By Christina Mascarenas
Going to America was more a dream than reality to Indah Setiwati, a 30 hour plane ride dream. Indah was the deputy editor for the Jakarta Post in Jakarta, Indonesia when she decided to make a change and apply to graduate school.
In the beginning, Indah only applied to local scholarships even though studying abroad is a goal for many Indonesians. Indah had her family to think about. Not wanting Indah to limit her academic potential, a friend encouraged her to apply for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, which enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States. If Indah was accepted, she would finally have her ticket to the United States.
After weighing the pros and cons, Indah decided to go for it and applied to four scholarships including the Fulbright program. One day, she was taking the train to work when she received an email telling her she was accepted into the Fulbright program. “It was surreal,” she said. “The Fulbright Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship on earth.”
Indah did research to find the best journalism school in the U.S. that would fit her interests. She chose the Missouri School of Journalism because it was the best journalism school and was affordable with her Fulbright Scholarship.
According to Indah, the Journalism Library at Mizzou has extremely knowledgeable librarians. “Sue is really helpful and resourceful,” she stated referring to Sue Schuermann, senior library specialist. Sue took the time to show Indah how to do precise searches and search for specific journals. “She is very helpful. She is a great resource, all you have to do it ask,” she said.
When Indah needed a book that the library didn’t have, Sue was able to purchase the book for the library. Indah was especially grateful for the “really cool” interlibrary loan program. When she wanted to read a particular book, she was asked if she’d like to read the PDF or the book, she chose both. She thought it was great to get the book in three days.
“Books in Indonesia are precious. They are like a treasure,” she said. “Especially children’s books, it’s really hard to get English children’s books in Indonesia, they are expensive.” In addition to the Journalism Library, she has used Ellis Library and the Daniel Boone Regional Library. She said, “American libraries are like wow.” In Indonesia, according to Indah, “If you want to get an affordable children’s English book. You have to go to a second-hand store. The upper-class Jakartans donate or sell their books to the second-hand stores. You can only find books at certain places.”
“I’m happier here to see the library resources,” she said. “Another cool thing about the library is you have access to the New York Times and other publications, and you don’t have to spend your money to subscribe to them since the library already subscribes to them.”