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THE PEACE CORPS WELCOMES YOU TO

Indonesia

A PEACE CORPS PUBLICATION FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS

January 2016

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MAP OF INDONESIA

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A WELCOME LETTER
Greetings,
Congratulations on having been invited to join Peace Corps/Indonesia!

Since the agreement was signed in December 2009 to re-establish a Peace Corps presence in Indonesia, a
dedicated group of Volunteers and staff has been hard at work building the program here. If you are
excited by the thought of helping to create something new and accepting of the uncertainty that goes with
it, this may be just the place for you for the next two years.

The first six groups of Volunteers to serve in Indonesia in over 45 years have set a high standard for
Peace Corps service in Indonesia. They are looking forward to welcoming and supporting you during
training and your service. At the same time, they will be looking to you to build upon the work they have
started and to uphold the standard they are setting in reference to what it means to be a Peace
Corps/Indonesia Volunteer. As staff members, we will expect the same.

The staff in Indonesia is committed to providing the best safety and security, medical, training,
programmatic, and administrative support we can. At the same time, as the Peace Corps has for more than
50 years, we will look to you to be as independent and self-reliant as possible. During pre-service training
(PST), you will begin to learn Bahasa Indonesia (and an introduction to Javanese, Madurese, or
Sundanese) and to adapt to the culture, which will include living with an Indonesian family. You will
develop the community entry skills needed for your assignment, undergo technical training, and discover
how to maintain your health and reduce safety and security risks during your service.

It is important to realize that PST is a time for both you and the Peace Corps staff to assess your
suitability to serve in Indonesia. A two-year commitment should not be entered casually and is one you
may need to re-affirm in many ways during PST and, in fact, throughout your service. In fairness to our
local partners and to safeguard the reputation of the organization, we do periodically make the decision
that a trainee or Volunteer is not suited to serve here and arrange for their return home. Often, a trainee
will reach the same conclusion on his or her own.

As you may have already heard, the extent to which you become an accepted and valued colleague and
community member depends largely on you. If you come with an open mind, a warm heart, and a good
sense of humor, you will do well. Although we are here to provide support, you are the ultimate architect
and builder of a successful Peace Corps service.

Please read carefully these welcome memos as part of your preparation for living and working in
Indonesia as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Nina Favor
Country Director

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Welcome Letter ......................................................................................................................................... 3
Core Expectations for Peace Corps Volunteers ............................................................................................ 6
Peace Corps/Indonesia History and Programs .............................................................................................. 7
Peace Corps Programming in Indonesia ................................................................................................... 7
Country Overview: Indonesia at a Glance .................................................................................................... 8
History ...................................................................................................................................................... 8
Government .............................................................................................................................................. 9
Economy ................................................................................................................................................... 9
People and Culture.................................................................................................................................. 10
Environment ........................................................................................................................................... 10
Resources for Further Information.............................................................................................................. 12
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle ................................................................................................ 14
Communications ..................................................................................................................................... 14
Housing and Site Location ..................................................................................................................... 14
Living Allowance and Money Management .......................................................................................... 15
Food and Diet ......................................................................................................................................... 15
Transportation......................................................................................................................................... 16
Geography and Climate .......................................................................................................................... 17
Social Activities...................................................................................................................................... 17
Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior .................................................................................................... 17
Personal Safety ....................................................................................................................................... 18
Rewards and Frustrations ....................................................................................................................... 18
Peace Corps Training .................................................................................................................................. 20
Overview of Pre-Service Training .......................................................................................................... 20
Technical Training.................................................................................................................................. 20
Language Training.................................................................................................................................. 21
Cross-Cultural Training .......................................................................................................................... 21
Health Training ....................................................................................................................................... 21
Safety and Security Training .................................................................................................................. 22
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service..................................................................................... 22
Health Issues in Indonesia ...................................................................................................................... 23
Helping You Stay Healthy ...................................................................................................................... 23
Maintaining Your Health ........................................................................................................................ 23
Women’s Health Information ................................................................................................................. 25
Your Peace Corps Medical Kit ............................................................................................................... 25
Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist................................................................................................ 26

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Safety and Security in Depth ...................................................................................................................... 28
Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk .............................................................................................. 28
Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime ............................................................................................ 30
Support from Staff .................................................................................................................................. 30
Office of Victim Advocacy .................................................................................................................... 30
Crime Data for Indonesia ....................................................................................................................... 31
Volunteer Safety Support in Indonesia ................................................................................................... 31
Diversity and Inclusion Overview .............................................................................................................. 33
Diversity and Inclusion at Your Site ...................................................................................................... 33
Cross-Cultural Considerations ................................................................................................................ 34
What Might a Volunteer Face? ............................................................................................................... 34
Possible Gender Role Issues .............................................................................................................. 34
Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ............................................................................................. 35
Possible Issues for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer, Ally (LGBTQA)
Volunteers .......................................................................................................................................... 36
Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities ................................................................................ 37
Possible Issues for Volunteer Couples ............................................................................................... 37
Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ........................................................................................... 38
Possible Issues for 50+ Volunteers .................................................................................................... 40
Frequently Asked Questions ....................................................................................................................... 42
Packing List ................................................................................................................................................ 44
Pre-Departure Checklist .............................................................................................................................. 46
Contacting Peace Corps Headquarters ........................................................................................................ 48

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CORE EXPECTATIONS FOR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS
In working toward fulfilling the Peace Corps mission of promoting world peace and friendship, as a
trainee and Volunteer, you are expected to do the following:

1. Prepare your personal and professional life to make a commitment to serve abroad for a full term
of 27 months
2. Commit to improving the quality of life of the people with whom you live and work and, in doing
so, share your skills, adapt them, and learn new skills as needed
3. Serve where the Peace Corps asks you to go, under conditions of hardship if necessary, and with
the flexibility needed for effective service
4. Recognize that your successful and sustainable development work is based on the local trust and
confidence you build by living in, and respectfully integrating yourself into, your host community
and culture
5. Recognize that you are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your personal conduct and
professional performance
6. Engage with host country partners in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning, and respect
7. Work within the rules and regulations of the Peace Corps and the local and national laws of the
country where you serve
8. Exercise judgment and personal responsibility to protect your health, safety, and well-being and
that of others
9. Recognize that you will be perceived in your host country and community as a representative of
the people, cultures, values, and traditions of the United States of America
10. Represent responsibly the people, cultures, values, and traditions of your host country and
community to people in the United States both during and following your service

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PEACE CORPS/INDONESIA HISTORY AND PROGRAMS
History of the Peace Corps in Indonesia
Forty-six physical education Volunteers served in Indonesia from 1963–65, 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 the Peace Corps to send an assessment team to the
country for the purpose of re-establishing a program. Assessments were completed in 2007, and the
respective governments signed a new agreement regarding the establishment of a Peace Corps program in
December 2009, with an initial project in English teaching and teacher training.

Public schools in Indonesia are under the direction of either the Ministry of Education and Culture
(MoEC) or the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). After visiting many interested schools in spring
2010, Peace Corps/Indonesia, with support from the government of Indonesia, determined that Volunteer
placement in both types of schools would be appropriate.

Peace Corps Programming in Indonesia


In March 2010, Indonesia welcomed its first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in 45 years. Since then,
additional groups of Volunteers in increasing numbers have come to Indonesia each year.

There are many similarities between “state” schools (MoEC) and madrasah (MoRA): both are co-
educational with a Monday through Saturday schedule, both are obliged to cover the same national
curriculum (including religion as a subject area), and all graduating ninth- and 12th-grade students are
expected to take the same national exam. Differences include how the schools are managed (i.e.,
centralized versus decentralized) and the quantity of religious instruction.

Regardless of the type of host school, Volunteers co-teach seventh- and/or eighth- and 10th- and/or 11th-
grade English, work with colleagues to improve English communication skills and teaching methods, and
lead extracurricular and community activities of all kinds. Currently Volunteers are placed in either East
or West Java. In future years, the English teaching program will grow to other provinces in Indonesia.
Peace Corps/Indonesia is also exploring areas of need and partnership that could sustain a second sector
of programming.

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COUNTRY OVERVIEW: INDONESIA AT A GLANCE
History
Historians believe that Indonesia was linked with the Asian mainland during the Pleistocene period (4
million B.C.). This period was also related to the first appearance of the hominids, what is today called
“Java Man,” who inhabited Indonesia as early as 2 million to 500,000 years ago. Java Man is a short
name for Pithecanthropus Erectus, a human-like species whose fossilized remains were discovered on the
island of Java by the scientist Eugene Dubois.

Much later, Indonesia developed many well-organized kingdoms. These kingdoms were ruled by
indigenous Rajas who embraced the Hindu and Buddhist religions. These kingdoms lasted from ancient
history to the 15th century.

Gujarati and Persian merchants who embraced Islam started to visit Indonesia in the 13th century. Along
with trade, they introduced Islam to the Indonesian Hindus, particularly in the coastal areas of Java. Islam
then spread further east within the archipelago.

European influence in Indonesia began when the Portuguese, in search of spices, landed in 1512. Both the
Portuguese and the Spanish spread Christianity in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Dutch established an
organized merchant trade in country called Dutch East India Company in 1602 to tap the rich spice
territories.

In 1814, the British came to Indonesia. During the Napoleonic wars in Europe, Indonesia fell under the
rule of the British East India Company. After the fall of Napoleon, the British and Dutch signed a
convention agreeing that Dutch colonial possessions dating from 1803 onward should be returned to the
Dutch administration. Thus, the Indonesian archipelago once again became a Dutch possession in 1815.

Throughout the period of colonization, Indonesians had been fighting for their independence. This
struggle, which started in the 1600s, climaxed with a proclamation of independence in 1945, and
continued for a few more years.

When World War II broke out, the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies after the surrender of the
Dutch colonial army in March 1942. Three years later, on August 14, 1945, the Japanese surrendered to
the Allied Forces. To Indonesia’s leaders, the power vacuum in Jakarta looked like an open window of
opportunity to proclaim their independence. On August 17, 1945, Indonesian national leaders Sokarno
and Dr. Mohamad Hatta proclaimed Indonesia’s independence on behalf of the Indonesian people.

The Dutch attempted to re-establish their rule over the next 5 years, with these efforts ending in 1949.
Shortly thereafter, Indonesia adopted a new constitution, providing for a parliamentary system of
government in which the executive was chosen by, and accountable to, parliament. Parliament was
divided among many political parties before and after the country’s first nationwide election in 1955, and
stable governmental coalitions were difficult to achieve. The role of Islam in Indonesia was debated.
Soekarno defended a secular state based on Pancasila, five principles of the state philosophy—
monotheism, humanitarianism, national unity, representative democracy by consensus, and social
justice—codified in the 1945 constitution. Although he remained president, Soekarno transferred key
political and military powers to General Suharto in March 1966.

Officially succeeding Soekarno in 1968, President Suharto proclaimed a “New Order” in Indonesian
politics and dramatically shifted foreign and domestic policies away from the course set in Soekarno’s
final years. The New Order established economic rehabilitation and development as its primary goals and

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pursued its policies through an administrative structure dominated by the military but with advice from
Western-educated economic experts.

In mid-1997, Indonesia suffered from the Asian financial and economic crisis, accompanied by the worst
drought in 50 years and falling prices for commodity exports. Amid widespread civil unrest, Suharto
resigned on May 21, 1998. Suharto’s hand-picked vice president, B.J. Habibie, became Indonesia’s third
president. President Habibie re-established International Monetary Fund and donor community support
for an economic stabilization program. He released several prominent political and labor prisoners,
initiated investigations into unrest, and lifted controls on the press, political parties, and labor unions.

Indonesia’s first elections in the post-Suharto period were held for the national, provincial, and sub-
provincial parliaments on June 7, 1999. Forty-eight political parties participated in the elections.
Indonesia’s legislative branch (MPR) selected Abdurrahman Wahid as Indonesia’s fourth president in
November 1999 and replaced him with Megawati Sukarnoputri in July 2001.

The first direct presidential election was held on July 5, 2004, contested by five tickets. As no candidate
won at least 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election was held on September 20, 2004, between the top
two candidates, incumbent President Sukarnoputri and retired General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In
this final round, Yudhoyono won 60.6 percent of the vote.

