Indonesian students visit Western North Carolina

April 15, 2011

By Jessica Goodman
Times-News Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 9:18 p.m.
In a packed auditorium at Hendersonville High School, 20 students performed provincial dances from their homeland of Jakarta, Indonesia. The 10th-grade students, dressed in brightly colored costumes, treated the entire school to a cultural performance Wednesday.

Jakarta Indonesia students perform cultural dances
The students from SMA No. 8 (a public school) in Jakarta are at the top of their class and came to America with the help of Friendship Force International and the Western North Carolina chapter. After a week in Hendersonville, the students and two teachers will travel to Tampa, Fla.

The trip will make an impression on the students, said teacher Desi Purnama Kurniawati. This is the second time students from Indonesia have come to Hendersonville through Friendship Force.

“Now they become more independent,” Kurniawati said. “More tough. Their knowledge is broader. They can see a different side. They’re more confident in speaking English.”

The students visited West Henderson High Monday morning, and then shadowed students at Hendersonville High on Wednesday. They visited Blue Ridge Community College Tuesday and plan to hike today and shop Friday.

“The kids got to attend class with other students,” said Doug Judkins, a member and past president of the WNC chapter of Friendship Force. Judkins added that it was “a good experience for West Henderson students, too.”

The students from Indonesia “have to have the highest grades in school to be selected for the trip,” Judkins said.

Friendship Force International was chartered in 1977 during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

The Western North Carolina Chapter was organized in 1979, with the first exchange happening in 1980. Visitors from Germany were the first to travel to Western North Carolina under the Friendship Force’s exchange programs. For more information, visit


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