Expressing Myself With My Guitar
Exchange student from Indonesia plays the guitar on the balcony of his host family home in Washington

Indonesian offers a poignant performance

Hello there! My name is Umar. I’m a YES exchange student from Indonesia, and let me tell you something about myself: I love playing guitars. I’ve been playing for close to five years now. It has been an integral part of my life through which I can express my feelings and my cultural identity.

When I found out I was going to the U.S., the first thing that came to my mind was, “Will I have a chance to do what I love there?” At first, I was skeptical and intimidated to actually show what I could do. Although I’ve played guitar for a long time, I never had a formal music education, and I’m lacking one of the most intrinsic parts of it, which is reading musical notes.

Whenever I see a rainbow, I always take my time to enjoy it while it lasts.

Luckily, I was blessed with a welcome family who had the same musical interests as me. They always cheered me on when I played, which improved my confidence. They were good enough to teach me how to sight read little by little, and were kind enough to lend me their guitar even after I moved to my permanent host family!

The song that I play here is called "Pelangi," which translates to rainbow. I think this song perfectly encapsulates my exchange experience so far. For me, a rainbow is one of the most beautiful things in the world, but it doesn’t last long. Whenever I see a rainbow, I always take my time to enjoy it while it lasts.

The same goes for this exchange program. One year is not that long, and I’m planning to use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the best version of myself and enjoy it to the fullest!

—Umar (YES, Indonesia), hosted by the Sweet family (WA)