Outside My Comfort Zone

Bina Antarbudaya
4 min readJul 5, 2023

Jouvinta Nurfatima — KL-YES to USA YP 22/23

Hi, everyone! I’m Jouvinta Nurfatima and you can call me Jouvinta. I’m a KL-YES 22/23 student placed in Upland, Indiana. My time there has taught me a lot of things; including stepping out of my comfort zone. I have to admit that there’s a reason why it’s so hard to step outside of one’s comfort zone, but I also have to admit that there IS indeed a reason why people keep telling you to step out of it. Trying new things is a way to liven up your life and color your world.

“We should do this, Jouvinta.” is a sentence that my double placement-slash-roommate slash my newly found sister, Naya from Jordan, often says to me. She is a very active and cheerful girl, always ready for a new adventure. We are two completely different people. I enjoy reading quietly inside the house. Meanwhile, she prefers biking around the town to spend her time. Most of the time, I will look at her and say, “Nope, I am not going to do it.” Of course, I end up doing it most of the time.

I tried so many new things during my year there. I have never had any interest in theater. I used to think that they were boring and dull. My first play was Anne the Green Gables and I wasn’t even in the play. I applied to be a backstage crew, away from the crowd. My view towards theater then slightly changed. When it was announced that the next play would be a musical of The Addams Family, I was more than just excited. At first, I was very hesitant. I even approached my choir teacher, asking her if she thinks I’d be able to do it. She told me that I can do it. After a couple days of hesitating, I decided to sign up for it.

After the Play with a Friend

Theater was tiring. We had practice every Tuesday evening and Saturday morning to noon. We learned the choreographies, the dialogues, the cues, the songs, and the blocking. Even so, I really enjoyed it as I got to know more people. Days passed rather quickly after I joined the theater. I watched the countdown on my phone change from one hundred something to the 90s and 80s and so on.

Cast and Crew Party

A few months after joining theater, my friends and I also decided to join Track and Field. It never crossed the younger me that I would join a sport. It was such a crazy idea, I can’t even run for more than five minutes without coughing my lungs out. But I did anyway. Thus, I had track practice every day and theater practice every Tuesday and Saturday. Tuesday was very crazy as school turned into my second home as I had track practice after school and theater practice in the evening. We finally had our play from March 9th to March 11th and our track season ended in May. To be honest, I did them with “If I can’t go on, I will quit.” mindset. I never think of quitting as shameful. I tried my best to go on with that mindset and I succeeded in getting through it.

Those days were tiring and hard, but I am glad that I did them. I gained so many valuable lessons, memories, and friends! I will always be grateful for my host family as they are very supportive. I will always remember how my host parents always encourage me to try new things and tell me it’s okay when I’m feeling down. I can never stop thanking my friends who helped me get through all of these. Without them, I will never be able to get through it.

My exchange year has taught me that stepping out of my comfort zone is not really a bad idea. Yes, there are many instances where I can fail, but so what? Isn’t it better to try then bail out later than never trying at all? At least you will know why it doesn’t work out for you.

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Bina Antarbudaya

The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs