Indonesian university students Wayan Alit Sudarsana and Emman Marpaung were deeply disappointed when they arrived at VOA last week, just a few minutes too late to catch the studio tour they had been looking forward to as part of their visit to Washington.
The two have been in the United States since the fall of 2012 as part of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD
). Missing out on the tour of their favorite international station was not something they had expected.
Undeterred by their near miss, they phoned the VOA Public Relations
office to see if there was any way they could still join the tour that was well underway. The answer was no, but what they got was more than they bargained for.
With some quick arranging by Tour Guide Bruna Ladeira, the two were escorted to the office of VOA Indonesian Service
Chief Norm Goodman, who with the help of broadcaster Freeka Ronan Adzanur, welcomed the pair to the service.
They took pictures with two of their favorite VOA broadcast personalities, Marsha Ryadi and Retno Lestari from the program Dunia Kita, and topping the day off, they were interviewed by Hanum Tyagita for Indonesian radio about student life in the United States.
“The whole experience of meeting everyone inside VOA was really unforgettable, to be honest,” Emman said. “During my radio interview, I tried to give support to Indonesian students, and encourage them to study hard and not be afraid of new experiences. I was so honored.”
Emman and Wayan were looking forward to telling their family and friends back home, so they could tune in to the radio show. “It will be so amazing for my family to hear me on VOA. In Indonesia, VOA is so popular. Everyone knows it,” Emman said.