Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1232604

Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 26, 2014

Coming back for education

By David Hotle | Aug 28, 2014
Pasoari Widiastuti studies in the lounge of the new Kirkwood Regional Center Thursday morning. After graduating from Washington High School as an exchange student, she has returned to continue her education at Kirkwood.

With a stack of books, a notepad and a water bottle sitting in front of her on a table in the Kirkwood Washington Regional Center lounge, Pasoari Widiastuti does not seem different from any of the other traditional students exploring the new building.
In fact, Widiastuti traveled over 9,700 miles for the opportunity to sit in a college classroom and learn accounting. She hopes to use the knowledge of financial information to get a job in her home country of Indonesia. Widiastuti’s host family includes Washington accountant Lori Adams. Although Widiastuti was studying the assigned material for her Composition 101 class this morning, she is eager to get started working with numbers in one of the new classrooms.
“I felt this is a better place for me to get a good education than in my country,” she said. “I got a scholarship here too, so that is the other reason why I am here.”
Widiastuti graduated from Washington High School with the Class of 2013 as an exchange student. She then returned to Indonesia and completed high school in that country. She says excitedly that she has two high school diplomas. After completing school Widiastuti said that she remained in contact with her host family from America. As summer began, they discussed the opportunity for Widiastuti to attend college in the United States. She jumped at the opportunity.
Arriving back in Washington in June, Widiastuti said that she believes there are more opportunities for education in the United States than she would have had in Indonesia.
“In my country, probably because we have more kids and not that many universities, there are too many people,” she said. “Especially for me. I’m not the kind of person who can work with a lot of kids. I need more time to be with a tutor or the professor.”
She looked out the second-floor window of the lounge and was able to look over the area she became used to as a student. Just outside the large wall full of windows are a cornfield, Highway 1 and wooded areas. The buildings that formerly housed Kirkwood and the ASSURE Center were also visible from the lounge. Widiastuti said that she had taken some tests at the former Kirkwood building, and the lack of space had not impressed her. With about 40,000 square feet of classrooms, labs, lounges, and offices, she says that the building is more of what she pictured when she thought of going to college.
“This is awesome — like a real college,” she said. “The other one was pretty small and this is like … boom.”
She said that she hopes to remain in the United States to finish her education. She said that she hopes to get a scholarship so she can complete her degree at a university. She said that she hopes not to have to go to far from Washington.
“People in Washington are really nice, especially my host family,” she said. “The people help me a lot. I have lots of friends here. I love the weather. I don’t have four seasons in my country. It is like summer every day and it is really hot, because it is a tropical country. Here, there are changes of seasons. I love the snow.”

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