Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world and is a diverse country poised to explode onto the world stage. With over 18,000 islands this country has something for everyone. Those wanting to gain more experience in finance or journalism can head to the capital city of Jakarta, one of the biggest hubs in South East Asia.

Or if you are interested in tourism then the islands of Bali or Flores will give you some great experience in a tropical paradise. Indonesia’s economy has strengthened in recent years and it is becoming a major economic and trade strength within the region. With an increasingly globalized economy undertaking an internship in Indonesia will give your CV the edge that will make you a stand out to potential employers.

Photo credits: Visions of Domino.

Journalism and Media: 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 South East 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 Indonesia 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 the capital of Jakarta with smaller offices located around the country. 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.

Finance: 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.

Tourism: One of the biggest industries in Indonesia is most certainly tourism. The islands of Bali and Flores are well known for being popular tourist destinations and provide some of the best intern opportunities. Internships are available in all areas of tourism but the most popular are in the marketing, hospitality and customer service. You could intern with a dive centre helping them with their online marketing or in a major hotel in the hospitality department. There is no limit to the possibilities of gaining tourism work experience in Indonesia.

When and Where to Look for an Internship

Internships are offered year round in Indonesia, 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 organisations 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 organisations in the field you want to gain experience in. You will potentially get much more hands on experience in a smaller organisation and your Indonesian skills will advance much quicker as well.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Indonesia 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 Indonesia 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 Indonesia 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’ can cost anywhere from 1 to 6 million Indonesian Rupiah a month depending on where you live.

Work Culture

Dress: The work culture in Indonesia 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. For women you will need to dress conservatively, more so if you are in a smaller town or regional area, which means making sure that your chest and shoulders are covered and that skirts or dresses reach past your knee. Many offices have a ‘batik’ day, where employees are encouraged to wear their traditional Indonesian print clothing on that day.

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. Some offices are partially closed on Friday afternoons for the mens 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.

Contributed by Morgan Pettersson

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