Citra Laras Kinanti (Rara), IYLP 2006, won the Legacy Essay Contest for Indonesian Participants. Her winning essay succinctly expresses the impact that attending Legacy International’s Indonesian program had on her life and her life decisions. She writes, as follows:

Rara receives Certificate

“Participating in IYLP 2006 was one of the most significant turning points in my life. It was my first encounter with the western world, a memorable embrace to the new environment with a whole different set of culture, perspectives, and ways of life.
I also had the chance to have a close interaction with other Indonesians from different parts of the country most of which are strict Moslems that I barely meet back in my hometown. It was a great learning experience that taught me to take differences as a blessing instead of an obstacle in life and changed me to be an open-minded person with deeper mutual and cultural understanding. Seeing the difference between the United States and  Indonesia in terms of developments also grew personal awareness towards social issues within me and it motivated me to make contributions to my country.

Rara and fellow graduates

IYLP, I continued my study in Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan. It is a richly diverse environment where I had the chance to make friends from more than 90 countries all over the world, learning new cultures, and experience living on the other part of the world. Throughout my four years in Japan I have been focusing my non-academic activities in spreading the awareness about the importance of English. I have participated in numerous English camps as tutors, teaching assistants, and program directors both in Japan and South Korea. I have worked with more than 1,000 kids in total and I am currently working with a small organization to organize another English Camp in Indonesia.

Indonesia is currently facing remarkably intense inter-religious problems with endless competitions between Moslems and Christians, the rises of radical Islamist groups such as the notorious Front of Defenders of Islam (FPI) and Mosque of Ahmadiyah that often ignite the fire by doing anarchic activities in the name of Islam, let alone the undercover organizations that often give wrong doctrines for people in rural areas. It is undoubtedly a serious obstacle for Indonesia because development would be impossible without unity.

Rara in S. Korean English Camp

In order to contribute in pursuing betterment for my country, I would focus on providing equal access to education for everyone because I personally believe that education and the opportunity to see the world has the power to shape a wiser individual and English is definitely one of the main keys of all. I would continue my master study on International Education so that I can make a better education system in Indonesia and my goal is to establish an NGO that provides opportunities for kids to join intercultural discussions where they can have a better look about what’s going on beyond the national boundaries.

With proper education and understanding about the world, people would not be easily misled, they would have more tolerance towards differences, and I believe it can eventually further decrease the inter-religious conflicts in Indonesia and make the way for a better national development.

My dream may sound vague at the moment but quoting from John F. Kennedy, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask instead what you can do for your country”, and I believe it is a little something I can do for my country. “…Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do” – Steve Jobs.