “This teacher played a very important role to shape my dreams.”

This brilliant idea became a fire in his mind when he learned about the Community College Initiative Program. Through scholarships the program enables students to study in the United States.
Saputra said, “I was really happy and excited. I couldn’t sleep. I had insomnia.” The application process took seven months.

Besides learning agriculture business and management at SRJC, Saputra, 25, admits living in Santa Rosa this year brought him another perspective on himself and others. “I was arrogant before. I didn’t like people criticizing me. Here, I changed the way I talk and treat people. I have improved my listening skills,” he said.

With a bit of frustration, Saputra will go home at the end of the semester. “I would need at least another year to get the knowledge I want,” he said. On the other hand, Indonesian students and teachers are impatiently eager to hear his American stories.

Saputra will not miss the disturbance he sometimes experienced observing women wearing short dresses, a taboo in his original culture. But he definitely will miss his American friends. “I met nice people. Not all of them are racists, like I thought before.”

As he approaches departure from Santa Rosa, Saputra looks to the future serenely. “I prefer to dedicate myself to my country,” he said.
His English teacher is sure he will inspire other students in turn, to embrace the extraordinary experience of living abroad.