Name: Grace Orange
Course: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science
Currently: Working for the Australian Bureau of Statistics
Program: Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM)
Site: With a head office in Jakarta, YUM have run health, education and community development projects for the rural villages of Cipanas, West Java, and Bukit Batu, Central Kalimantan, for the last 40 years.
Duration: 3 months
What was your internship like?
The internship was more than a full time role in an international organisation — I was immersed in a completely foreign culture bustling with life and a chaos that actually has some kind of order once you get used to it. I stepped off the plane into the tropical climate of Jogjakarta, where I completed a two-week language and culture course and met my student buddy, Dede. The window in my room opened to a balcony where geckos gathered at night, and from which you could see the mosque across the road where a call to prayer is sung five times a day. The people in Jogja more than exceeded their reputation for friendliness, and were excited to share their culture with me.
Likewise, when I arrived at YUM in Jakarta, I was welcomed by a team of enterprising and altruistic people who helped me understand what they did and my part in it. They were easy to work with, conversed with me every day over lunch at the kitchen table (with my supervisor helping to translate), helped me book my daily ojek (scooter style taxi service) for the commute home through the macet (traffic jam) and went out of
their way to show me both of the remote villages in which they work. A number of times, they drove me the 5+ hours through the lush, rural landscape of West Java to YUM in Cipanas, and I also had the privilege of flying to Bukit Batu in Central Kalimantan.
Outside of the regular 9-5, I lived in a high-rise student apartment building overlooking the megalopolis, along with other Australian students I was connected with via International Internships, who organised networking events and weekend trips for us to attend together. We’d navigate the uneven footpaths through which massive trees had burst, past tangled masses of power lines and street vendors who keep calm and bakar sate no matter what, to have nasi goreng or cap cay at our favourite local restaurants. For our laundry needs, we frequented a shop that also offered hairdressing and tattoo services. Despite wild differences between this new environment and my home in Melbourne, the culture shock I’d been warned about never eventuated, and I can’t wait to go back.
Here’s a video of Grace talking about her internship and the opportunities it opened up for her:
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