Campus News

Global Spotlight: Indonesia culture

“Wonderful Indonesia.” This is the slogan used by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, and from what has been shared by the Indonesian exchange students at Kirkwood Community College, it is a title that is well deserved.

Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. An archipelago country, it encompasses approximately 17,000 islands, the largest of which are Borneo, Java, Papua and Sumatra. 

Seated atop the subduction boundary of the Indian and Sunda tectonic plates, and part of the Pacific spanning “Ring of Fire,” most of the islands are volcanic in origin. Indonesia is home to several prominent volcanoes, including Mt. Merapi, Mt. Semeru, and of course the infamous Krakatoa.

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, two of Kirkwood’s Indonesian students, Gracia Priscilia Hapsari (Jakarta, Java), and Hillary Maranresy (Biak, Papua), presented on their homeland on the Iowa Hall stage. Both Hapsari and Maranresy both already have college degrees, Multi-Media Broadcasting and English Literature respectively, and are continuing their studies at Kirkwood. During the presentation, Haspari sang a folk song, and Maranresy, who has previously written pieces for the Communique, recited a poem of her own composition, saluting her home. 

They shared several details on the lifestyle and culture of Indonesia, ranging from food, to sports, to clothing, to customs and traditions. However, to say that Indonesia has a single set of customs and traditions would be a fallacy.

Indonesia’s national motto is “Bhinneka Tunggul Ika – Unity in Diversity.” While 87% of the Indonesian population is Muslim, it is also home to Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, the latter two being the prominent religions prior to the 13th Century. 

One of Indonesia’s native Wonders is the Buddhist Borobudur Temple in the province of Central Java, which Hapsari stated is one of her favorite places.

The food of Indonesia is known to be spicy and meat centric. However, as it is currently Ramadan, there are plenty of meat-free choices as well. A staple of Indonesian cuisine is Nasi Goreng, a fried rice dish served with eggs and a mix of meat and vegetables, and of course, spices. It was the spices that first attracted to world to Indonesia. First Indian and Arabian sea traders, then the English, Dutch and Portuguese. While it was a Dutch colony for roughly 300 years, Indonesia gained its independence on August, 17, 1945, now celebrating its 79th Independence Day.

Image courtesy of Communique Staff | Kirkwood Communiqué

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