Spencer Wilson: “Don’t Do Something Everyone Else Does!”

Every student has an individual story about why they choose to go to Sampoerna University (SU). As a junior student majoring in Business at Eller School of Management, the University of Arizona (UA), Spencer Wilson is now staying in Jakarta to spend 4 months of studying at Sampoerna University. He has set his mind from the beginning: “I want to go to Southeast Asia for my study abroad vacation.” And SU is the right destination. Here is the excerpt of the interview with the Chicago native.

Why are you interested in Southeast Asia?

Spencer (S): “I am fascinated by Southeast Asian culture and it’s just different than the U.S. and Europe. I’ve gone to Europe previously with my family. And I’ve been not much to Southeast Asia, so this is an opportunity to explore Asian culture to see how different societies live and experience different ways of life compared to what I am used to at home.”

So far what is your opinion of Indonesia?

S: “Jakarta is unique in the way that it is so big and densely populated. I have to travel a lot here to see everything. It is big and diverse. Like the American society. “

What is the benefit of the study abroad program you are taking now?

S: “I think it has introduced me to a lot of new people. And everyone is different from each other. I am doing my General Education courses here. It’s a good opportunity to do American courses abroad. Most of my courses are project based and there is no substantial language barrier here. It gives more control to learn about Indonesian heritage and culture.”

Have you made friends at SU?

S: “I have made some friends here in Jakarta. We have different personalities but we kind of mash together. We have close bonds. My friends and I went to a lot of places around Jakarta such as Cibubur. We were supposed to go to Bogor Botanical Garden, but it was closed. I’ve been to Komodo Island and went there with my family. I went to BSD with my friends. And we went and have meals at different restaurants to go see different places.”

Is there any change of perception once you got here?

S: “I was going here with an open mind. I had nothing to expect but it turns out well. Over the summer I went to Bali with my family and we had no idea that life in Bali is so much different from life in here (Jakarta). It is interesting to see the contrast of people and culture and so on in a single country.” 

What is your take on Indonesia from a business major standpoint?

S: “I think Indonesia is a promising country to do business in because it is a developing country and Jakarta is very much developed compared to the other parts of nation. As a businessperson, it is nice to see different flourishing business here. You can see individual, small business here and to see differences in all of those.
I am not doing my Business courses here. I do my Science, Ethics, Diversity credits and Technology class as an elective. And that was really what I wanted to do although I am studying abroad, I don’t focus on my UA business courses. I want to focus on classes that are more catered around the society, heritage and local environment in Indonesia. Instead of learning it from professors in the U.S. about Indonesia, it’d be better to learn it here.”

Is there any message you want to share with other students who want to study abroad?

S: “Regardless of where you’re from, don’t come in with a fixed, specific expectation. For example, here I expected to travel every weekend, but it turned out I couldn’t. So instead, I explored Jakarta and the surrounding areas. Fortunately, there are so many things to explore in Jakarta.”

Will you recommend our study abroad program to your friends and acquaintances?

S: “None of my friends are going to study abroad in Asia. But I still recommend it because it is such a unique experience and I didn’t want to do something that everyone else does. I really like Asia and I don’t mind going so far away.”

Have you tried online services from local startups?

S: “I like it because Jakarta at least in this area is not pedestrian friendly. You always have to drive to go somewhere. So it allows me to try new foods and stuff based on friends’ recommendation.
We may have the similar services back in Chicago like Uber Eat, Dippingo, and so on but we cannot get a motorcycle on an Uber!
You all have pretty similar apps here but they offer a lot more things. We cannot get our house cleaned, or get a massage, etc.”


How does staying here in Jakarta enrich your perspectives as a business student?

S: “I watched an interview of Go-Jek founder. He said as long as you take a ride by car, you’ll get always stuck in the traffic jams. But by motorcycle, you can cut the traffic and time in half. I wish they has these in the States now. “

What is your plan after graduation?

S: “I want to start my own business. And I want to combine it with my parents’ company and expand our corporation to Asia.”

Do you want to experience an invigorating study abroad program in Indonesia and Southeast Asia? Shoot us an email at oip@sampoernauniversity.ac.id. (*/)