Critical Language Scholarship Program | Alex Miller
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Alex Miller

John Alexan­der (Alex) Miller is an alum­nus of the 2015 CLS Indone­sian pro­gram in Malang, Indone­sia. He grew up in Gig Har­bor, Wash­ing­ton, and cur­rent­ly lives in Utah where he works as an Advanced Super­vi­sor at Vail Resorts Retail. He has both stud­ied and taught Indone­sian at Brigham Young Uni­ver­si­ty and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin – Madi­son, and he has interned with the U.S. Depart­ment of State in Mada­gas­car. When he’s not study­ing or research­ing ISIS recruit­ment rhetoric, he is an avid ski­er and cyclist.

Why Indone­sian?

Pri­or to CLS, I served a two-year mis­sion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints in Indone­sia, where I lived in Tangerang, Solo, Surabaya, and Medan. Dur­ing my mis­sion, I fell in love with Indone­sian cul­ture and peo­ple and want­ed to make Indone­sian a larg­er part of my life. Pro­fes­sion­al­ly, I also want to use Indone­sian to fur­ther nation­al secu­ri­ty direc­tives; I hope to obtain an MA in nation­al secu­ri­ty or inter­na­tion­al rela­tions in the future and, ulti­mate­ly, work as a For­eign Ser­vice Officer.

Learn­ing more than just language

My time in Indone­sia has helped me to tru­ly under­stand peo­ple and cul­tures beyond my own. I espe­cial­ly learned a lot about the cul­tures of young adult col­lege stu­dents, which has shaped my under­stand­ing of the new gen­er­a­tions of Indone­sians and has helped me appre­ci­ate the sig­nif­i­cant poten­tial that the new gen­er­a­tions have to shape Indone­sian society.

A glob­al family

One of my favorite expe­ri­ences was the CLS excur­sion to Mt. Bro­mo. We drove up the day before and spent the day in the coun­try­side with the native farm­ers. The next morn­ing we woke ear­ly to take a jeep excur­sion to cross a desert, viewed a morn­ing sun­rise over the moun­tains, climbed the ridge of the Bro­mo vol­cano, and sang Indone­sian songs with our lan­guage part­ners all night long in front of a camp­fire. It was such a fan­tas­tic bond­ing expe­ri­ence for all of us and helped cre­ate a true sense of uni­ty and love. I loved spend­ing extra time with my lan­guage part­ners; they began to feel like fam­i­ly through­out the pro­gram, and we have become even bet­ter friends since I left.

In a word…

My favorite Indone­sian word is alham­dullilah, which is an Indone­sian adap­ta­tion of the Ara­bic phrase, Thanks be to God.” This phrase is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant because of the large Islam­ic pop­u­la­tion in Indonesia.

A taste of home

Though I always rec­om­mend fried rice from any­where off the street in Indone­sia, a nice place to cure home­sick­ness is called Waro­eng Steak. It pro­vides some Amer­i­can-style foods (steak and potatoes).

Words of wisdom

Jump into the Indone­sian cul­ture with both feet! By being will­ing to try new things, you will fall in love more quick­ly with Indone­sian cul­ture and people.


Alumni Profiles

Alex Miller
Alex Miller
Indonesian 2015
Malang, Indonesia

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Posted Date

May 03, 2016