Half across the world for snow


Sevilay Kelek/SCC

Reni Bodiarti in New York

Sevilay Kelek, Reporter

Indonesian international student Reni Bodiarti, who studies at Scottsdale Community College, set off on a journey to New York to experience a natural element…snow!

Bodiarti’s journey began in Surabaya, Indonesia-and America was one of her lifelong dreams to visit the country.

In 2017, Bodiarti got the chance to come to America after obtaining a scholarship from the Community College Initiative Program funded by the U.S. Department of State.

There were 15 other international students from all over the world who were also accepted to the program. The CCI program is a one-year initiative that provides exchange students the opportunity for new cultural experiences as well as educational and leadership skills.

Bodiarti was a radio broadcaster for seven years in Surabaya. She is also an online music writer and freelance blogger. Now, she is an active creative youth community member in Indonesia and is studying social media marketing at Scottsdale Community College.

When Bodiarti was in elementary school, she always listened to western music in the 90’s. One of her other passions is listening to international music, which also played a role for her to study abroad in the U.S.

When Bodiarti was in Indonesia, she was majoring in English and when she was finally in the U.S. she seized the opportunity to complete another of her lifelong goals–she wanted to see and touch real snow because Indonesia does not have snow as the weather is always warm and humid.

When she accepted the CCI scholarship program, she learned her school was in Arizona. She started to search on Google about Arizona and found that she would be studying in the desert. Intially, she was not happy for studying in Arizona because Arizona was in the desert and a  climate that she was all too familiar with. She thought that she would not be able to see snow. It was sad for her because some of her CCI participants friends are studying in Chicago, Boston, Virginia and Pennsylvania, places, where snow is in abundance in the winter. Fortunately, she used her opportunity in the United States to travel and her first snow experience happened two hours north in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Bodiarti says the snow in Flagstaff was really nice to see and touch, but she still wanted to see real snow, Flagstaff had mostly ice when she visited. This experience showed her what snow looks like and eventually she she traveled to New York during the winter break and saw snow.

“This is a real, unforgettable snow experience, a bad and the good thing for me,” Bodiarti said.

She spent eight days in New York. Before she left for New York, many of her friends shared their thoughts about her traveling. They felt it was the wrong time to travel to New York during the middle of winter but she ended up going anyway.

Bodiarti never had felt colder in her life before New York. She could not feel her fingers or her body. She panicked the very first time because she was not used to the cold. Her snow experience was only one day in New York and the weather was better than most winter days. She thought that this is her first and possibly her last snow experience during the program. Even though she felt cold, she was happy that she finally had the experience.

“It was like in the movie and unbelievable because I played so much on the snow,” Bodiarti said.