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Fulbright Student Built a Community

Novita Alfinuri will return to Indonesia with a higher public calling after completing her master’s degree in economics. Using what she has learned as a result of her Fulbright award, the international student wants to return to her job at the Central Bank and become a top industry leader in micro-financing. Alfinuri aims to help small to medium enterprises grow and prosper.

The community of friends, American and international, that she and her family have developed has been a pivotal part of her time in Lawrence. Alfinuri shared her culture and heritage through food and cooking with and eating with friends expanding her taste. YouTube helped her learn to make Indonesian street food and she’s enjoyed food from India and Saudi Arabia, as well as American casseroles. She said she will miss all the flavor choices of cheese, ice cream and all the global foods she has come to enjoy.

Alfinuri had the extra challenge of entering graduate school with a baby. Juggling her parental responsibilities with her studies was not easy but she and her husband made it work. Joining Hawks with Hawklets, a group for students with children, was a useful way to share resources and get together with other students with parents.

As often happens in Lawrence, she connected with an American family who approached her after hearing her speaking Indonesian in Walmart. They’ve continued to spend time together.

She wrote about her experience in an on-line blog. “The journey doesn’t end after passing the arrival gate. It never ends at all in that matter. There is a notion that says, ‘Once you’re a Fulbrighter you’ll always be a Fulbrighter’ is very true. It’s the start of life changing student exchange experience and having my family present, personally was definitely worth the challenge.”


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