Indonesia Internship Program

My volunteering exchange in Surabaya, Indonesia (through AIESEC) helped me to grow into a mature and more confident individual. The day I was leaving, anyone could spot the anxiety on my face- even the immigration officer expressed his concern. I was nervous as travelling internationally-that too alone- was an entirely new experience for me. The envy that came with not being able to go home during the holidays, unlike my other friends, did not help things either. But once I reached there all my apprehensions vanished. My host family, a few local project volunteers and the OC president came to receive me. In my host family’s house, I had a roommate (who was from Vietnam) and she made my stay in Indonesia much more enjoyable. My group had 3 other exchange participants. From the next day, our work started. We had daily meetings with one of the government’s committees and they used to give us information regarding HIV/AIDS and the status of the disease in their country. We also met doctors, who informed us about the medical and psychological aspects of the disease. One of the best parts of the project was to meet the patients, interact with them and sometimes we never even knew that the person we are talking to is the patient himself. We also conducted awareness campaigns in schools and residential areas-informing the people all about the disease and ways to prevent it. This was a great experience as we were on the other side of the classroom Wary of the experiences of dull Jack, we had fun too- learning the local language of “Bahasa” and the famous Indonesian art form “Batik”. Daily after work, we used to go out together: either for lunch or dinner and try the authentic delicacies. We had mini trips to Yogyakarta and Malang. There was a particularly memorable experience: the Global Village Day. Volunteers from 22 countries were grouped and given booths - on India’s, we had a huge crowd just for the FOOD. Then every country had to give a performance which depicts their culture and everyone went wild watching ours and later joined us. Indonesians have a great craze for Indian culture- this was one day which I will remember even in the last days of my life: because representing my country was indeed a moment of pride for me. Before I even realised, my time in this land was over. These 5 weeks gave me the memories which make me smile every day; there is not even a day when I don’t remember them. This experience is special to me because it taught me to smile no matter what, and made me independent. Although it sounds very melodramatic, I was nervous when I was sitting at the airport again. Only this time it was because I knew when I returned, studies were waiting for me and I just wanted to run back to the people to whom I just bade goodbye. These words can only express a fraction of what I experienced, but memories of my trip are infinite.