Student Profile: Jessica Raharjo ’23

Jessica Raharjo

Major: Engineering – Mechatronics
Hometown: Semarang, Indonesia
Activities: Robotics Club, Big Toe Bunch

I am supported

Since I started at Hesston College online from back home, I was not very sure of what to expect from American education. I was struggling to adapt to the sudden and drastic changes, so I finally decided to reach out to some of my professors and asked for help. Each time I go to my professors’ office hours to get help, they are very respectful of my efforts and they help me to solve the problems that I have. Professors here are also very observant of the students’ progress and always give meaningful feedback that promotes students’ development, both in personal and academic aspects.

When I was in my country, I always sealed myself off when I was with people that I didn’t really know well. Here, I find myself engaging and enjoying daily conversation with friends and I have become more open to the world. I am so thankful for my friends and the people of Hesston College. I am very grateful that I always have someone to talk to no matter how intense my circumstances are.

Learning from each other

People at Hesston College are really open to my culture and they try to respect every difference as best as possible. They even want to know and learn about the different cultural [traditions] that we have. Not only that, the college asked me to share the culture and kinds of celebrations that we have back home in forums a few times. I feel like I am seen.

Someone asked me if my people eat with our hands when one of my friends from Myanmar shared his culture of eating with bare hands back in his home. I answered hesitantly that yes, I also eat this way. I was kind of afraid of my answer. But now, together we have taught at least five people how to eat with their bare hands, including the person who questioned me!

My Hesston family

The cultural differences that we have formed me into the person who I am right now. I have now grown to know more people and form a group of close friends with different cultures, races, colors and backgrounds, which I now call my Hesston family. We cherish and respect each other’s cultures and differences as individuals who act like their true selves, without worrying about other people’s judgments.

I have learned it is possible to open myself to others when I have people that are very supportive and encouraging; people that you can consider as your own family. They make my life a lot easier as they give me strength, hope and help me to carry both my academic and non-academic pursuits.