Government
Indonesia is a republic with a presidential system. As a unitary state, power is concentrated in the central
government. The legislature, the People’s Consultative Assembly, is comprised of two houses: People’s
Representative Council and Regional Representative Council. The former, which is the larger body,
passes legislation and monitors the executive branch; the latter handles regional management matters. The
president of Indonesia is the head of state and head of government, commander-in-chief of the Indonesian
National Armed Forces, and the director of domestic governance, policy-making, and foreign affairs. The
president appoints a council of ministers; these ministers are not required to be elected members of the
legislature. The president may serve a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms.

The first direct presidential election was held on July 5, 2004. Approximately 76.6 percent of eligible
voters participated in this election, a total of roughly 117 million people, making Indonesia’s presidential
election the largest single-day election in the world. Prior to 2004, the president was chosen by People's
Consultative Assembly.

The current president is Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who took office in October 2014 for a five-year term. It
should be noted that President Widodo is the first Indonesian president not to have emerged from the
country’s political elite or as an army general. President Widodo’s vice president is Jusuf Kalla.

Indonesia is a secular state based on Pancasila, five principles of the state philosophy—monotheism,
humanitarianism, national unity, representative democracy by consensus, and social justice—a
philosophy promulgated by then-President Sukarno and codified in the 1945 constitution.

Indonesia is divided into 30 provinces, two special regions, and one special capital city.

Economy
Indonesia has a market-based economy in which the government plays a significant role. There are 139
state-owned enterprises, and the government administers prices on several basic goods, including fuel,
rice, and electricity.

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In the mid-1980s, the government began eliminating regulatory obstacles to economic activity. Over most
of the next two decades, most analysts recognized Indonesia as a newly industrializing economy and
emerging major market. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 altered the region’s economic landscape.
Although growth slowed to 4.5 percent in 2009, given reduced global demand, Indonesia was the third-
fastest growing G-20 member, trailing only China and India. Growth rebounded in 2010 to 6.2 percent
and grew 6 percent in 2012. Poverty and unemployment have also declined despite the global financial
crisis, with the poverty rate falling to 11.7 percent (2012) from 14.2 percent in 2009 and the
unemployment rate falling to 6.1 percent (February 2012) from 6.6 percent in 2011.

Indonesia’s improving growth prospects and sound macroeconomic policy have many analysts suggesting
that it will become the newest member of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grouping of leading
emerging markets.

People and Culture


According to the 2010 census, Indonesia is home to 237,641,326 people, making it the world’s fourth
most populous nation after China, India, and the United States. In its ethnic groups, languages, culture,
and religion, Indonesia is a very diverse nation. This great diversity is reflected in the country’s national
motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means “Unity in Diversity.”

Approximately 300 ethnic groups call Indonesia home, but Javanese are the largest group (45 percent). In
addition, 14 percent are Sundanese, 7.5 percent Madurese, 7.5 percent coastal Malays, and 26 percent are
of other ethnic groups.

Among these ethnic groups there are more than 700 languages and dialects spoken, though Bahasa
Indonesia is the national language.

Indonesia’s active history has encouraged the growth of many unique cultures. On Java, the Javanese of
Central and East Java are known for having several layers of formality in their language. In Javanese, to
speak to a boss and then to a child is like speaking two different languages. The Toraja of Sulawesi are
famous for their elaborate funeral ceremonies. Often several days long, these ceremonies bring the whole
village together in a feast, a procession, and a hillside burial. And the Minangkabau of Sumatra still
maintain a matrilineal society. Everything from houses to animals is passed down from mother to
daughter.

Today, the country maintains this cultural richness, even as it expands into new areas. The traditional
music of the gamelan and angklung coexists with new dangdut and rock ’n’ roll. The ancient art of
wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, complements the modern Indonesian film industry. And, while the
themes and stories from historic epics like the Ramayana persist, newer literature like that of the author
Pramoedya Ananta Toer has become an irrevocable part of Indonesian culture.

Six world religions are formally recognized in Indonesia: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism,
Confucianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Nevertheless, other faiths can be found, especially in isolated
societies. These religions, called traditional faiths, are also accepted. According to recent counts,
approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim, 11 percent is Christian (Protestants and Catholics),
and 4 percent is Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, or traditional.

Environment
Indonesia has the world’s second-largest tropical forest and the fastest deforestation rate, making it the
third-largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, behind China and the United States. Indonesia is
particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which include rising sea levels and erosion of

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coastal areas, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinction, and the
spread of vector-borne diseases.

Indonesia is also home to the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet. In August 2007, President
Yudhoyono called for the Coral Triangle Initiative, a regional plan of action to enhance coral
conservation, promote sustainable fisheries, and ensure food security in the face of climate change. The
Coral Triangle region is the global heart of shallow-water marine biodiversity.

Natural disasters have devastated many parts of Indonesia over the past few years. On December 26,
2004, a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude earthquake took place in the Indian Ocean, and the resulting tsunami killed
over 130,000 people in Aceh alone and left more than 500,000 homeless. On March 26, 2005, an 8.7
magnitude earthquake struck between Aceh and northern Sumatra, killing 905 people and displacing tens
of thousands. After much media attention on the seismic activity on Mt. Merapi in April and May 2006, a
6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred 30 miles to the southwest. It killed more than 5,000 people and left an
estimated 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region. A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck
Tasikmalaya, West Java, on September 2, 2009, killing approximately 100 people. On September 30,
2009, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Western Sumatra. No official statistics were released on deaths
and injuries; however, press reports indicated more than 1,100 fatalities.

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RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Following is a list of websites for additional information about the Peace Corps and Indonesia and to
connect you to returned Volunteers and other invitees. Please keep in mind that although every effort is
made to ensure these links are active and current, it cannot be guaranteed. If you do not have access to the
Internet, visit your local library. Libraries offer free Internet usage and often let you print information to
take home.

A note of caution: As you surf the Internet, be aware that you may find bulletin boards and chat rooms in
which people are free to express opinions about the Peace Corps based on their own experience, including
comments by those who were unhappy with their choice to serve in the Peace Corps. These opinions are
not those of the Peace Corps or the U.S. government, and we hope you will keep in mind that no two
people experience their service in the same way.

General Information About Indonesia


www.jatimprov.go.id and www.jabarprov.go.id
These are the official websites of East Java and West Java provincial governments. Information is
provided in Bahasa Indonesia.

www.indonesia.travel/
This is the official website of the Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism, where you can learn about Indonesia
from Aceh to Papua.

www.countrywatch.com/
On this site, you can learn anything from what time it is in the capital of Indonesia to how to convert from
the dollar to the Indonesian rupiah. Just click on Indonesia and go from there.

www.lonelyplanet.com/destination
Visit this site for general travel advice about almost any country in the world.

www.state.gov
The Department of State’s website issues background notes periodically about countries around the
world. Find Indonesia and learn more about its social and political history. You can also go to the site’s
international travel section to check on conditions that may affect your safety.

www.psr.keele.ac.uk/official.htm
This includes links to all the official sites for governments worldwide.

www.geography.about.com/library/maps/blindex.htm
This online world atlas includes maps and geographical information, and each country page contains links
to other sites, such as the Library of Congress, that contain comprehensive historical, social, and political
background.

www.cyberschoolbus.un.org/infonation/info.asp
This United Nations site allows you to search for statistical information for member states of the U.N.

www.worldinformation.com
This site provides an additional source of current and historical information about countries around the
world.

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Connect With Returned Volunteers and Other Invitees
www.rpcv.org
This is the site of the National Peace Corps Association, made up of returned Volunteers. On this site you
can find links to all the Web pages of the “Friends of” groups for most countries of service, comprised of
former Volunteers who served in those countries. There are also regional groups that frequently get
together for social events and local volunteer activities.

www.PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org
This site is hosted by a group of returned Volunteer writers. It is a monthly online publication of essays
and Volunteer accounts of their Peace Corps service.

Recommended Books

Books About Indonesia


1. Hirata, Andrea. “Rainbow Troops” (Laskar Pelangi). (Also a film that you may be able to find
online.)
2. Pramoedya Ananta Toer. “Buru Quartet: This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps,
House of Glass.” Penguin, 1996. (Four works of historical fiction; works well to read with
Vickers book, below.)
3. Friend, Theodore. “Indonesian Destinies.” Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.
4. Vickers, Adrian. “A History of Modern Indonesia.” Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2005
5. Schwarz, Adam. “A Nation in Waiting.” Colorado & Oxford: Westview Press, 2000.
6. Taylor, Jean Gelman. “Indonesia Peoples and Histories.” New Haven & London: Yale University
Press, 2003.
7. Hellwig, Tineke and Tagliacozzo, Eric. “The Indonesian Reader.” Durham & London: Duke
University Press, 2009.

Books About the History of the Peace Corps


1. Hoffman, Elizabeth Cobbs. “All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the
1960s.” Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.
2. Rice, Gerald T. “The Bold Experiment: JFK’s Peace Corps.” Notre Dame, Ind.: University of
Notre Dame Press, 1985.
3. Stossel, Scott. “Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver.” Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian
Institution Press, 2004.
4. Meisler, Stanley. “When the World Calls: The Inside Story of the Peace Corps and its First 50
Years.” Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 2011.

Books on the Volunteer Experience


1. Dirlam, Sharon. “Beyond Siberia: Two Years in a Forgotten Place.” Santa Barbara, Calif.:
McSeas Books, 2004.
2. Casebolt, Marjorie DeMoss. “Margarita: A Guatemalan Peace Corps Experience.” Gig Harbor,
Wash.: Red Apple Publishing, 2000.
3. Erdman, Sarah. “Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village.” New
York, N.Y.: Picador, 2003.
4. Hessler, Peter. “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze.” New York, N.Y.: Perennial, 2001.
5. Kennedy, Geraldine ed. “From the Center of the Earth: Stories out of the Peace Corps.” Santa
Monica, Calif.: Clover Park Press, 1991.
6. Thompsen, Moritz. “Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle.” Seattle, Wash.: University of
Washington Press, 1997 (reprint).

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LIVING CONDITIONS AND VOLUNTEER LIFESTYLE
Communications

Telephone
Telephone service in Indonesia is relatively good—nearly everyone here has a cellphone—and service in
and out of Indonesia to the United States is mostly reliable. Cellphone will likely be the main means of
communication with staff, community members, other Volunteers, and, to a lesser degree, friends and
family in the U.S. Within your first week in-country, training staff will provide support you as you
purchase a mobile phone. All Volunteers are provided funds to buy mobile phones and data packages.
Most cellphones in Indonesia can receive and make international calls, and you only pay for outgoing
calls. You may also bring an “unlocked” phone from the U.S. for use here with a local SIM card. All
Indonesia PCVs receive with their monthly living allowance funds to purchase cellphone minutes and
data. Cellphone service is pay-as-you-go, and vendors who sell minutes can be found anywhere. Dialing
010171 before a 10-digit number is an inexpensive way to call home.

Internet
You are unlikely to have easy access to email during pre-service training.

Internet service is generally available throughout much of West and East Java, and once you have moved
to your permanent site, you will most likely have access either at your school or at your home, sometimes
both. However, it will not be as reliable or as fast as what you may be accustomed to in the U.S.
Volunteers generally find the Internet to be the fastest and most affordable way to communicate with
friends and family in the United States. Internet cafes are abundant, and some PCVs purchase a modem.
Many use Skype with a headset or with video.

Mail
The mail service in Indonesia is not as fast as the U.S. Postal Service; thus, it is important to be patient. It
can take from seven days to a few weeks for mail coming from Indonesia to arrive to the United States via
the Indonesia postal system. From a Volunteer’s site, mail might take several weeks to reach the United
States. Sending a letter home costs about $2 apiece (relatively expensive).

Keep in mind that you are responsible for picking up packages and paying for any customs fees at the
local post office. Sending packages larger than an envelope to Indonesia can be very expensive on both
ends. It is important to note that boxes may be opened and inspected, items may be confiscated, and
customs fees may exceed the value of the contents. Peace Corps staff experience thus far indicates that
anything beyond a few ounces and a few dollars may be very difficult to get into the country. FedEx is
another option; while more expensive, packages are less likely to be opened, are tracked (ensuring
delivery), and will delivered directly so you don’t need to pick them up.

