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Peace Corps History in Indonesia
Forty-five physical education Volunteers served in Indonesia from 1963-1964 working with Indonesians in advancing their sports programs. The program was brought to a close in 1965 as a result of political upheaval and concerns for the safety and security of the Volunteers*...
In October 2006, the Government of Indonesia invited Peace Corps to send an assessment team to Indonesia for the purpose of reestablishing a program. A full assessment was completed in February 2007 and was followed up with a safety and security assessment in the fall of that year. The respective Governments signed a new agreement regarding the establishment of a Peace Corps program in December 2009.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Healthcare & Safety
Peace Corps provides all PCVs with adequate healthcare during training and throughout service. Upon arrival in Indonesia, the Peace Corps Medical Officer will equip you with a medical kit (a list will be posted soon) that can be refilled with anything you need at any time. There is no need to bring basic medicine from the States.
During training and throughout service you will participate in a number of detailed medical and safety sessions that will prepare you a variety of situations.
Cultural and Work-Related Challenges
Diversity in both different site placements and Volunteers’ personalities guarantees that each PCV has a unique, in-country experience. That said, both staff and Volunteers respect each trainee’s right to “figure out” Indonesia for him or herself, to write his or her own story. The list of “cultural and occupational challenges” included here, then, has been simplified. Its contents target only some of the broadest obstacles we face as Indo PCVs.
- “Jam Karet” (rubber time)
- Conservative dress expectations both in and outside of school
- Lack of privacy
- Lack of independence sufficient to perform everyday chores and activities (more so for women)
- Frequent, unexpected class cancellations
- Teaching counterparts unaccustomed to participatory learning techniques
- Poorly written textbooks
- Large, multilevel classes
- High expectations from administrators and counterparts
- Limited access to teaching resources (photocopiers, basic supplies, etc.)
Advice (will expand in the coming months!): Pack minimally. Don't be too surprised as you will be able to find most things you need in Surabaya. If you need items from a special brand or company, you may have a little trouble but getting items shipped over is not too difficult, though fairly expensive. It is suggested that you buy high quality and durable items in the States as foreign brands can be more expensive overseas.
Before you purchase some major items, be sure to check out discounts that are offered to Peace Corps Volunteers, this can save you a lot of money!
Keep in mind, you have an 80lb weight limit and you will be charged at the airport if you exceed this.
Clothes: Many of you, male and female, will be given a uniform by your school. Knowing this may reduce the amount of “teaching” clothes you feel you need to bring.
- Tailoring is very cheap here, so don’t be afraid to pack lightly for service and plan on having some things made once you arrive.
- Indonesian teachers dress very well; don’t expect to wear t-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops to school.
- Higher-quality clothes which can withstand two years of hand-washing are preferred. You’ll also appreciate clothes made of lightweight and/or fast-drying cloth.
- You can find most clothing you need here, though average (or above) sized Americans may have difficulty and will need to get things made, especially shoes.
- Leather bags or jackets may mold quickly here. It's true.
- Female volunteers comment that women shouldn’t bother bringing anything low cut as you’re unlikely to wear it within your communities.