Indonesian Students Excel in America


Indonesian students Leddy Ansanay and Monica Agathiara are finding success at KC. Photos by E'Lexis Hodge and Denise Macon of The Flare.
Indonesian students Leddy Ansanay and Monica Agathiara are finding success at KC. Photos by E’Lexis Hodge and Denise Macon of The Flare.


International KC students, Leddy Ansanay and Monica Agathiari, both come from the country of Indonesia. Though these women are from the same country, their lives are very different. Both students share their experiences in Indonesia and thoughts of America.


Where are you from?

L: Papua, Indonesia.

M: Jakarta, Indonesia, the capital city of Indonesia. A lot of people live there. It’s really too much for me. The traffic is awful. It’s better to take the subway or bus for transportation. I would have to leave my house two hours before school started just to get there on time because of the traffic. Indonesia is a second world country. There are a lot of homeless people and poor communities.


How long did it take you to get here?

L and M: 27 hours.


How did you find out about Kilgore College?

L: I went to LeTourneau in Longview, and I saw that I could take cheaper classes here. I received a scholarship to America from the [Indonesian] government. In America, the schooling is more specific. In Indonesia, you are not experienced in your career until you graduate and work in your career. [In America], college gives you experience before you work.

M: My aunt told my parents I should come here. There are a lot of trees. I live with my cousin in Longview.


What is your major?

L: Chemistry

M: Computer networking. It’s really tough.


What profession are you wanting to have concerning your major?

L: I am hoping to work in the forensic chemistry field.

M: I don’t know yet. Google would be a fun place to work!


What are your thoughts on Texas so far?

L: It’s big and hot. Everything is spread out. I came to America in 2009 to Salem, Oregon to go to Corban University. It’s so beautiful there. Texas is beautiful, too, but very different.

M: It’s so hot! In Indonesia, we only have rainy days and hot weather. I never know what weather to expect here.


What do you plan to do after Kilgore College?

L: I just want to finish getting my chemistry degree at LeTourneau and then find a job wherever they will take me.

M: I plan to work, save money, and then continue school. I don’t want to transfer just yet.


Do you plan on moving back to Indonesia after you are done with school?

L: I really like America; I will probably stay. Texas is not bad. Here things are much easier and America has so many beautiful places. Indonesia is not well taken care of, but America is much cleaner. Sometimes, especially when I first came to America, I get homesick. I haven’t been to Indonesia since last December though.

M: No. Maybe if I have to.


How do you keep in touch with your family?

L: My family calls every once in a while. I have five siblings and I Skype them sometimes. I am the only one in America.

M: Skype! I also use the Whatsapp and Facebook. I have been in America for three years, but I have only been to KC one year. I am the oldest of two sisters and one brother. At first I was homesick but not anymore.


What are some of your favorite Indonesian dishes?

L: Fried rice and Thai food. In Indonesia, if you want to take someone to a fancy dinner on date night, that’s when you go to KFC or Pizza Hut.

M: I love spicy food! I like beef with coconut milk and remband. Remband is popular in Indonesian communities. You eat it with white rice. Indonesia has some dog, bat, snake, and turtle markets. Snakes and turtles taste like chicken. There is also a lot of fresh fruit like durian.


What are some of your favorite American dishes?

L: French fries and mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes!

M: Pizza King, Burger King, and chocolate!


What are you hoping to gain from your time spent in America?

L: I want more work experience and a better education. I also have gotten a different perspective of people. Before I came to America, I thought people partied all the time. I thought you just come to America and make money, That was the image of America in Indonesia.

M: I love the respect Americans have for me, and I hope to learn to have respect for them.


How different are your cities from one another?

L: Monica is from a much bigger city where her dialect is different. I feel more comfortable talking in English than I do in our language because I have a harder time understanding her dialect. We really are from two completely different areas. There’s more of an economy and competition in Monica’s city.

M: I have never been to Papua, but I know their looks and skin tone are different than mine. They also dress much different. We do not dress as modest.


What languages do you speak?

L: I speak Bahasa. It has many different dialects. I took English classes in high school, but I didn’t start speaking it until I came to America.

M: I know Chinese, English (thanks to ESOL), traditional Indonesian languages, and Bahasa. Bahasa actually means “language” in Indonesian.


What music do you listen to?

L: Pop music and reggae are very popular types of music, but rap is evolving.

M: The music I listen to is pop, Korean pop, and classical music.


What sports are popular in Indonesia?

L: We play soccer, badminton, and volleyball for sports.

M: I like those sports, but I also played basketball.


What fashion is popular in Indonesia?

L: A lot of girls dress more modest in Indonesia because the main religion there is Islam.

M: We actually have people from the jungle who wear tribal clothes, but Jakarta is not any different from America.


Leddy said the main religion in Papua is Islam. What are the major religions in Jakarta?

M: There is a heavy Muslim influence in Indonesia. Indonesia has five main religions. You have Islam (the major religion), Christian (Catholicism is the main denomination), Buddhism, Hinduism, and Kong Hu Cu, which is a like a combination of Buddhism and Hinduism.


How is America different from where you lived in Indonesia?

L: In America, you give up freedom for security. In Indonesia, people don’t care about obeying the law. There is a lack of knowledge. In America, the attitude is more “what can you give to me?” In Indonesia, the attitude is “what can I give to you?” There is a difference in respect. Children respect their parents more in Indonesia. Indonesia is hot like Texas, but there are no tornadoes. It only gets cold when it rains. We never have snow. But also, in Indonesia you don’t have a last name. It wouldn’t be on your birth certificate.

M: I think America is a great opportunity to make money. You can have a better future. In Jakarta, the culture is not much different from the culture of America. I love shopping and seeing movies. Our movies are the movies Americans made in Hollywood. The United States is cleaner. Jakarta has many tourists, which is what our economy lives off. We also have a lot of international students. Jakarta even has schools for international students. The police in Jakarta are active, but there is just so much crime. I love America and Indonesia the same amount. They both have their pros and cons.


Do you have any last statements?

L: I enjoy myself in Kilgore!

M: I love the United States. People are more respectful. There’s also Black Friday where electronics are cheaper!