Housing and Site Location


All Volunteers in Indonesia are placed in one of two provinces: East Java or West Java. Most Volunteers
live in small towns or rural villages and are frequently within a few hours from another Volunteer, though
some Volunteers are placed further apart from each other. Some Volunteers are placed in larger cities.
Some sites require a day’s travel to reach the Peace Corps Indonesia office in Surabaya, East Java.
Regardless of the location of their site, Volunteers should keep in mind that Java is one of the most
densely populated areas in the world, so even areas that are considered to be rural are still likely to host a
large population.

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Volunteers live with host families throughout their service, as well as during pre-service training. As in
the U.S., “families” in Indonesia take many forms: You may live with a mother, father, and children, or
simply with one other adult. Host families provide an immediate entry into the community, daily
language practice and cultural exchange, and contribute to a Volunteer’s safety. Most importantly, they
usually become an invaluable source of emotional support, so that your site quickly feels like home. Host
families can also be an instrumental part of linking Volunteers to their new communities.

Prior to the Volunteer’s arrival, the host family is identified by the assigned school and is visited by Peace
Corps staff to ensure accommodations meet all health, safety, and security criteria, including assignment
of one private room to the Volunteer, and access to a basic (typically squat-type) toilet, bathing, and
cooking facilities. Most Volunteers live in typical Javanese homes, which are often one-story and made of
concrete or another solid, permanent building material. All Volunteers are required to contribute a
minimum payment per month to the host family from their living allowance.

Site placements are made toward the midpoint of training. Once Peace Corps staff has gotten to know you
better, they are in a better position to make decisions about where your skills and abilities would fit best.
To the extent possible, Peace Corps staff takes into account some preferences you may have regarding
your placement.

Please see the Working Conditions and Living Conditions sections of your Volunteer Assignment
Description for more information.

Living Allowance and Money Management


Volunteers receive a monthly allowance in Indonesian rupiah that is sufficient to live at the level of the
local people. The allowance covers food, housing, household supplies, clothing, transportation to and
from work, utilities, recreation and entertainment, and incidental expenses. Peace Corps Volunteers are
expected to live at a level that is comparable with that of their host country counterparts. The Peace Corps
discourages Volunteers from supplementing their living allowance with funds from home.

Food and Diet


It may be no surprise that the staple food in Indonesia is rice. What may not be as well known is that there
is a wide variety of diets among the thousands of islands of the Indonesian archipelago and even in parts
of the same island. Across Java, tastes differ. A popular traditional dish in East Java is pecel which is
steamed vegetables in peanut sauce, while in West Java, vegetables are commonly eaten raw in a dish
called lalapan. A favorite dish there is karedok, raw vegetables in peanut sauce.

A wide range of vegetables are available in the markets, year round. Fruits that are generally available
year around include bananas, papayas, oranges, watermelon, melon, and apples. White rice is most
common, however brown rice is usually available in big supermarkets in the city, while oatmeal and
cereals are generally available at local convenience stores.

Many people consume tempeh (traditionally prepared soy beans) and tahu (tofu) as their main source of
protein. However, a variety of other protein sources are available. Fish is usually available, and cows,
goats, and chicken are raised locally.

Javanese dishes tend to be oily and spicy. Although vegetables abound, eating in restaurants can be
challenging for vegetarians because meat is often mixed in with dishes featuring tofu or vegetables.
Eating the food provided by your host family, or cooking your own food, is cheaper and healthier than
eating in restaurants.

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Urban areas offer much more variety. Larger cities such as Surabaya or Bandung have a wide selection of
restaurants, from upscale international restaurants to very cheaply priced food carts on the street corners.

From a Volunteer:
I live with a vegetarian, so there are definitely several alternatives to meat, primarily tofu and tempeh
(soy beans). We eat rice three times a day, and a vast majority of the side dishes are fried. Most
Indonesians enjoy spicy food, but you can usually ask for the spice on the side. An absurd amount of
sugar is typically added to drinks (tea, coffee, juice), and I’ve only seen milk in powder form. Muslims
don’t eat pork, so you might need to trek to Bali for some bacon. It’s very common to eat with your right
hand, sitting on the floor, but considered extremely rude to eat with your left hand. Vegetables are less
common with meals, but easy to find at the market, along with fresh fruit, which is dependent upon the
season. The main meat dishes are chicken or fish, but goat, rabbit, and cow are also fairly common.

Transportation
Indonesia offers a variety of reliable modes of transportation in most areas of the country which include
motorized and non-motorized three-wheel vehicles, vans, public and commercial buses, trains, boats, and
planes. Volunteers are expected to use the safest transportation option available and in accordance with
their travel and living allowances.

Because the transportation systems available in Indonesia present specific challenges and hazards,
Volunteers are strongly advised to choose the safest transportation option available and should travel at
times and on routes that present the lowest risk. Out of all transportation modes, trains tend to be the
safest means of transportation in Java. It is expected that Volunteers will draw upon their training and
exercise sound judgment when traveling.

From a Volunteer:
Transportation is fairly convenient in East Java, but can be frustrating or unpredictable at times. Expect
delays, unscheduled stops, heavy traffic, and negotiating with pushy drivers and ticket sellers. Community
members travel primarily by motorcycle, which can be inconvenient since Volunteers are not permitted to
use motorcycles. There are plenty of alternatives for getting around the community, though. Riding a
bicycle is the easiest.

There are public transportation “angkots” (mini-buses) that travel between villages and the nearest city.
From the main city in any regency you can easily find a train, bus, or travel car to other cities in Java.
Javanese cities are well connected, which makes traveling to Surabaya or visiting other Volunteers
reasonably simple.

Angkots are essentially mini-vans that travel back and forth along various routes in Java, from early
morning until around 5 p.m., so travel is limited to the daytime. There are not necessarily any regular
stops; you just wave the van down anywhere along the street and get off where you like.

“Becaks,” or rickshaws, are another option in some areas; they are bicycles with a passenger seat in the
front. Using a becak is handy for going short distances or getting around cities. Only major cities in East
Java have taxis, so the becak is the alternative to taxis in smaller city settings.

Buses are a very comfortable option for traveling long distances. Many are air-conditioned and travel
directly from one city to another and depart frequently. Trains have specific schedules, which are more
dependable in some cases.

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Another popular alternative is using a small travel van. There are several travel agencies that operate
direct non-stop connections between various cities for a limited number of people, and they will drop you
off at your desired location. It’s only slightly more expensive and is a very secure way to travel.

Geography and Climate


Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands, of which 6,000 are inhabited. It comprises five main islands;
Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Papua. Java, where Volunteers are placed, is composed almost
entirely of volcanic origin. The island contains thirty-eight mountains that at one time or another have
been active volcanoes.

The typical weather in Indonesia is tropical. There are two seasons: rainy and dry. The dry season runs
from March to September with temperatures typically between 84–96 F. The rainy season is from October
to March or April with temperatures typically between 71–84 F. The temperature may vary considerably
depending on elevation.

Social Activities
Indonesia is a large country with multiple cultures and languages. Customs vary from province to
province, and from school to school. Generally speaking, you will find that Indonesians have a tolerance,
curiosity, and sense of humor regarding behaviors and customs that are different than their own. You can
expect your Indonesian community members to be curious about your background, customs, and religious
beliefs and practices. As a newcomer you will be expected to make an effort to get to know your
community, and not to wait for people to come to you. Relationships are the “coin of the realm,” in
Indonesia and the responsibility for initiating, building, and nurturing them will fall to you.

Social activities, while varying by location, will include family events, such as weddings and
circumcision festivities, and community events, such as dedications and graduations. Religious events
around holidays such as Idul Fitri present opportunities for Volunteers to become involved in community
life. School schedules also include a number of social activities, including student competitions and trips,
welcome and farewell celebrations, and activities for anniversaries and national holidays. On a day-to-day
basis, many Volunteers enjoy the company of family members, friends, and other community members
through visits to each other’s homes, short excursions to local sights, and simply spending time together.
Volunteers also comprise a tight-knit social network, and neighboring Volunteers engage in social
activities with each other’s communities.

From a Volunteer:
Just walking/riding your bike around your community and meeting different types of people has been one
of my favorite things. Playing sports (basketball, volleyball, badminton) with the students is another great
leisure activity. Cooking together with neighbors to prepare for a large event is one of the best ways to
meet the women in your village. There are several holidays where the community comes together,
celebrating with a puppet show (wayang kulit), traditional dancing, or communal eating.

Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior


Indonesia is a large country with multiple cultures and languages. Customs vary from province to
province, and school to school. Generally speaking, you will find that Indonesians have a tolerance,
curiosity, and sense of humor regarding behaviors and customs that are different than their own. That
said, most Volunteers are placed at schools and in communities with conservative Muslim values, and the
importance of respect for local religious practices and cultural mores cannot be overstated.

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The Javanese value clean, neat, culturally appropriate dress as a measure of professionalism and respect.
This is particularly true for teachers. Indonesian teachers, including Volunteers, are expected to wear neat,
modest, “business-casual” attire. Some schools require teachers to wear uniforms, and in some cases
these are provided to the Volunteer by the school. While in training, you will receive advice and
feedback (as needed) regarding appropriate dress, but ultimately your principal and counterparts will
provide specific guidance about what you should and shouldn’t wear to school.
Please see the Cultural Attitudes and Customs in the Workplace and Dress Code sections in the Volunteer
Assignment Description for additional information.

Personal Safety
More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Safety and
Security section, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer
Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an
unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture,
and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers
experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not
uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Indonesia Volunteers
complete their two years of service without incident. The Peace Corps has established procedures and
policies designed to help reduce the risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and
policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Indonesia. Using these tools,
one can be empowered to take responsibility for his or her safety and well-being.

Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to
successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. Volunteers
and families are encouraged to look at safety and security information on the Peace Corps website at
peacecorps.gov/safety.

Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer health and safety. There is a section titled Safety
and Security in Depth. Among topics addressed are the risks of serving as a Volunteer, posts’ safety
support systems, and emergency planning and communications.

Rewards and Frustrations


Volunteers must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term
goals without seeing immediate results. Language barriers, different customs and work habits, feelings of
homesickness, lack of privacy, the challenge of integrating into a new culture, and isolation are a few of
the challenges you will need to overcome through maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and
resourcefulness.

Indonesians are a hospitable people, always willing to make you feel welcome. Nevertheless, it may take
some time before you obtain the cultural and linguistic skills to start feeling connections to your
Indonesian community members. You will be expected to manage day-to-day challenges independently,
or with the assistance of your host family, counterparts, and principal. Resiliency and selfcare are two
skills that you will develop and practice during your service.

Working with limited resources will force you to make use of all your creativity and resourcefulness.
Working with students and teachers with varying levels of English will be a challenge, particularly in the
beginning as you are developing your Bahasa Indonesia skills. You will need to be comfortable with
ambiguity and awkwardness.

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You will learn and be exposed to the reality that most Indonesians, especially the dominant ethnic group
Javanese, value indirectness when expressing ideas or requests. At the end of your service, you will
remember the challenges, but most of all you will realize that you have made an impact—not only by
teaching English, but by demonstrating a different way of doing things and a different way of thinking.

From a Volunteer:
Your service in Indonesia will be a series of rewards and frustrations, highs and lows, ups and downs. At
times you might think “What am I doing here?” or “I’m making absolutely no difference” or maybe even
“This is terrible. I can’t take it anymore.” Small frustrations may be heightened because you are living in
a different place far away from family, friends, and the comforts of home. The important thing to
remember is not to let those frustrations blind you from seeing the rewards. There will definitely be
rewards. Small differences, small rewards—a child using what little English he or she knows to say hello,
a student telling you she had a great time in class—are important and should not be taken for granted.
Remembering the rewards will sustain your energy and enthusiasm during the frustrating moments.

