A Letter from Rio Jati Kusuma





It’s been almost one year since I arrived in Nebraska Lincoln to start my study at University of Nebraska Lincoln. Currently, I’m a graduate student from department of Nutrition and Health Science with the minor on molecular nutrition. I’m writing this letter to share my wonderful experience in here.

My first arrival in Lincoln was smooth. I only carried one big suitcase and a backpack, so it’s really lightweight travel. It was almost the end of summer. Lincoln is a small city with around 200,000 people in it. Yet, I love staying here, it’s peaceful and quite at night which reminds me of my hometown. What I love the most is Lincoln has an Asian, Indian and halal food store, which helps me to improve my cooking skill. The living cost here is cheap as well. But don’t get it wrong, the city has a huge football stadium that can carry more people than the population itself (yeah, it’s so confusing).

However, all of the good, peaceful and wonderful life in here is ended when the winter and tornado come. Yes, Lincoln is really cold in the winter. This year, although there weren’t a lot of snows in here, the temperature has drop to below zero due to the wind chill. I got my first nose bleed at that time. Moreover, in summer, there are a lot of tornadoes warning in here which scares me to death. It was on late Sunday afternoon when I’ve an experiment to do in my lab, and suddenly the tornado siren was issued. I was alone in my lab, panicked and don’t know what to do. I called my landlord to pick me up and hurried up together to the shelter, when another warning came up from my cell phone (yes, it’s not only tornado): the flash flood! God, it was so crazy on that evening (>_<).

But, the above conditions won’t make me feel less determined to study. Although my English isn’t that good, I can still follow and understand the lecture. I love the way that the Professors teach us here. They tend to encourage their student to learn by themselves and respect other people opinions. The reading materials were awesome and excite me to think and explore more about science. There are a lot of crazy ideas coming out of my brain after reading the materials. Sometimes, I can’t sleep just to think about the idea that I got. It’s a wonderful experience to study here and I’m really grateful for that.

In addition, not only the course that excite me to learn something new, but also the laboratory activity that double my enthusiasm. I’m trying my best to learn how to use the molecular equipment so in the future when I return to Indonesia, I can bring more knowledge. My dream is to build a well-equipped molecular nutrition laboratory in Indonesia which will accommodate the great nutrition scientists from all over Indonesia. I can spend an entire day in lab and I don’t feel lonely because I’ve an invisible friend who accompany me (it’s true, and sometimes she was ignorant, :p). One time, I put my pen near the computer in room 303 and leave to another room. When I returned, my pen was missing so I search in another room but still can’t find it. I return to room 303 after half hour and found my pen just exactly in the same position as before. When I told my story to my friend, she says that almost all of our lab members experienced the same thing (hopefully I won’t bring the foreign version of “sundel bolong” to my lab in Indonesia, lol).

I’m trying my best to balance my lab life with social life. I like making new friend or hang out with them. Although Lincoln doesn’t has good amusement park or tourist spot, but the bar, the zoo and some parks are decent enough for us to chat and exchange ideas. In some occasion, such as thanksgiving, my friend also invited me to come to his place just to have a dinner together with his family. I also love sharing my idea and tell them about Indonesia culture when we’ve free time in lab. They feel amazed with the religion tolerance in Indonesia. At times, I also invited them over to my house, so they can taste the delicious Indonesian foods which I cooked (thanks God, they like my food and not get poisonous).

Although I didn’t follow any volunteering activity in here due to my lab work activity, I have tried to share my knowledge to make better community. I initiate the journal club together with my lab mate to discuss and review some updated research in a more casual way. We meet every once in month. I also initiate similar type of activity like this, but only intended for my friend, senior and junior classmate in Indonesia. I called it the online nutrition school with the aim to transfer the knowledge and experience that I gained here with my friend and junior in Indonesia.

I think that’s all of my wonderful experience that I can share in this letter. Thanks to PRESTASI for fabulous opportunity to write down this letter and to study here. Have a good day and happy fasting Ramadhan for my Muslim brother and sister.


Best wishes for all,