Bekerja Sama: A Summer Internship with GK Indonesia

by Eddy Trang

15 Aug 2017

My internship experience with GK Indonesia this summer was one that I am very grateful for. While encountering many challenging moments, particularly those relating to language and cultural barriers while working with staff members and local Rusunawa community residents, it was still a very enlightening and productive experience.

I learned about the complications and challenges of working in an NGO that deals directly with community members. I learned about different ways to approach youth in particularly poor urban areas and about what really matters to them, such as school and having enough social activities. Most importantly, I gained a better understanding of the various levels and factors that can affect development at the community level. Decisions at the board level and even the implementation process undertaken by staff members significantly affect the outcome of community development projects. Through interning for GK Indonesia, I learned of the value and importance of 'bekerja sama," meaning teamwork and working together for a common cause.

Working with the GK staff members and the local leaders of the Rusunawas, I directly saw Indonesia's culture of "Gotong Royong"-a concept that explains the idea of several groups of people working together to achieve a shared objective that provides communal value. The sprit of communal work was alive and strong within the GK communities and because of this, we as GK interns were able to accomplish many tasks together with the organization and the community members.

Lastly, I would like to say thank you and express my sincere gratitude to everyone I encountered this summer. As with my previous experiences in Indonesia, the environment we were welcomed into was everything I expected and more. The immense warmth, friendliness, and positive attitudes of everyone we encountered from the founders of GK Indonesia, Ed and Maricel, those at JIS, YPO, GK staff members, all the way down to the local Rusunawa residents, all inspired us to work hard everyday and to help contribute to the empowerment of underprivileged youth in the Rusunawa communities.

Eddy Trang is a second year post graduate student from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is concentrating in Southeast Asian studies and is pursuing a career in international development.