From a Volunteer:
Regardless of where you’re placed, you will be making a difference in at least a handful of lives. That’s
one of the best feelings in the world. Also, being challenged in ways you never imagined and succeeding
is one of the biggest rewards. One of the challenges is a lack of privacy/independence. Another thing that
I struggle with is how to deal with corruption, both at the school and the local level. School cheating is
also an issue we have all faced because it’s socially acceptable here.

Please also see the Potential Challenges and Rewards and Additional Comments from Volunteers sections
of the Volunteer Assignment Description.

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PEACE CORPS TRAINING
Overview of Pre-Service Training
The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning,
supporting you from arrival in Indonesia to your departure. Pre-service training (PST) is the first event
within this continuum of learning and ensures that you are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and
attitudes to effectively perform your job. Pre-service training is conducted in Indonesia by Peace Corps
staff, most of whom are locally hired trainers. Peace Corps staff measure achievement of learning and
determine if you have successfully achieved competencies, including language standards, for swearing-in
as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Peace Corps training incorporates widely accepted principles of adult learning and is structured around
the experiential learning cycle. Successful training results in competence in various technical, linguistic,
cross-cultural, health, and safety and security areas.

Integrating into the community is one of the core competencies you will strive to achieve both in PST and
during the first several months of service. Successful sustainable development work is based on the
relationships you build by respectfully integrating into the host country community and culture.

You will be prepared for this through a homestay experience, which often requires trainees to live with
host families during PST. Integration into the community fosters language and cross-cultural learning and
ensures your health, safety, and security.

Throughout PST, you will make adjustments as you learn new ways of doing things, learn to do things
you’ve never done before, stop doing things you can no longer do, adjust to new people and their culture,
learn to live and work in an environment where a different language is spoken, and get used to various
new and unusual (to you!) practices. Welcome to “the toughest job you’ll ever love!” It is a collaborative
effort among trainees/Volunteers and staff members, which requires patience, flexibility, and hard work.
You will need energy, enthusiasm, patience, and determination. There will be fun, excitement, and joy, as
well as many challenges and moments of frustration and exhaustion.

Throughout PST, trainees are challenged to demonstrate to the Peace Corps their desire and ability to live
and work in Indonesia as effective and resourceful Volunteers, as professional development workers, and
as individuals with an enthusiasm for cultural exchange.

Technical Training
Technical training will prepare you to work in Indonesia by building on the skills you already have and
helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps
staff, Indonesia experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great
emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a
Volunteer.

Technical training will include sessions on the general education, economic, and political environment in
Indonesia and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your project’s goals and
objectives and will meet with the Indonesia agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to
assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout training to build the confidence and skills
you need to undertake your project activities, report your progress, and serve as a productive member of
your community.

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Language Training
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are key to personal and professional
satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, help you integrate into
your community, and can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language
training is at the heart of the training program. You must successfully meet minimum language
requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Indonesia language instructors usually teach
formal language classes five days a week in small groups.

Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you
will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. The goal is to
get you to a point of basic social communication skills so you can practice and develop language skills
further once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will develop strategies to
continue studying language during your service.

Beyond the national language of Bahasa Indonesia you will be introduced to one of the secondary
languages spoken on Java: Javanese, Madurese, or Sundanese, depending on your permanent site
placement. Each of these secondary languages have layers of formality and differing degrees of difficulty.
Learning even a smattering of these local languages will no doubt endear you with members of your
community. The Peace Corps will support your efforts to learn the appropriate local language during your
service. However, during pre-service training, the focus will be Bahasa Indonesia as it is the national
language of the country.

Cross-Cultural Training
Cross-cultural training will provide opportunities for you to reflect on your own cultural values and how
they influence your behavior in Indonesia. You will also discuss the questions you have about the
behaviors and practices you observe in Indonesia, exploring the underlying reasons for these behaviors
and practices.

Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills
and understand your role as a facilitator of development. Training will cover topics such as the concept of
time, power and hierarchy, gender roles, communication styles, and the concept of self and relationships.
Because adjusting to a new culture can be very challenging, you will participate in resiliency training
which provides a framework and tools to help with adjustment issues.

The host family experience provides a unique context for cross-cultural learning, and is designed to ease
your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to
explain the purpose of PST and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Indonesia. Many
Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

Health Training
During pre-service training, you will be trained in health prevention, basic first aid, and treatment of
medical illnesses found in Indonesia. You will be expected to practice preventive health and to take
responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all
medical sessions. Health education topics will nutrition, food and water preparation, emotional health,
alcohol awareness, prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and common
illnesses, domestic and intimate partner violence, emergencies, and medical policies in Indonesia.

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Safety and Security Training
During the safety and security training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your
risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for
coping with unwanted attention, how to identify safety risks in-country and about Peace Corps’
emergency response and support systems.

Peace Corps/Indonesia has a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan, which describes the procedure used
by staff and Volunteers in the event of an emergency. During safety and security training you will become
familiar with the document and understand your role in the event of an emergency. In addition, Peace
Corps/Indonesia staff will also train you to identify, reduce, and manage any risks you may encounter.

Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service


The Peace Corps’ training system provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their
commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During
service, there are usually three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
• In-service training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language,
and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment
after having served for three to six months.
• Midservice training (done in conjunction with technical sector in-service): Assists Volunteers in
reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, and planning for their
second year of service.
• Close-of-service conference: Prepares Volunteers for their future after Peace Corps service and
reviews their respective projects and personal experiences.

The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions.
The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-
departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated
cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.

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Your Health Care in Indonesia
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace
Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The
Peace Corps in Indonesia maintains a clinic with a full-time medical officer who takes care of Volunteers’
primary health-care needs, including evaluation and treatment of most medical conditions. Additional
medical services are also available in Indonesia at local hospitals. If you become seriously ill and cannot
receive the care you need in Indonesia, you will be transported to a Peace Corps-approved regional
medical facility. If the Office of Health Services (OHS) determines that the care is not optimal for your
condition at the regional facility, you will be transported to the United States.

Health Issues in Indonesia


Most of the medical problems seen in Indonesia are also found in the United States, such as colds,
diarrhea, skin infections, headaches, minor injuries, sexually transmitted infections, adjustment disorders,
and emotional problems. For Volunteers, these problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in
Indonesia because local factors raise the risk of or exacerbate the severity of certain illnesses. It is
important for Volunteers to know that counseling services in Indonesia are extremely limited, with no
therapists available for extended monitoring of mental health conditions. Also, there are no Alcoholics
Anonymous facilities or support groups for recovering alcoholics.

The medical problems specific to Indonesia are typical of those in any developing tropical country.
Malaria, dengue fever, HIV/AIDS, gastrointestinal infections, typhoid fever, hepatitis, and skin infections
(including fungal infections, heat rash, and heat exhaustion) are all common illnesses, most of which are
entirely preventable with appropriate knowledge and interventions. Because Malaria is endemic in
Indonesia, taking anti-malaria pills is required of all Volunteers. You will also be vaccinated against
hepatitis A and B, meningitis, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, mumps, measles, rubella and rabies. If
you have had any of these immunizations, please bring documentation from the providers who
administered the vaccines. Without such documentation, the Peace Corps must give you the vaccines
again to ensure that you are properly immunized. These immunizations are not optional.

Helping You Stay Healthy


The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to
stay healthy. Upon your arrival in Indonesia, you will receive a country-specific medical handbook. By
the end of training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first aid
needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this section.

During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies through the medical officer.
However, during this time, you will be responsible for your own supply of prescription drugs and any
other specific medical supplies you require, as the Peace Corps will not order these items during training.
Please bring a three-month supply of any prescription drugs you use, since they may not be available here
and it may take several months for shipments to arrive.

You will have physicals at mid-service and at the end of your service. If you develop a serious medical
problem during your service, the medical officer in Indonesia will consult with the Office of Health
Services in Washington, D.C., or a regional medical officer. If it is determined that your condition cannot
be treated in Indonesia, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.

Maintaining Your Health


As a Volunteer, you must accept considerable responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will
significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure” becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up

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to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Indonesia is to take
the following preventive measures:

Malaria: Indonesia is a chloroquine-resistant malarial endemic country. All Volunteers are required to
take prophylactic medicine against the disease (one 250 mg tablet of mefloquine once a week or one 100
mg tablet doxycycline daily). Malaria is treatable, but there is no vaccine or treatment for dengue. The
only prevention is to avoid being bitten. All Volunteers are advised to use mosquito repellant lotion, such
as DEET, at all times and to sleep under mosquito nets.

Avian flu: WHO has confirmed human cases from avian influenza (H5N1) in Indonesia. Confirmed cases
come from 12 provinces: West Java, East Java, DKI Jakarta, Banten, North Sumatra, Central Java, West
Sumatra, Lampung, South Sulawesi, South Sumatra, Bali, and Riau. There is no report of transmission
from human to human at the date of this printing and Volunteers intending to travel to those areas for
shorter periods are at the lowest risk of infection. As a preventive measure, Volunteers should avoid
contact with any types of birds, including chickens and ducks, to minimize risk of exposure to avian
influenza. It is wise also to avoid all poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, and any
surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals. Peace Corps/Indonesia
provides Relenza to each Volunteer as a precaution.

Diphtheria: All trainees/Volunteers are encouraged to get their diphtheria vaccination (e.g., Tdap, DTap)
prior to their staging. Diphtheria is an acute bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract, which results
in the formation of a thick coating across the throat, preventing swallowing and, in many cases, the ability
to breathe. It is a highly contagious disease, spread from one person to another via touching, coughing, or
sneezing. Prevention can be done by proper hand washing, covering one’s mouth when coughing or
sneezing, and by vaccination.

Rabies: All trainees will receive pre-exposure rabies vaccination series during PST. Rabies is endemic in
24 of the 33 provinces in Indonesia. In Bali, rabies is endemic with the highest mortality rate nationwide.
Rabies is almost always spread by an animal bite but can also be spread when a rabid animal’s saliva gets
directly into the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. The primary sources of human infection worldwide
are dogs and certain wildlife species, such as foxes, raccoons, mongooses, and bats. The best protection is
to avoid exposure; don’t pet any dogs or pick up street cats or kittens. Pets in-country are not always
vaccinated against rabies.

Air pollution: Indonesia has many of the world’s most polluted cities. It is important to be honest with
the Peace Corps medical officer about any history you may have of asthma, reactive airway disease, or
other respiratory conditions that could be affected by high levels of air pollution.

Respiratory infections: These are common occurrences. To prevent them, you are encouraged to get
enough sleep, maintain good eating habits, refrain from smoking, get a moderate amount of exercise,
practice stress management, and wash your hands frequently. Also, do not share a dish (using same
spoon/fork) with someone who has a cold.

Diarrhea: Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in
Indonesia during pre-service training. It is also important to pay close attention to the sanitary conditions
of restaurants, wash your hands frequently, and carry potable water with you at all times.

Stress: Successful strategies for stress management include exercise, journaling, listening to or playing
music, talking to peers, and reading.

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Dental problems: The best way to avoid broken fillings, receding gums, and other dental problems is to
maintain a regular regimen of brushing and flossing correctly. Always check rice that you eat or prepare
for foreign bodies, such as small pebbles.

Many illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide are preventable if proper food and water precautions are
taken. These illnesses include food poisoning, parasitic infections, hepatitis A, dysentery, Guinea worms,
tapeworms, and typhoid fever. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food
preparation in Indonesia during pre-service training.

Abstinence is the most effective way to prevent infection with HIV and other STIs. You are taking risks if
you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your
partner is a host country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume this person is free of
HIV/AIDS or other STIs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this
important issue.

Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned
pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your
individual needs. Contraceptive methods are available without charge from the medical officer.

It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the medical office or other designated facility for
scheduled immunizations, and that you let the medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses
and injuries.

Women’s Health Information


If feminine hygiene products are not available for you to purchase on the local market, the Peace Corps
medical officer in Indonesia will provide them. If you require a specific product, please bring a three-
month supply with you. Many female Volunteers take menstrual cups (The Diva Cup, The Keeper, The
Moon Cup, etc.) to avoid potential problems with availability or disposal of feminine hygiene products.

Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical
attention. The Peace Corps is responsible for determining the medical risk and the availability of
appropriate medical care if the Volunteer chooses to remain in-country. Given the circumstances under
which Volunteers live and work in Peace Corps countries, it is rare that the Peace Corps’ medical
standards for continued service during pregnancy can be met.

The Peace Corps follows the 2012 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for screening PAP
smears, which recommend women aged 21–29 receive screening PAPs every three years and women
aged 30–65 receive screening PAPs every five years. As such, most Volunteers will not receive a PAP
during their service, but can use Peace Corps supplied health insurance after service to have an exam.

Your Peace Corps Medical Kit


The Peace Corps medical officer will provide you with a kit containing basic items to prevent and treat
illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office.

Medical Kit Contents

First Aid Handbook Anti-diarrheal (Imodium)


Ace bandages Antibiotic ointment
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Antifungal cream
Adhesive tape Antihistamine
Antacid tablets Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner

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Band-Aids Insect repellent
Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) Iodine tablets (for water purification)
Butterfly closures Lip balm
Calagel anti-itch gel Oral rehydration salts
Condoms Scissors
Cough lozenges Sore throat lozenges
Decongestant Sterile eye drops
Dental floss Sterile gauze pads
Gloves Sunscreen
Hydrocortisone cream Thermometer (Temp-a-dots)
Ibuprofen Tweezers

Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist


If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your
examination reports to the Peace Corps, you must immediately notify the Office of Health Services
(OHS). Failure to disclose new illnesses, injuries, allergies, or pregnancy can endanger your health and
may jeopardize your eligibility to serve.

If your dentist or Peace Corps dental consultant has recommended that you undergo dental treatment or
repair, you must complete that work and make sure your dentist sends requested confirmation reports or
X-rays to the Office of Health Services.

If you wish to avoid having duplicate vaccinations, bring a copy of your immunization record to your pre-
departure orientation. If you purchase any immunizations prior to Peace Corps service that are not listed
as requirement in your Medical Applicant Portal, the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for the cost. The
Peace Corps will provide all the immunizations necessary for your overseas assignment. Volunteers must
be willing to get all required vaccinations unless there is a documented medical contraindication. Failure
to accept required vaccination is grounds for administrative separation from the Peace Corps. You do not
need to begin taking malaria medication prior to departure.

Bring a three-month supply of any prescription or over-the-counter medication you use on a regular basis,
including birth control pills. Although the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for this three-month supply,
it will order refills during your service. While awaiting shipment—which can take several months—you
will be dependent on your own medication supply. The Peace Corps will not pay for herbal or
nonprescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements.
Medications supplied may be generic or equivalent to your current medications.

You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a
requirement, but they might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about carrying a three-month
supply of prescription drugs.

If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. If a pair breaks, the Peace
Corps will replace them, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the
eyeglasses form during your examination. The Peace Corps Office of Health Services strongly
discourages Volunteers from wearing contact lenses while overseas unless there is a true medical
indication documented by your ophthalmologist. Contact lenses, particularly extended use soft contacts,
are associated with a variety of eye infections and other inflammatory problems. One of the most serious
of these problems is infectious keratitis which can lead to severe cornea damage which could result in
permanent blindness requiring corneal transplantation. These risks of permanent eye damage are
exacerbated in the Peace Corps environment where the Volunteer’s ability to properly clean the lenses is
compromised due to limited access to sterile water as well as decreased effectiveness of cleaning

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solutions due to prolonged storage in unsatisfactory conditions. In addition, when bacterial eye infections
occur, assessment and treatment within hours by a competent ophthalmologist is indicated. This is
virtually impossible in the Peace Corps setting. If you feel that you simply must be able to use your
contacts occasionally, please consider using single use, daily disposable lenses which do not require
cleaning.

If you are eligible for Medicare, are over 50 years of age, or have a health condition that may restrict your
future participation in health-care plans, you may wish to consult an insurance specialist about unique
coverage needs before your departure. The Peace Corps will provide all necessary health care from the
time you leave for your pre-departure orientation until you complete your service. When you finish, you
will be entitled to the post-service health-care benefits described in the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook.
You may wish to consider keeping an existing health plan in effect during your service if you think age or
pre-existing conditions might prevent you from re-enrolling in your current plan when you return home.

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SAFETY AND SECURITY IN DEPTH
Ensuring the safety and security of Volunteers is Peace Corps’ highest priority. Serving as a Volunteer
overseas entails certain safety and security risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a
limited understanding of the local language and culture, and the perception of being a wealthy American
are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Property theft and burglaries are not uncommon.
Incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Volunteers complete their two years of
service without a serious safety and security incident. Together, the Peace Corps and Volunteers can
reduce risk, but cannot truly eliminate all risk.

Beyond knowing that the Peace Corps approaches safety and security as a partnership with you, it might
be helpful to see how this partnership works. The Peace Corps has policies, procedures, and training in
place to promote your safety. The Peace Corps depends on you to follow those policies and to put into
practice what you have learned. An example of how this works in practice—in this case to help manage
the risk and impact of burglary—follows:

• The Peace Corps assesses the security environment where you will live and work.
• The Peace Corps inspects the house where you will live according to established security criteria.
• The Peace Corps ensures you are welcomed by host country counterparts or other community
leaders in your new community.
• The Peace Corps responds to security concerns that you raise.
• You lock your doors and windows.
• You adopt a lifestyle appropriate to the community where you live.
• You get to know your neighbors.
• You decide if purchasing personal articles insurance is appropriate for you.
• You don’t change residences before being authorized by the Peace Corps.
• You communicate your concerns to Peace Corps staff.

This welcome book contains sections on Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle, Peace Corps
Training, Your Health Care, and Safety and Security, all of which include important safety and security
information to help you understand this partnership. The Peace Corps makes every effort to give
Volunteers the training and tools they need to function in the safest way possible and prepare for the
unexpected, teaching you to identify, reduce, and manage the risks you may encounter.

Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk


There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s
control. By far the most common crime that Volunteers experience is theft. Thefts often occur when
Volunteers are away from their sites, in crowded locations (such as markets or on public transportation),
and when leaving items unattended.

Before you depart for Indonesia there are several measures you can take to reduce your risk:
• Leave valuable objects in the United States, particularly those that are irreplaceable or have
sentimental value
• Leave copies of important documents and account numbers with someone you trust in the States
• Purchase a hidden money pouch or “dummy” wallet as a decoy
• Purchase personal articles insurance

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After you arrive in Indonesia, you will receive more detailed information about common crimes, factors
that contribute to Volunteer risk, and local strategies to reduce that risk. For example, Volunteers in
Indonesia learn to do the following:
• Choose safe routes and times for travel, and travel with someone trusted by the community
whenever possible
• Make sure one’s personal appearance is respectful of local customs
• Avoid high-crime areas
• Know the local language to get help in an emergency
• Make friends with local people who are respected in the community
• Be careful and conscientious about using electronics (phones, cameras, laptops, iPods, etc.) in
public or leaving them unattended
• Limit alcohol consumption

As you can see from this list, you must be willing to work hard and adapt your lifestyle to minimize the
potential for being a target for crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime occurs in Indonesia. You can
reduce the risks by avoiding situations that place you at risk and by taking precautions. Crime at the
village or town level is less frequent than in the large cities; people know each other and generally are less
likely to steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions in large towns are favorite worksites for
pickpockets.

The following are other security concerns in Indonesia of which you should be aware:
• Petty theft is common, particularly on crowded public streets. Thieves on motorcycles may snatch
handbags from pedestrians. Volunteers in Indonesia have experienced thefts, generally when they
were away from their site and particularly while taking public transportation. Volunteers are
trained in how to mitigate such theft during PST.

• Female Volunteers have reported touching or groping incidents while traveling alone. There is no
indication that Volunteers are being specifically targeted; Indonesian women report such
incidents as a common occurrence. In addition, these acts do not appear to be a precursor to more
serious levels of sexual assault. The vast majority of Volunteers report feeling safe and secure
within their communities and receive training throughout their service on how to reduce the risk
from these and other types of crime.

• Alcohol consumption is culturally suppressed in Indonesia, and in many places it is considered a


serious violation to local norms and traditions. In addition, there are news reports of deaths in the
general population caused by “homemade” (and therefore unregulated) alcohol and spirits.
Volunteers are trained so that they understand the risks and ramifications of consuming alcohol.

• With more than 35 million motor vehicles in Indonesia, traffic accidents are common. The danger
of congested streets is compounded by drivers who may not know or heed traffic regulations.
Traffic safety issues are discussed during training.

• Indonesia experiences periodic acts of political violence, civil unrest, and terrorism. Peace
Corps/Indonesia, with strong support of Indonesian government counterparts, places Volunteers
in areas of the country where their exposure to such acts is relatively remote. The prime targets of
terrorist activities have not been individuals, but rather institutions such as the police and
governmental offices. Sentiment toward the United States, while trending in a positive direction
over the past few years, could potentially pose a risk.

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• Terrorism is, unfortunately, part of Indonesian’s recent history. Among the terrorist attacks in the
last decade have been the Bali bombings in 2002 and 2003, and in Jakarta in 2009. During
training, Peace Corps staff and guest speakers fully inform Volunteers about the targets and
perpetrators of these events, as well as steps the Indonesian government has taken in response.
Provinces or districts that have a record of political unrest are not considered for Volunteer
placement. After training, Volunteers receive relevant updates and alerts, as needed.

• Indonesia is geographically situated in the “Ring of Fire,” an area of the Pacific basin where large
numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Sites located within a 20-kilometer radius
of an active volcano, or those which are prone to flooding or landslides, are not considered for
Volunteer placement. During training, Emergency Action Plans are presented and practiced. After
training, Volunteers receive relevant updates and alerts, as needed.

• While whistles and verbal harassment based on race or gender may be fairly common on the
street, this behavior may be reduced if you abide by local cultural norms, dress conservatively,
and respond according to the training you will receive.

Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime


Because many Volunteer sites are in rural, isolated settings, you must be prepared to take on a large
degree of responsibility for your own safety. To reduce the likelihood that you will become a victim of
crime, you can take steps to make yourself less of a target such as ensuring your home is secure and
developing relationships in your community. While the factors that contribute to your risk in Indonesia
may be different, in many ways you can do what you would do if you moved to a new city anywhere: Be
cautious, check things out, ask questions, learn about your neighborhood, know where the more risky
locations are, use common sense, and be aware. You can reduce your vulnerability to crime by integrating
into your community, learning the local language, acting responsibly, and abiding by Peace Corps
policies and procedures. Serving safely and effectively in Indonesia will require that you accept some
restrictions on your current lifestyle.

Support from Staff


If a trainee or Volunteer is the victim of a safety and security incident, Peace Corps staff is prepared to
provide support. All Peace Corps posts have procedures in place to respond to incidents of crime
committed against Volunteers. The first priority for all posts in the aftermath of an incident is to ensure
the Volunteer is safe and receiving medical treatment as needed. After assuring the safety of the
Volunteer, Peace Corps staff response may include reassessing the Volunteer’s worksite and housing
arrangements and making any adjustments, as needed. In some cases, the nature of the incident may
necessitate a site or housing transfer. Peace Corps staff will also support and assist Volunteers who
choose to make a formal complaint with local law enforcement. It is very important that a Volunteer
reports an incident when it occurs. The reasons for this include obtaining medical care and emotional
support, enabling Peace Corps staff to assess the situation to determine if there is an ongoing safety and
security concern, protecting peer Volunteers and preserving the right to file a complaint. Should a
Volunteer decide later in the process to file a complaint with law enforcement, this option may be
compromised if evidence was not preserved at the time of the incident.

Office of Victim Advocacy


The Office of Victim Advocacy (OVA) is a resource to Volunteers who are victims of crime, including
sexual assault and stalking. Victim advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help
Volunteers understand their emotional, medical, and legal options so they may make informed decisions
to meet their specific needs. The OVA provides a compassionate, coordinated, and supportive response to
Volunteers who wish to access Peace Corps support services.

