With an empty campus and a deconstructed Village, Muncie is not on the list of summer vacation hot spots for most Ball State students. The story is much different, however, for 15 international students who have travelled from Malaysia and Indonesia to stay on campus for five weeks..

For the third consecutive year, the Study of the U.S. Institute on New Media and Journalism at Ball State gave a group of international undergraduates the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture, politics and social life of an American college student. 

Yahya Zakaria, an English literature major at the School of Foreign Language of Jakarta, Indonesia, sees this as an opportunity to bring new experiences back home,

“We are seen as future leaders that will hopefully bring movements, improvements and a better understanding of the world back to our communities,” Zakaria said. 

While at Ball State, the students attended a series of lectures, workshops, field trips and cultural activities intended to develop their management, team building, organizational communication and conflict resolution skills.

The visiting students kicked off their final week at Ball State with a cultural presentation Monday in the Arts and Journalism building. 

The presentations included meals that represented each region’s cuisine, including Maylasian Nasi Lemak, a traditional rice steamed or boiled in coconut milk, ginger and lemon grass. , 

They also discussed recent political uprisings and finished with native dances. Students performed a remix of the Poco-Poco and Yamko Rambe Yamko Indonesian dances, which they compared to an American line dance.   

On Friday the students will leave Ball State and travel to Washington, D.C., and New York City. 

“It’s important that we will have the opportunity to visit places like Washington, D.C., and New York,” Nouvindri Adji said. “These are cities that we have never known outside of seeing them on the television. It’s very exciting to see the differences in culture within the United States.” 

The trip proved to Zakaria that Americans are very different than how popular television shows depict them.

“Something I really uphold and appreciate about the American people is their confidence and optimism,” he said. “They have the attitude that you should never say no, never say that you can’t, instead they say that you will.”