Our time together in Indonesia is almost here. Our first month together will serve as a springboard to launch us into living and learning alongside each other in Yogyakarta. We’ll spend time getting to know each other and Indonesia, setting goals, gaining skills, and starting to examine different threads of knowledge that we’ll use to weave an intricate blanket of knowledge throughout the year. Below is a brief overview of what our first month together will look like!
August 29: Departure from JFK Airport on Singapore Airlines 25 at 8:55 pm.
August 31: Arrive in Jakarta at 8:25 am. We’ll pass through immigration, grab our bags, and check in to our last flight until we reach our destination. After a one hour flight, we’ll arrive in Yogyakarta (also spelled Jogjakarta) for lunch and drive to Kedung Miri.
September 1-10: In-country Orientation Begins! Our orientation will take place in multiple locations in the Special Region of Yogyakarta. We’ll spend the first two days unwinding from our long journey in Kedung Miri, a small hamlet surrounded by electric green rice paddies in the southeast corner of Yogyakarta.
From Kedung Miri, we set off on a 2-day bike trip to really stretch out our plane legs. We’ll visit sites around Jogja, including ancient temples, verdant rice fields, local markets, and maybe even a beautiful lake to take a dip and cool off.
We’ll then settle into our second orientation location, closer to Mt. Merapi, one of Indonesia’s many volcanoes, for about six days. Rising like a sentinel over the rice fields, it is said that the sacred volcano Mt. Merapi is the source of a line of power that connects the Northern reaches of Yogyakarta to the gods of the sea off the southern coast.
Our orientation will give us the tools to effectively engage in Indonesia. We’ll also spend good time together as a group getting to know each other better and learning how we can best support and guide each other through this amazing 9-month experience.
Activities during orientation will include:
September 11: Take a night train (about 8 hours) from Yogyakarta to Jakarta to start our journey out of Java.
September 12: Fly from Jakarta to Silangit, located on the island of Sumatra. We’ll take a short drive to the village of Nagasaribu where you’ll meet your first homestay families.
September 13 – 22: Homestays and Service! Nagasaribu is located near Lake Toba in a major coffee growing region. Our hosts will teach us about the Batak culture and adat (traditional laws) and we’ll literally drink in learning about the global coffee supply chain as we hear from the people who supply Starbucks with some of the most delicious beans in the world. Our hosts are extremely excited to welcome us and have requested that we teach English at their local elementary and middle schools, as well as visit their government offices to learn more about the community. We’ll also have a chance to day trek to Lake Toba and see more of the beauty of the region.
September 23 – 25: We’ll learn about permaculture by visiting Pak Nelson’s farm and then settling into Kenny’s farm for a few days. This is the perfect setting to talk about food systems and environmental issues affecting not just Indonesia, but the entire world. Here we’ll help out with whatever farm tasks are most needed and learn how to do one of the most important things on this planet – plant a seed, nourish it, and let it grow.
September 26: Fly from Silangit to Yogyakarta – Our final destination and soon-to-be permanent home! We’ll arrive in the afternoon and stay in a hotel nearby the Program House in Kota Gede for a few nights.
September 27 – 29: Our group will have a short “re-orientation” to get acquainted with our new home. Between Mt. Merapi and the Queen of the South lies the palace of Jogja’s Sultan, a beloved figure who embodies the perspective of a people who practice a form of Islam that absorbed elements of early Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms. A dynamic center of learning, activism, and the arts, modern and ancient culture mingle on Yogya’s streets, where a diverse community from all over Indonesia mix in a social world informed by the Javanese philosophy of living. Yogyakarta is the the cultural and artistic heart of Java. Home to many universities, including the oldest in Indonesia and the country’s premiere art institute, there is no place better to experience art and culture. The ritual crafts of the gamelan orchestra, Javanese dance, shadow puppet theatre, batik making, and more continue to be practiced in the community as they have been for centuries.
September 29 – 30: In the afternoon of the 29th, students will meet their new homestay families! Over the next few weeks students will visit and choose a service placement, dive into intensive Indonesian and Javanese language lessons, and start getting better acquainted with Yogyakarta through guest speakers, excursions, and instructor and student-led activities.
We’ll be exposed to lessons that will become important scaffolding for understanding the political, historical, and environmental complexity of Indonesia. We’ll have opportunities to explore our new city with our homestay families and as a group.