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Contact information for the Office of Victim Advocacy
Direct phone number: 202.692.1753
Toll-free: 855.855.1961 ext. 1753
Duty phone: 202.409.2704 (available 24/7, call or text)
Email: victimadvocate@peacecorps.gov

Crime Data for Indonesia


Crime data and statistics for Indonesia, which are updated yearly, are available at the following link:
http://www.peacecorps.gov/countrydata/indonesia

Please take the time to review this important information.

Few Peace Corps Volunteers are victims of serious crimes. Crimes that do occur abroad are investigated
and prosecuted by local jurisdictional authorities. If you are the victim of a crime, you will decide if you
wish to file a complaint with law enforcement, who will then determine whether to prosecute. If you
decide to file a complaint, the Peace Corps will help through the process. The Peace Corps staff will
ensure you are fully informed of your options and understand how the local legal process works. Further,
the Peace Corps will help you exercise your rights to the fullest extent possible under the laws of your
host country.

The Peace Corps will train you on how to respond if you are the victim of a serious crime, including how
to get to a safe location quickly and contact your Peace Corps office. It’s important that you notify the
Peace Corps as soon as you can so Peace Corps staff can provide assistance.

Volunteer Safety Support in Indonesia


The Peace Corps’ approach to safety is a five-pronged plan to help you stay safe during your service. The
plan includes information sharing, Volunteer training, site selection criteria, a detailed emergency action
plan, and protocols for addressing safety and security incidents. Indonesia’s in-country safety program is
outlined below.

The Peace Corps/Indonesia office will keep you informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety
through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer newsletters and in
memorandums from the country director. In the event of a critical situation or emergency, you will be
contacted through the emergency communication network. An important component of the capacity of
Peace Corps to keep you informed is your buy-in to the partnership concept with the Peace Corps staff. It
is expected that you will do your part to ensure that Peace Corps staff members are kept apprised of your
movements in-country so they are able to inform you.

Volunteer training will include sessions on specific safety and security issues in Indonesia. This training
will prepare you to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle and exercise judgment that promotes safety and
reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. Safety training is offered throughout service and
is integrated into the language, cross-cultural aspects, health, and other components of training. You will
be expected to successfully complete all training competencies in a variety of areas, including safety and
security, as a condition of service.

Certain site selection criteria are used to determine safe housing for Volunteers before their arrival. The
Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for
a Volunteer’s arrival and to establish expectations of their respective roles in supporting the Volunteer.
Each site is inspected before the Volunteer’s arrival to ensure placement in appropriate, safe, and secure
housing and worksites. Site selection is based, in part, on any relevant site history; access to medical,

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banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets;
different housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.

You will also learn about Peace Corps/Indonesia’s detailed emergency action plan, which is
implemented in the event of civil or political unrest or a natural disaster. When you arrive at your site,
you will complete and submit a site locator form with your address, contact information, and a map to
your house. If there is a security threat, you will gather with other Volunteers in Indonesia at
predetermined locations until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.

Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that
Volunteers immediately report any safety and security incidents to the Peace Corps office. The Peace
Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and
appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop
strategies to minimize risks to current and future Volunteers.

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DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION OVERVIEW
The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship and to improve people’s lives in the
communities where Volunteers serve. Instituting policies and practices to support a diverse and inclusive
work and Volunteer environment is essential to achieving this mission.

Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the
rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues.
Additionally, ensuring diversity among staff and Volunteers enriches interpersonal relations and
communications for the staff work environment, the Volunteer experience, and the communities in which
Volunteers serve.

The Peace Corps defines diversity as a “collection of individual attributes that together help agencies
pursue organizational objectives efficiently and effectively. These include, but are not limited to,
characteristics such as national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion,
sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures. Diversity
also encompasses differences among people concerning where they are from and where they have lived
and their differences of thought and life experiences.”

We define inclusion as a “culture that connects each [staff member and Volunteer] to the organization;
encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness; and leverages diversity throughout the organization so
that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential.” The Peace Corps promotes
inclusion throughout the lifecycle of Volunteers and staff. When staff and Volunteers are able to share
their rich diversity in an inclusive work environment, the Peace Corps mission is better fulfilled. More
information about diversity and inclusion can be found in the Volunteer Handbook.

An inclusive agency is one that seeks input from everyone in an effort to find the best ideas and strategies
possible to execute its objectives. When input is solicited, heard, and considered from a rich multitude of
individuals the best course of action usually emerges. The Peace Corps seeks to improve its operations
and effectiveness by ensuring that all voices and ideas are heard and that all Volunteers and staff feel
welcome and appreciated. When each person’s voice is heard, the agency is stronger and the impact of
Volunteers is strengthened.

Diversity and Inclusion at Your Site


Once Volunteers arrive at their sites, diversity and inclusion principles remain the same but take on a
different shape, in which your host community may share a common culture and you—the Volunteer—
are the outsider. You may be in the minority, if not the sole American like you, at your site. You will
begin to notice diversity in perspectives, ethnicity, age, depth of conversation, and degree of support you
may receive. For example, elders, youth, and middle-aged individuals all have unique points of views on
topics you may discuss, from perspectives on work, new projects, and social engagements to the way
community issues are addressed.

Peace Corps staff in your host country recognize the additional adjustment issues that come with living
and working in new environments and will provide support and guidance to Volunteers. During pre-
service training, a session will be held to discuss diversity and inclusion and how you can serve as an ally
for your peers, honoring diversity, seeking inclusion, challenging prejudice and exclusion, exploring your
own biases, and learning mechanisms to cope with these adjustment issues. The Peace Corps looks
forward to having Volunteers from varied backgrounds that include a variety of races, ethnic groups,
ages, religions, sexual orientations and gender identities. The agency expects you to work collaboratively
to create an inclusive environment that transcends differences and finds common ground.

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Cross-Cultural Considerations
Outside of Indonesia’s capital, residents of rural communities might have had little direct exposure to
other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical U.S. behavior or norms may be
a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The
people of Indonesia are known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the
community where you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.

As a Volunteer and representative of the United States, you are responsible not only for sharing the
diversity of U.S. culture (to include your individual culture and the culture of other Americans) with your
host country national counterparts, but also for learning from the diversity of your host country. An
important aspect of this cultural exchange will be to demonstrate inclusiveness within your community in
a sensitive manner. Additionally, you will share the responsibility of learning about the diversity of your
fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and exploring how best to respect differences while serving as supportive
allies as you go through this challenging new experience.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in your host country, you may need to make some temporary, yet
fundamental, compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For
example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence they have in the
United States; male Volunteers may be expected to not perform chores or other tasks ascribed to women;
political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best
remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these
and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead a diversity, inclusion, and sensitivity discussion
during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support. This training covers how to adapt
personal choices and behavior to be respectful of the host country culture, which can have a direct impact
on how Volunteers are viewed and treated by their new communities. The Peace Corps emphasizes
professional behavior and cross-cultural sensitivity among volunteers and within their communities to
help integrate and be successful during service.

An ideal way to view the pursuit of cross-cultural adaptation and/or cultural integration is to recognize
that everything done in your host country has both a specific reason for why it is done and an expected
outcome. Trust that your host country counterparts are acting with positive intentions and work to
mutually seek understanding and commonality. Language differences may add a communication barrier
and lead to misunderstandings. Listen more than you speak and seek clarity. Remember that having the
ability to laugh at yourself and at life’s little surprises goes a long way—laughter is universal.

What Might a Volunteer Face?

Possible Gender Role Issues


Gender is a set of socially constructed roles, responsibilities, behaviors, and opportunities. Gender differs
from sex, which refers specifically to biological and physiological characteristics of males and females.
Gender roles and expectations are learned, change over time, and vary within and among cultures.
Volunteers are trained in gender awareness as they approach their work in the host country. Gender roles
in the United States may differ greatly from those in your country of service. It is important to absorb and
to attempt to understand the cultural nuances of gender where you are. For example, in many cultures
males are held in higher regard than females and females may manage the households. In some places,
females are encouraged to attend school, while in other countries females are discouraged from engaging
in such activities and instead work inside or outside of the home.

During pre-service training, trainees receive an introduction to gender awareness in their country of
service, and examine their own thinking about gender roles and how this thinking has impacted them.

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They then learn how to analyze development projects using a gender lens to better understand gender
roles in their host country and to understand how these gender roles can benefit or limit what females and
males may or may not do. During their 27 months of service, Volunteers will further engage in gender
trainings to understand better how their gender identity impacts who they are as females or males in the
host country and how this perception influences their work and relationships.

In general, Volunteers in Indonesia should expect to encounter more traditional and conservative gender
roles in their schools, communities, and host families. As described above, men and boys enjoy higher
status in many situations than women and girls, and throughout East and West Java, women are often
responsible for managing households along with their other duties outside the home. As members of their
host communities, both male and female Volunteers will often be viewed through the lens of these gender
expectations and can expect to receive many questions and occasional critique if their behaviors do not
conform to gender expectations. Some of the more typical scenarios Volunteers face are described by
their comments below; however, it should also be noted that some of the most crucial opportunities for
cultural exchange take place around gender discussions, and many Volunteers experience tremendous
personal rewards by engaging in conversations and activities surrounding gender roles. Finally, it is
important to keep in mind that Indonesia is a richly diverse place, and the various villages and cities in
East and West Java that will host Volunteers are as diverse as the American social landscape. Volunteers
should prepare to expect the unexpected in their experience with gender roles, as with most aspects of life
in Indonesia.

Volunteers can expect traditional gender roles to also be reflected in the classroom where boys are often
appointed to be the classroom leader (ketua kelas) and girls to be classroom secretary and treasurer. The
vast majority of Indonesian classroom are not segregated based on gender. However, it is very common
for girls to sit at one side of a classroom and boys in the other side and rarely do boys and girls share a
table together in a classroom. Many Indonesian teachers also expect the girls to be more diligent,
controllable, and obedient in performing classroom assignments in comparison to the boys. Such
stereotypes often contribute toward teachers resorting to giving physical punishments to the boys in their
classrooms.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color


Volunteers of color sometimes, but not always, have a different Peace Corps experience than white
Volunteers. Because of limited exposure, some foreign nationals will expect to see U.S. citizens who are
white. Cultures of the world do not typically envision the States as a place of rich diversity with various
culturally acceptable perspectives, personalities, and characteristics. Thus, a Volunteer of color may be
questioned as about their U.S. citizenship.

In places where American stereotypes and/or caste system dynamics influence perception, Volunteers of
color should be mindful of the reasons for these views without creating contentious environments. All too
often, host country nationals are simply unaware of the diversity of the United States and require
additional information and dialogue. Direct interactions with someone new or something different can
take time to get used to, but those who take the time tend to be better off. Although host country nationals
may assert that the United States is made up of predominately one race, we know that is not true. If a
member of your community knows of compatriots living in the United States or of notable U.S. citizens
of color, you can build on this knowledge as a point of reference for discussing diversity within the
States.

For Volunteers of color, the range of responses to their skin color may vary from the extremely kind to
the very insensitive. In African and Latin American countries, host country nationals may say “welcome
home” to African Americans or Hispanic Americans. Sometimes Volunteers expect to be “welcomed

35
home” but are disappointed when they are not. More commonly, if a Volunteer is mistaken for a host-
country national citizen, he or she is expected to behave as a male or female in that culture behaves, and
to speak the local language fluently. Host country nationals are sometimes frustrated when the Volunteer
does not speak the local language with ease. Conversely, some in the same country may call you a “sell
out” because they feel the United States has not done enough to help with social issues. These instances
can be turned into cultural exchange opportunities for the Volunteer and the host country national, in
which the Volunteer can ask questions surrounding perception and collaborate with respect to issues and
projects at hand, while engaging in cross-cultural exchanges. All Volunteers, to include white Volunteers
and those of color, should be mindful of the issues of race that are embedded in U.S. culture and within
the culture in your country of service. These issues may significantly affect how Volunteers interact with
fellow Volunteers and host country nationals. Being open and inclusive to everyone will improve your
experience in interacting with fellow Volunteers and members of your host community.

