The archipelago of more than 16,000 islands known as Indonesia has been fought over, colonised, loved and lost many times throughout history. This group of islands has been invaded for control of its strategic location as a trading hub between East and West, with favourable sea currents and calm waters; colonised for its natural resources of spices, minerals and oil; and claimed as the centrepoint of development of the many Asia-Pacific cultures.
Indonesia’s civil society is known for its energy and fearlessness in fighting for human and political rights, as well as for its creativity. It has an almost unrivalled artistic diversity and commitment to innovation, with a growing culture of entrepreneurship and 170 million internet users.
Indonesia is a dynamic country of 260 million people and is one of the fastest growing and most promising stories of economic development of the 21st Century. The rapid transformation that it has undergone since its independence from Dutch colonial rule in the 1940s has brought a fair share of challenges, but Indonesia is definitely a place on the move and has an amazing buzz!
Our programs take place in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, North Sumatra and Bali.
Whichever way you look at it, Jakarta is the perfect place to undertake your internationally-focused internship.
It is the capital of Indonesia, with the heads of many international government, non-government and corporate offices based there. Every week you will have the opportunity to attend briefings, talks, exhibitions, networking events and social gatherings. There’s even an Aussie Rules football league! While the city is facing the problems that come with rapid growth, such as pollution and the infamous traffic, it also has the energy (and hipster cafes) of a major world city.
Yogyakarta, commonly known as Jogja, is the cultural, university and food capital of Indonesia (although some of the many other regions of Indonesia might disagree). People come from all over the country, and the world, to trek up the windy peaks of one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mt. Merapi, which towers over the city. Jogja is both relaxed and bustling; both historical and in the grips of a period of major development. Yogyakarta is the only region of Indonesia to retain a Sultan – a revered figure who is followed almost religiously by his subjects. The region served as the Indonesian capital for a time while the Indonesians were fighting for independence from the Dutch and still retains some autonomy from the national government as recognition of its service during the colonial period.
Yogyakarta is a hub of NGOs, community groups, artists’ collectives, traditional crafts and amazing coffee. It’s part-hippy, part-hipster, part growing economic hub and is generally just a great place to be!
Sumatra is Indonesia’s biggest island and often makes the news for all the wrong reasons: forest fires, tsunamis, palm oil – yes, they are all in Sumatra. However, it’s so large and is also home to some of Indonesia’s most incredible natural wonders and cultural diversity (and more food!). In North Sumatra, where our environmental programs run, you can find one of the world’s largest national parks, the Gunung Leuser National Park – the only place on Earth where orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers still roam together in the wild. Where there are endangered animals, there is also a great number of NGOs doing amazing things, and some less so. We work with bona-fide grass-roots NGOs, born out of the villages of North Sumatra. They combat the every day problems of encroaching palm oil plantations and the conflict between humans and animals dealing with the ever-present reduction of their habitat.
Bali is the fragile beauty of the archipelago. From its first colonisers to today it has enchanted travellers from all over the world such that they can’t stay away. A majority Hindu island, it has not been sheltered from the regional and international power plays that have marked Indonesia’s history, coming under the control of Javanese, Hindu and European rule at various times. Its traditions reflect the diverse influences of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism, and more and more of Western culture too. The Bali of today is a melting pot of wannabe yogis, schoolies, holiday makers, ancient traditions, incredible NGOs, innovative businesses, creativity, surfers and simple Indonesian everyday life. Its infrastructure and economy has benefitted greatly from the huge influx of Western tourists but its environment, and many say culture, has suffered greatly. With poor restrictions on water-usage or garbage disposal, predictions are of a major water shortage by 2020.
Malaysia’s history has been determined by its strategic position and its abundant natural environment. Archaeological evidence points to its importance as a trade and commercial centre from as long ago as the Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of the Bujang Valley in 300AD; to the Srivijayan maritime power; to the kingdom of Melaka, which took control of the Malaysian waterways and raised money taxing foreign traders; to the European powers of Portugal, Netherlands and Britain, who tussled over monopolies on the export of precious spices.
Malaysia’s diversity is world-renowned and its food, architecture and traditional arts and crafts definitely show it. Politically and socially, many challenges still remain, with civil and political rights remaining a sensitive issue.
Having gained independence from the British in 1957, Malaysia’s economy has grown consistently since then – and it shows no sign of slowing down. Demographic indicators now approach those of developed nations, as do its infrastructure and attitude towards foreign investment. As the country’s economic rise continues and it gains ground on the world stage, the development of this country as a world power will be a story to follow.
Our programs take place in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur, or KL, the capital of Malaysia, is a cultural melting-pot of around 8 million people. The city displays an amazing mix of its history as a small mining town and its current position as one of the most modern and influential cities in South East Asia. In KL, you will find yourself feeling like a local in no time, negotiating the transport system and attending networking and social events around the city. KL is the commercial centre of Australia’s largest Southeast Asian trading partner, so it’s the perfect place to begin your journey into a cross-border career.