We appreciate learning about and sharing the amazing experiences of our alumni. In this post Kaitlyn Waters (CS2) shares a bit about her current year as a Rotary Exchange student in Indonesia.
During the closing ceremony of my semester at Conserve School, we were all left with one final assignment: “to go out and change the world”. I had felt so inspired and exited by those words, yet as I was getting off the plane in Makassar, Indonesia, my time in the Northwoods felt like a world away as I was greeted with an overwhelming heat and surrounded by an Indonesian family whose daughter I would soon become.
A country I could once hardly locate on a map has become a place I call home. People I once saw as strangers selflessly have opened up their culture to me. Indonesians who make less than a dollar a day took me into their homes to sit down with them for a meal. I’ve seen children having more fun playing with a beat-up soccer ball on the beach than I’ve ever had on an iPad.
I was brought to countless events celebrating weddings, births and even Ramadan. I spent an entire afternoon sifting through almost every vendor of the local market in my village in search of a turkey to prepare my family for their first Thanksgiving dinner. When Christmas came around, my entirely Muslim host family decorated the banana tree in their backyard with snowflakes cut from newspaper and that night we all watched It’s a Wonderful Life with Indonesian subtitles.
Even though I can’t imagine how much I’ll miss Indonesia once I leave next month, the experiences I’ve had will guide me in discovering how I can go out and change the world.
Conserve School Alum, CS2
Thank you Kaitlyn for sharing these thoughts and photos! ~Stefan Anderson, Head of School