Volunteers should be particularly mindful of Indonesian attitudes toward racial and ethnic diversity.
Indonesia’s population comprises thousands of cultures and ethnic groups, and there is no single set of
physical characteristics that can be said to be distinctly “Indonesian.” On Java, darker-skinned
Indonesians are often assumed to be from other areas of the country that are often more remote, poorer, or
of less dominant cultural standing. In addition to the dynamics described above, wherein Volunteers of
color many be assumed not to be “real” Americans, many Volunteers of color might also encounter
assumptions that they are from other areas or ethnic groups of Indonesia. African-American Volunteers,
for example, might receive questions as to whether they are from Papua, while Asian-American
Volunteers might be taken for Chinese-Indonesians. All Volunteers will experience unwanted attention,
however Volunteers of color often receive increased unwanted attention based on their appearance and
can expect numerous questions from friends and strangers alike. As with discussions about gender roles
as described above, respectful exchanges regarding race and ethnicity can make for rewarding Volunteer
experiences that can help to balance some of the more trying aspects of serving as a Volunteer of color in
Indonesia.

Indonesians, though indirect, often use adjectives to describe people with no intention to offend.
Adjectives like putih (white) and hitam (black) for examples, are often used to describe skin color.

From a Volunteer:
“As a Volunteer of color, I am often asked ‘Are you really American?’ This question is sometimes
followed by more questions related to family history.”

From a Volunteer:
“As an Asian-American Volunteer, I have had to explain myself (the how and why I am American) to
many Indonesians. While doing this day in and day out can be tiring, it’s helpful to remind myself that to
each of those people asking, it may very well be their first discussion about diversity in the U.S. I’ve had
many good talks come out of this.”

From a Volunteer:
“Sometimes people in my village refer to darker-skinned people as being more primitive, or descendants
of Papua. It is not considered taboo or rude to make fun of people based on the color of their skin.”

Possible Issues for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer, Ally (LGBTQA)
Volunteers
For LGBTQ Volunteers: Given Indonesia’s traditional values, sexual orientation and non-conforming
gender identities are not discussed openly in most situations. LGBTQ communities and lifestyles are
often stigmatized, though same-sex relationships and LGBTQ advocacy are not criminalized here.
Mindful of the cultural norms and country-specific laws, the decision to serve openly is left to each

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individual Peace Corps Volunteer. Most LGBTQ Volunteers have chosen to be discreet about their sexual
orientation and/or gender identity within their host communities. Very few, if any, LGBTQ Volunteers
have chosen to come out to community members, and with a result of positive and negative reactions,
while some have come out only to select Peace Corps staff and Volunteers. Dealing with questions about
boyfriends, girlfriends, marriage, and children may, at times, be stressful for all Volunteers, and
particularly for LGBTQ Volunteers. You may find that Indonesia is a less open and inclusive
environment than you have previously experienced. Please know, however, that Peace Corps is supportive
of you and Peace Corps staff welcomes dialogue about how to ensure your success as an LGBTQA
Volunteer. More information about serving as an LGBTQ Volunteer is available at the Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender Peace Corps Alumni website at lgbrpcv.org. Additionally, the Peace Corps’
LGBTQ employee resource group, Spectrum, can be reached at spectrum@peacecorps.gov.

For Ally Volunteers: The Peace Corps Indonesia community, including Volunteers and staff, intends to
create open, inclusive, and accepting environments. As an agency, the Peace Corps encourages
Volunteers to serve as allies to their LGBTQ colleagues in order to create a safe environment.

Many LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Indonesia and have very fond memories of their
community and service. LGBTQA support groups may be available in your country of service, providing
a network to support the needs of the Peace Corps LGBTQA community. Peace Corps staff will work
with Volunteers to provide them with locally informed perspectives.

LGBTQA community resources will vary according to location, with more well-known organizations
being located in the larger cities of East and West Java. In smaller towns and villages where Volunteers
may be placed, LGBTQA community resources may be sparse or non-existent.

Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities


As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Health Services determined you were
physically and emotionally capable, with or without additional medical support, to perform a full tour of
Volunteer service in Indonesia without a significant risk of harm to yourself or interruption of service.
The Peace Corps/Indonesia staff will work with disabled Volunteers to support them in training, housing,
jobsites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

Possible Issues for Volunteer Couples


Before committing to Peace Corps service, couples should consider how different degrees of enthusiasm
about Peace Corps service, adaptation to the physical and cultural environment, and homesickness will
affect their lives. It can be helpful to recognize that your reactions to these issues will change throughout
your service, and you may not always feel the same as your partner. You and your partner will have
different jobs, different schedules, and difference societal pressures. One partner may learn the language
faster than the other or have a more satisfying assignment. This can create competition and put different
kinds of stress on each person. Anticipating how these pressures will affect you and your partner
differently throughout your service can help you remain a source of support for each other. Making
friends with other Volunteers is a critical part of fitting into the larger volunteer culture and can also be a
good way to expand your support network.

During the 10–11 weeks of pre-service training, you will live in the same community as your spouse, but
in a different household. This is meant to facilitate rapid language learning and cultural adaptation. Pre-
service training is a stressful time for most Volunteers, and it can be helpful to discuss in advance how
you will deal with this separation. Your partner can be an important source of stability but can also add
stress to your training experience. You may feel torn between traveling to visit your partner and focusing
on your training, your host family, and friends you have made at your training site. At the end of training,

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you and your spouse or partner will live together with a host family at your permanent site, where you
will be assigned to teach at different schools.

Couples often face pressure from host country nationals to change their roles to conform better to
traditional Indonesian relationships. Indonesian men and women alike will often not understand American
relationship dynamics and may be outwardly critical of relationships that do not adhere to traditional
gender roles. It is also helpful to think about how pressures to conform to Indonesian culture can be
challenging to men and women in very different ways. Considering how your partner is being affected
and discussing what, if any, aspects of your relationship should be changed can help reduce stress for you
both.

From Volunteers:
“Living with your spouse in your host families’ home, you will only have one bedroom for the two of you.
Sometimes, you would like privacy for yourself, and having alone time may require more work than it did
back home. Find something that you enjoy doing alone, an activity that your spouse does not participate
in. This is especially great when you have just had an argument and need some time to decompress.”

“Living with a host family can be a wonderful experience, but the drawback is definitely privacy. Many
Indonesian homes are full, with not only the immediate family, but grandparents and other family or
friends as well. Indonesia is hot enough that closing doors and blocking airflow makes the environment
uncomfortable. This may also decrease the opportunities to be intimate with your spouse.”

“Being part of a couple, you automatically have a friend and helper! You will be exposed to more
activities, invited to more community events, and your schools will enjoy getting to know you both. You
are almost seen as two people in one, double the fun, and you can keep each other comfortable during
those super-awkward moments. Since you are both teachers, you can bounce ideas off of each other and
create lesson plans together. Working as a team, you can share in any progress or difficult situations.”

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers


The 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia guarantees the freedom for any Indonesian to hold
and practice any religion. In 1965 a presidential decree mentioned that six religions are practiced by the
majority of Indonesians: Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism; this
statement is sometimes interpreted as official recognition of these faiths. News media cover issues of
religious freedom and tolerance regularly, often in response to local demonstrations or attacks against
particular groups of believers.

Like many other features of culture, the role of religion in Indonesia is simply not the same as that in the
United States. For example, routine paperwork in the public sphere often asks for one to state a religion,
and Indonesian job applicants typically include their religion on résumés. Although personal and specific
questions about faith may be less common (and are often asked of Volunteers simply out of curiosity or
an interest in accommodating any needs), all Volunteers should think carefully about how they will
respond to questions about religious beliefs and observance. If a Volunteer is interested in identifying
him/herself as part of a particular religious group, staff will support you. However, Peace Corps/Indonesia
encourages you to discuss this thoroughly with staff prior to any disclosure so you understand possible
consequences. Note that Volunteers might put themselves at risk if they choose to disclose their beliefs to
someone they don’t know well.

From a Volunteer:
“One of the main tenets of the Indonesian state is the belief in one God. For those Volunteers who are not
monotheists, expressing their religious beliefs or unbelief can be a sensitive issue. Monotheism is equated
with morality in Indonesia, and non-monotheists may be considered immoral. Until you attain a very high

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level of trust with an Indonesian colleague, you are very strongly advised to avoid a situation in which
you express your disbelief because that will compromise your standing in your community and school.
This is not to say you should lie about your beliefs, but it is oftentimes better to avoid discussions on your
religious beliefs or give non-committal answers. People who are religious but non-practicing are
common here, so you will likely not be pressured to go to any religious services. Indonesians are very
accepting of many religions, and will accept your belief in any of the accepted religions without hassle.”

Possible issues for Christian Volunteers


Christian Volunteers may find that their host communities assume they are Christian because they are
American. And as Christianity is practiced in a variety of ways in Indonesia, Volunteers may find that
their ways of worshipping vary widely from other Indonesian Christians they meet. Indonesian culture
often distinguishes Catholicism from other types of Christianity, and Volunteers will find that there are
Catholic, Latter-day Saints, and other Christian churches and worship services available in many cities
and larger towns, but rarely in smaller villages. Volunteers may expect invitations or be encouraged to
attend church services regardless their specific Christian beliefs.

From a Volunteer:
“Being a practicing Christian in Indonesia is very different from being a Christian in the U.S. Indonesian
Muslims on the whole are very tolerant of different religions. Apart from some very specific questions
(‘What is your religion?’ ‘What can Christians eat/do?’), religious differences aren’t often discussed. The
most difficult conversations for me have been ones in which well-meaning Indonesians suggest
conversion. For example, you may have students who are genuinely worried because you don’t join them
for prayers, or you may be approached by strangers on the street who see you going into a church. These
‘suggestions’ have never felt threatening, just part of a social interaction.

“It has been possible for Christian Volunteers (either Catholic or Protestant) to attend church in many
communities, though the language barrier can initially (and subsequently) be an issue. Indonesian
Christians have been very welcoming.”

Possible issues for Jewish Volunteers


Christian and Muslim staff members at Peace Corps/Indonesia believe there are significant issues that a
Jewish Volunteer may face in Indonesia. There is a general lack of familiarity with Jewish traditions, such
as holidays, religious practices, or dietary needs. The word for Jewish in Indonesian, yahudi, is commonly
used as an epithet meaning a bad, manipulative, or lying person. Religion teachers at school, and clerics
during Friday prayers, use verses from the Koran to vilify Jewish people, particularly as it relates to
Israel’s actions in the Middle East and a perceived suppression of Islam. Students are expected to know
these verses for exams. As a Volunteer (regardless of your background), you may hear anti-Semitic
comments that range from being mildly to violently hateful. You might also at times feel that you cannot
adequately defend your political, religious, and cultural views for fear of being rejected by your
community, and that you are failing at creating meaningful cultural exchange. While many Jewish
Volunteers have served successfully and happily in Indonesia, Jewish Volunteers should be thoughtful
about how they disclose and discuss their faith with community members. Some Jewish Volunteers have
chosen not to do so, while others have done so to a range of positive and negative reactions.

From a Volunteer:
“When asked about my personal beliefs, I usually present myself as Catholic without going into detail.
My mom is Catholic and she sometimes took me to church growing up so I have some knowledge about
that. I don’t know how useful this might be to other Jewish PCVs but it’s how I approach the religion
question.”

Possible issues for Atheist Volunteers

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Atheism is stigmatized in Indonesia and is commonly misunderstood among communities where
Volunteers serve. As with advice to Jewish Volunteers above, atheist Volunteers should be thoughtful
about how they disclose and discuss their beliefs with community members. Some atheist Volunteers
have chosen not to do so, while others have done so to a range of positive and negative reactions.

Possible issues for Muslim Volunteers


As practices within the faith of Islam can vary, being Muslim as a Peace Corps/Indonesia Volunteer may
result in pressure to behave differently or discuss things that are uncomfortable to the Volunteer. Muslim
Volunteers might encounter surprise that there are Muslim Americans and may receive a variety of
questions about how they practice. Additionally, some Muslim Volunteers have also encountered
assumptions from community members that Volunteers instinctually understand Indonesian culture and
religious practices because they are Muslim.

