One of the largest hubs in Southeast Asia, Jakarta is a melting pot of investment, business and economic growth. Nicknamed ‘The Big Durian’ the opportunities in this vastly growing city are endless and it is the perfect place to undertake an internship. With many international businesses, media outlets, development and aid agencies placing their headquarters in Jakarta there is a wealth of intern opportunities available. With an increasingly globalized economy undertaking an internship in Jakarta will give your CV the edge that will make you a stand out to potential employers.Photo credits: Prayitno.
In the developed world, newspapers and media outlets are closing down almost daily, yet in the developing world many are opening. With English language publications becoming increasingly in demand throughout Southeast Asia, Indonesia has a growing English language news industry. Internships are available in print, online, radio and television. The journalism industry is super competitive, but having undertaken an internship in Jakarta will help you to develop fast thinking, resourceful skills that employers are always seeking.
Development and Aid
Many major international not for profits have headquarters or offices in Jakarta. With so many organizations working on environmental issues, human rights and social issues there will be an organization to suit your background. Interns are sought for a variety of positions such as policy, communications and project management as well as many more. Not only will you get an insight into the inner workings of an international organization, but you may be lucky enough to go on field trips or to big conferences.
The Indonesian economy is strengthening every day and is starting to emerge onto the international stage. Add to this the increase in trade in the region from Indonesia and you start to get an idea of how important Indonesia will be in the future to trade and the international economy. Financial internships can be found within big companies as well as with some of the major international banks. Not only will you be gaining experience in a vastly changing and growing economy, but you will also have plenty of chances to network.
When and Where to Look for an Internship
Internships are offered year round in Jakarta, with longer term ones taking up to a semester in length. For international intern seekers, the Southern Hemisphere summer months are when more internships are on offer. Many of the major organizations run internship programs but these are highly competitive and sought after. If you are looking to get a more authentic Indonesian internship experience, then start contacting some of the smaller organizations in the field you want to gain experience in. You will potentially get much more hands on experience in a smaller organization, and your Indonesian skills will advance much quicker as well.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Jakarta will vary based on where you want to live in the city and how much of a lavish life style you want to indulge in. An important thing to remember is that many expats based in Jakarta are on expat wages and can afford to eat out at the nice restaurants all the time.
Do not be afraid to decline an offer to eat out because as an intern you simply can not afford it. Most people staying in Jakarta for a short period of time, or even for long periods of time, live in a ‘rumah kost’ or a boarding house where you can rent a room. The size of the room and extras such as air-conditioning, hot water, TV etc vary from place to place and by price. The rent for a one bedroom apartment or ‘kost’ in the city center is over 6 million Indonesian Rupiah a month.
If you take a place out of the main city center to the south of Jakarta then the rent drops dramatically to around 2 million Indonesian Rupiah per month. Jakarta is notorious for its traffic jams so also weigh up the journey time and cost associated with where you decide to live. Potentially renting a room closer to the city center will be more expensive, but end up being cheaper if you can walk to the office.
- Cultural Etiquette: In Indonesian culture it is considered extremely rude to use your left hand when touching food, accepting a gift, greeting someone, or passing something to a work colleague. Make sure you always use your right hand.
- Dress: The work culture in Jakarta is very formal and you will be expected to present neatly and conservatively. For men this means a collared shirt and tie, unless you wear a traditional Indonesian ‘Batik’ print shirt. While Jakarta is much more multicultural than the smaller cities and towns in Indonesia for women, you will still need to dress conservatively, which means making sure that your chest and shoulders are covered and that skirts or dresses reach until your knee. Many offices have a ‘batik’ day, where employees are encouraged to wear their traditional Indonesian print clothing on that day.
- Networking: Indonesians love to network and Jakarta is the perfect place for you to hone your networking skills. Always take someone business card if they offer it, and try to have some made up of your own as it is seen as a sign of respect to accept and reciprocate cards. Some offices are partially closed on Friday afternoons for the men's Friday prayers and many offices will open Saturday morning because of this.
- Work and Labor Laws: Internships in Indonesia tend to be unpaid. There are no special laws regarding internships in Indonesia.