Exchanging North Platte for Indonesia

The nation of Indonesia lies next to several seas. Indonesia also boasts volcanoes, jungles, and ancient ruins. It is home to over 290 million people and at the end of August 2017, the nation will become home to North Platte High School senior Abigail Kring.

“I will be in Indonesia for about 11 months. I’m not sure where I will exactly be placed yet. The only thing I know for sure is that it will be in a city,” said Kring. She found this opportunity through one of her mother’s friends, Delane Wycoff, who is a North Platte Rotary Club Youth Exchange Officer. “Delane contacted my mom and told her about the scholarship. My dad and her discussed it for about three days before making their decision to present the idea to me,” she said.

After applying for the Youth Exchange Program, you have to fill out and submit a sheet of the top 10 countries you’d like to live in. Some students get sent to their choices and others don’t. “Indonesia was my top choice. The reason I chose this country is because it’s completely different from ours,” said Kring.

North Platte Rotary Club is delighted to be sending two students from North Platte High School on the exchange this year, according to Wycoff. “North Platte hasn’t recently sent any long-term Rotary Exchange Students outbound, so it was very gratifying that our city will be sending two students for the upcoming year,” he said. Senior Syble Heffernan is the other person who will be doing an exchange; she is going to Brazil.
Kring never expected to be able to do something this extravagant. She wants to be a doctor after high school, so a gap year didn’t seem feasible to her. “I didn’t think I would be able to defer my scholarships, and if I was able to, I was concerned about falling behind in my classes and then not be able to compete as well,” she said. She said it seems as though everything has fallen into place so that she can go to college and Indonesia.

While living in Indonesia, Kring will be going to school. She doesn’t know yet if the school will be professional or vocational. She will also be traveling to different parts of Indonesia to learn more about their culture.

Kring has already started preparing for her exchange, so when she gets there she’s at least, “‘slightly prepared’”. “I say slightly because there is no way to eliminate the good and the bad of culture shock,” she said. Kring is a bit nervous about getting lost because she’s not the best with directions. However, she’s confident that with today’s technology, it shouldn’t be that big of an issue.

Kring will stay in Indonesia for the whole 11 months that she is there. “I’m going to stay in Indonesia the whole time because of my Visa. Also because of the fact that I’m going to Indonesia to learn Indonesian culture – not another countries. There’s also so many islands the are part of the nation that I can go visit instead of going to a different country,” she said.

Kring is most excited to experience a culture completely different from her own. “The food, geography, climate, people, animals, environment, and so on, are uniquely their own,” she said. However, there are still things about living in the city that are going to be hard for Kring to adapt to. “I have grown up in North Platte my whole life, so going from here to there is definitely going to be different,” she said.

It seems as though everything has fallen into place so I can go to both college and Indonesia.”

— Abigail Kring

Even though Kring is excited about her exchange, there are certain things about American traditions and culture that she will miss. “I’ll miss my family and friends, obviously. I’m also going to miss Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter,” said Kring. While in Indonesia, Kring will not be observing Christian holidays because the nation of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. “If I live with a Muslim family I will observe their holidays, which I think will be interesting to learn and understand a different religion.”