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#IAMGOLDEN Student feature: Sebastian Kenny

“I just get bored easily,” said Kenny, a 2nd year international student from Indonesia studying Biochemistry. With a curious mentality, Kenny has been able to gain experience in leadership, research, cultural organizations and on-campus jobs. How did he do it? With time, effort & motivation.

Transition to the USA The transition international students go through isn’t easy- which is why those who take the leap to attend a university thousands of miles away should be very proud of themselves. Common for many incoming freshmen, whether from the USA or not, Kenny found himself a little lost at the beginning of his college experience. From orientation on campus to not knowing anyone due to growing up halfway across the world, it’s no wonder that it took some time and courage to adjust.

Like many new Boilermakers find out about opportunities, Kenny started off by attending an activities fair during BGRi (Boiler Gold Rush International) week. Simple enough, right? What allowed him to really jumpstart his involvement was asking many questions at the fair that exemplified his interest. He was also grateful to have connected himself with people who would support him right away & establish lasting relationships, such as the welcoming group he approached at the fair from the AAARCC (Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center). Having an open mind to meeting new people and spending time at the AAARCC helped Kenny settle in and become highly involved with this organization shortly after connecting.

Whilst interacting with many international students at the AAARCC, Kenny has noticed that a common dilemma for foreign newcomers is knowing the right timing to act and present themselves in various situations to gain opportunities. To overcome this, Kenny advises students to get interested and involved early, since there are no barriers to participation for anyone to get involved at Purdue. From this part of Kenny’s story, all students can takeaway that: Opportunities don’t approach you, you have to approach them. Especially at a busy, multi-faceted University like Purdue.

Involvement On-Campus Kenny holds several different positions at Purdue that have allowed him to gain diverse experiences. He works with Purdue Libraries as a student ambassador, the AAARCC as a student liaison, a resident assistant for Purdue Villages, and get this– that freshman who was lost his first year? He’s now a Purdue University Residences tour guide. Kenny also stays true to his heritage by taking on the presidency of the Purdue Indonesian Student Association, PERMIAS. And that doesn’t stop him- he’s actively searching for more opportunities to continue learning and engaging.

Choosing Purdue & Setting up Career Goals Although there shouldn’t be much of a question as to why Purdue is the best University in the world, (Boiler Up!) Kenny still had a big choice to make considering he would be traveling across the globe to attend college. When researching schools, he discovered that Purdue is a top research university with 2 Nobel Prize winners from Purdue’s Chemistry Department. Kenny admires Purdue’s funding, attention and appreciation for undergrad research, which contributed to his decision to become a Boilermaker.

In terms of Kenny’s career goals, he aspires to be a doctor. He mentioned that he has to work extra hard to boost his profile especially when looking into American Medical Schools. One way that has helped him prepare was stopping by the CCO’s Pre-Professional Advising Center, which is a great resource for students who are interested in considering professional schools such as healthcare or law. Kenny has also dropped by the CCO in YOUNG 132 for guidance in creating an American Style resume.

When asked how often he gets a chance to visit home back in Indonesia, Kenny said he gets the opportunity at least once a year. What has helped Kenny overcome the challenges associated with being an international student so far from home? Video calling family, finding a home away from home, staying busy with extracurricular activities and helping others through peer mentorship.

Kenny’s story should remind us to keep in mind the amount of strength and motivation it takes to travel from another country to pursue a quality education and career.

All international students are welcome & encouraged to use the resources at the Center for Career Opportunities, and to check out our international student resource page! Good luck, or as they say in Indonesia, Semoga Sukses!

Special thanks to Sydni Hair at the AAARCC for putting me in touch with Kenny!

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