At 18, Ayeshadira Putri is doing the work of a diplomat or statesman.
She came to University City from Indonesia through a one-year exchange program created by the U.S. State Department after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
"I am here as a little ambassador representing my country," said Putri. (Her first name is pronounced Eye-yeh-sha-DIRA, with a rolling R sound.)
The job for the 103 Indonesian students visiting the United States this school year through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program is to help Americans better understand Muslims.
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The exchange students also learn about their host country.
Putri attends school and plays varsity soccer at Vance High School. She usually wears a hijab, coverings for modesty that leave only the hands and face exposed.
She talks with students and teachers about any number of subjects, aware that her foreign homeland and manner of dress make her stand out.
"The second most question I get here is, 'Do you have malls in Indonesia?'" said Putri. "The most common question is, 'What does the hijab mean to you?'"
Putri is outgoing, confident and at ease in conversations. With that kind of personality, she has found it easy to live some 10,000 miles from home and to talk with classmates about life in the Indonesian archipelago, which includes more than 17,500 islands.
The Southeast Asian republic is the world's third most-populous democracy, with more than 238 million people.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, yet Buddhists, Christians, Confucians, Hindus and others also practice among Indonesia's 33 provinces.
Putri talks of the great diversity in those provinces, where various cultures have distinctive foods, dances, songs and languages.
Teaching others about Indonesia has made her appreciate it more.
In Sumatra, where her family lives, students don't ride to school on camels, as some students have asked. They ride in buses and cars. They can eat at McDonald's or KFC, although perhaps not exactly the same menu.
Putri's hijab is a requirement of the Quran, the holy book for Muslims. Islam teaches women to cover themselves for protection from unwanted attention. Putri said it works here in America, too.
She finds that classwork in America is easier. Indonesian students are more formal when they speak to teachers and elders in general.
Her English has improved tremendously since she arrived for the school year. She also believes she has become more confident.
"She just brings a U.N. (United Nations) kind of feel to the school," said Judith Osho, a senior counselor at Vance. "She has become very involved. She plays sports. She's in the choir. The students just love her."
Putri hopes to become a cardiologist and one day return to Indonesia to serve in rural communities, as her father did. He's an obstetrician and gynecologist.
Perhaps most importantly, Putri wants to tell her peers she does not believe Islam was the reason al-Qaida suicide bombers crashed a commercial jet into each of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, killing 2,752 people. At least not Islam as she knows it.
"In our Quran there is no sentence that allows terrorism," Putri said. "We Muslims don't agree with terrorism. They claim they are Muslim. They make the name of Muslims bad."