Studying Abroad at Covenant
by Brian Beise
Until recently, Jane Tjahjono ’15 had no plans to study outside Indonesia. She had never been to the US and was happy in her hometown of Tangerang. Then she and her family felt God’s calling and began to consider colleges in the US. She remembers wrestling with the idea of leaving home for a strange place. “However,” says Jane, “when we responded to God’s call in faith, God gave me the capacity to endure the process. Because we were so sure that it was God’s idea, my family was ready to let me go.”
She first learned of Covenant when representatives of the College traveled to Indonesia to visit Sekolah Pelita Harapan, the international Christian school she attended. As she learned more about the College, she felt God’s calling and applied. Though she quickly developed a rapport with Amy Smith, her admissions representative, she enrolled at Covenant having never visited the US, much less Lookout Mountain. For her, Covenant’s motto, in all things Christ preeminent, was a key factor. “I’ve never heard such a strong Christian motto for a college,” she says.
Every year, Covenant sends students abroad to benefit not only from diverse academic opportunities, but also from living for a while in a different culture. For students like Jane, though, Covenant is not the launching point but the destination of their study-abroad experience.
Now finishing her first year at Covenant, Jane is majoring in economics, with a minor in biblical studies. She lives on campus and feels at home, even in the winters and summers of Georgia, which she describes as extreme compared to the year-round seventy-degree temperature of Tangerang. “It has been challenging because I have no relatives nearby and Indonesia has a twelve-hour time difference,” she says. “However, I manage to talk with my family at least once a week. Also the presence of supporting brothers and sisters in Christ here helped me a lot in adjusting to American culture.”
After graduation, Jane intends to pursue a master’s degree in economics and then return home and use what she is learning. “I would like to work in economics in Indonesia,” she says. “I feel that my country needs more economic development.”
So Jane studies to that end. “A unique thing about Covenant,” she says, “is that the classes are enriched with biblical insights into the field we’re learning. For example, I really want to develop Indonesia because so many people there are living in poverty and underdeveloped societies. I think that, by developing their economy in certain regions, people might have a better living standard. However, at Covenant I have learned that the point is not merely to help them pursue a better life. The main aim of all things is to make Christ preeminent. So even if I successfully make the people have more decent lives, it is useless without them knowing about Christ. In this way, Covenant is preparing me to work back home not only by equipping me with necessary skills, but also with a godly passion and purpose.”