From a Volunteer:
“Being a Muslim Volunteer in Indonesia has provided a unique experience for me. I have been able to
participate in religious events as another member of the congregation, as opposed to a curious bystander.
It has also made certain Indonesians more comfortable with me than they would have been if I were not a
Muslim. However, being a Muslim does come with its own sets of challenges. Many Indonesians assume
that I am Arab because they don’t believe that there are any Muslims in the United States who are not
immigrants. In addition, growing up non-Muslim in America has led me to have different opinions than
are generally held by Muslim Indonesians. Normally this would not be an issue, but sometimes Muslim
Indonesians assume that since we are of the same religion, we will see eye-to-eye on everything. I am
often asked my opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a touchy subject in any country.
Serving as a Muslim Volunteer in Indonesia does afford you a different perspective in certain cases, but
for the most part you will still be going through the same experiences as non-Muslim Volunteers.”

Possible Issues for 50+ Volunteers


Older Volunteers may find their age an asset in Indonesia. They will often have access to individuals and
insights that are not available to younger Volunteers. On the other hand, they will be in a distinct minority
within the Volunteer population and could find themselves feeling isolated, looked up to, or ignored.

Older Volunteers are often accustomed to a greater degree of independence and freedom of movement
than the Peace Corps’ program focus and safety and security practices allow. Pre-service training can be
particularly stressful for older trainees, whose lifelong learning styles and habits may or may not lend
themselves to the techniques used. A 50+ individual may be the only older person in a group of
Volunteers and initially may not feel part of the group. Younger Volunteers may look to an older
Volunteer for advice and support; some find this to be an enjoyable experience, while others choose not to
fill this role. Some 50+ Volunteers may find it difficult to adapt to a lack of structure and clarity in their
role after having worked for many years in a very structured and demanding job.

More than younger Volunteers, older Volunteers may have challenges in maintaining lifelong friendships
and dealing with financial matters from afar. They may want to consider assigning power of attorney to
someone in the States.

From a Volunteer:
“Indonesians have a great deal of respect for age so it may come as a shock to be treated as an
incompetent child—told when to take a bath, how to eat, and to be ‘careful’ when you leave the house.

“Language acquisition will likely be painfully slow as the brain synapses no longer have the youthful
speed they once had. The amount of daily new information may be overwhelming. Not only will you need

40
to learn Indonesian, and a little Javanese and Arabic, but possibly Facebook, thumb drives, text
messaging, and blogging.

“You may discover that you now need to use reading glasses due to the low-level lighting available. Or
perhaps your hearing is based a lot on the context of words and suddenly you wish you had hearing aids.
Recent college graduates thrive on competition and it may be hard to find yourself at the bottom in the
inherent classroom comparisons.

“Your ‘peer’ support group within the Peace Corps community may consist of people you previously
would classify as ‘kids.’

“Diarrhea/constipation and squat toilets are harder with aging leg muscles!”

“Indonesians will ask your age and be amazed at your stamina. You will probably be viewed as a cross
between a movie star and a superhero.”

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Indonesia?
Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that
exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of
transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of
luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and
a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100
pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave
radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable
materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an
important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in Indonesia?


220 V/230 V. Electrical outlets take two or three round pins.

How much money should I bring?


Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. You will be given a
settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover your expenses. Volunteers
often wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s
checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your
own travel plans and needs.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?


Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). Leave may not be
taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in
conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-
service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your
work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from your country
director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?


The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately
responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase personal
property insurance before you leave (contact your insurance company for information). Volunteers should
not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, electronics, and expensive
appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and, in many places, satisfactory maintenance and
repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?


Volunteers in Indonesia do not need an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from
operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges
from buses and minibuses to trucks, bicycles, and lots of walking. On very rare occasions, a Volunteer
may be asked to drive a sponsor’s vehicle, but this can occur only with prior written permission from the
country director. Should this occur, the Volunteer may obtain a local driver’s license. A U.S. driver’s
license will facilitate the process, so bring it with you just in case.

What should I bring as gifts for Indonesia friends and my host family?

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This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include knickknacks
for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies
that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until after they have completed pre-service
training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language
skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with their ministry counterparts. If
feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical
location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors
influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you
would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are frequently within
a few hours from another Volunteer. Some sites require a day’s travel to reach the Peace Corps/Indonesia
office in Surabaya, East Java.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?


The Peace Corps Counseling and Outreach Unit provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting
trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, instruct your family to notify
the Counseling and Outreach Unit immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death
of a family member. The Counseling and Outreach Unit can be reached at 855.855.1961, select option 1,
ext. 1470. After business hours, on weekends, and on holidays, the COU duty officer can be reached at
the same number. For non-emergency questions, your family can contact your country desk staff through
the main Peace Corps number: 855.855.1961.

Can I call home from Indonesia?


Calling home is easy. In most areas, cell reception is good.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?


If your American phone has a changeable SIM card, you can bring it, though it is very easy and
inexpensive to buy a phone in Indonesia. If you do not bring one, you will buy one as part of your PST
activities within the first two weeks after arrival to Indonesia.

Will there be email and Internet access?


Should I bring my computer?
While the Internet is widely available in East and West Java, it can be difficult to access in the more
remote communities. Even when the Internet is available, connection times can be slow. While you don’t
need to bring a computer from home, many Volunteers appreciate having one with them. Computers can
be purchased at prices comparable to those in the United States.

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PACKING LIST
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Indonesia and is based on their experience. Use it as
an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no
perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most
sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide
what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can
get almost everything you need in Indonesia.

Notes
• Many Volunteers, 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-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops to school.
• Higher-quality clothes that can withstand two years of handwashing are preferred. You’ll also
appreciate clothes made of lightweight and/or fast-drying cloth.
• You can find most clothing you need here, although average- or larger-sized Americans may have
difficulty and will need to get things made.

General Clothing
• Rain jacket, a light jacket and/or sweatshirt (it can get cold at night or in higher elevations)
• Cotton underwear; undershirts (to soak up sweat)
• T-shirts for outside of school
• Jeans and casual pants for outside of school
• Bathing suit
• Sunglasses

For Women
• Pants: Dressy pants for school and events; shorts/capris for around-the-house wear or vacation
• Skirts that fall below the knee. Black is a safe, conservative color choice. Some Volunteers will
be at conservative schools that require long (to the ankle) skirts; if you have them, bring them. If
not, and you end up needing them, they can be made here.
• Dress shirts with three-quarter to full-length sleeves, that button to the collar; other nice shirts
• Extra bras
• Tank tops and shorts as pajamas (assume you may not wear these outside your house, or perhaps
even your bedroom)
• The Diva Cup or a large supply of tampons. (Tampons are rare in Indonesia and pads are a hassle
due to difficulty of disposal.)
• Naproxen or your favorite menstruation-related pain reliever

For Men
• Black pants and other khaki-type pants for school
• Long and short-sleeved button-down shirts (but can buy them here too)
• Shorts
• Quality razor or a supply of disposable razors

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Shoes
• Comfortable, black, closed-toe, ideally slip-on dress shoes. Assume you will be on your feet all
day and walking in them, and taking them off when you enter homes. Athletic shoes, flip-flops,
nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs.

Electronics
• Camera
• Headphones
• iPod/MP3 and speakers
• Laptop/netbook (with extra battery, external hard drive for media if desired)
• Rechargeable batteries (with charger) for any device you bring
• Wristwatch

Miscellaneous
• Bandana
• Books (tried-and-true TEFL resources, and your favorite literature)
• Coloring supplies /markers
• Daypack/small backpack for overnight or shorter trips
• Deck of cards/card games
• Deodorant (good quality can be hard to find)
• Dictionary: English-Bahasa Indonesia
• Duct tape
• Frisbee
• Gifts for your two host families (during training and at site): e.g., U.S.-themed pens, pencils,
stickers, key chains, calendars (no need to go overboard with large quantities)
• Notebook to be used for learning Bahasa Indonesia during training
• Photos of friends and family
• Pictures and postcards of the U.S.
• Planner/calendar
• Sewing kit
• Sheets, flat (one or two)
• Small mirror
• Soap box
• Teaching materials: Assume beginner or low-intermediate level learners (magazines, pop music,
puzzle books, “Mad Libs,” “Eye-Spy,” stickers)
• Towels, fast-drying (one or two)
• Umbrella (small)
• U.S. and world maps (in English)
• Utility knife
• Zip-close bags in assorted sizes

What Not to Bring


• Leather bags or jackets (may mold quickly here)
• Low-cut shirts/tops for female Volunteers, as you’re unlikely to wear it in your communities.
• Strappy sandals for female Volunteer as most women wear closed-toed shoes.

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PRE-DEPARTURE CHECKLIST
The following list consists of suggestions for you to consider as you prepare to live outside the United
States for two years. Not all items are relevant to everyone, and the list is not comprehensive.

Family
• Notify family that they can call the Counseling and Outreach Unit at any time if there is a critical
illness or death of a family member (24-hour phone number: 855.855.1961 ext. 1470).
• Give family and friends the Peace Corps On the Home Front handbook.

Passport/Travel
• Forward to the Peace Corps travel office all paperwork for the Peace Corps passport and visas.
• Verify that your luggage meets the size and weight limits for international travel.
• Obtain a personal passport if you plan to travel after your service ends. (Your Peace Corps
passport will expire three months after you finish service; if you plan to travel longer, you will
need a regular passport.)

Medical/Health
• Complete any needed dental and medical work.
• If you wear glasses, bring two pairs.
• Arrange to bring a three-month supply of all medications (including birth control pills) you are
currently taking.

Insurance
• Make arrangements to maintain life insurance coverage.
• Arrange to maintain supplemental health coverage while you are away. (Even though the Peace
Corps is responsible for your health care during Peace Corps service abroad, it is advisable for
people who have pre-existing conditions to arrange for the continuation of their supplemental
health coverage. If there is a lapse in coverage, it is often difficult and expensive to be reinstated.)
• Arrange to continue Medicare coverage if applicable.

Personal Papers
• Bring a copy of your certificate of marriage or divorce.

Voting
• Register to vote in the state of your home of record. (Many state universities consider voting and
payment of state taxes as evidence of residence in that state.)
• Obtain a voter registration card and take it with you overseas.
• Arrange to have an absentee ballot forwarded to you overseas.

Personal Effects
• Purchase personal property insurance to extend from the time you leave your home for service
overseas until the time you complete your service and return to the United States.

Financial Management
• Keep a bank account in your name in the United States.
• Obtain student loan deferment forms from the lender or loan service. Information about loan
deferment is at peacecorps.gov/loans.
• Execute a power of attorney for the management of your property and business.

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• Arrange for deductions from your readjustment allowance to pay alimony, child support, and
other debts through the Office of Volunteer Financial Operations at 855.855.1961 ext. 1770.
• Place all important papers—mortgages, deeds, stocks, and bonds—in a safe deposit box or with
an attorney or other caretaker.

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CONTACTING PEACE CORPS HEADQUARTERS
This list of numbers will help connect you with the appropriate office at Peace Corps headquarters to
answer various questions. You can use the toll-free number and extension or dial directly using the local
numbers provided. Be sure to leave the toll-free number and extensions with your family so they can
contact you in the event of an emergency.

Peace Corps headquarters toll-free number: 855.855.1961, press 1, then extension number (see below)

Peace Corps mailing address: Peace Corps


Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters
1111 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20526

For Questions About Staff Toll-free extension Direct/Local

Responding to an invitation Office of Placement ext. 1840 202.692.1840

Country information Indonesia Country Desk ext. 1879 202.692.1879


Officer indonesia@peacecorps.gov

Plane tickets, passports, visas, or other travel matters


CWT SATO Travel ext. 1170 202.692.1170

Legal clearance: Office of Placement ext. 1840 202.692.1840

Medical clearance and forms processing (includes dental)


Screening Nurse ext. 1500 202.692.1500
Medical Applicant Portal questions amsadmin@peacecorps.gov

Medical reimbursements (handled by a subcontractor) 800.544.1802

Loan deferments, taxes, financial operations ext. 1770 202.692.1770

Readjustment allowance withdrawals, power of attorney, staging (pre-departure orientation), and


reporting instructions
Office of Staging ext. 1865 202.692.1865
New Volunteer Portal questions staging@peacecorps.gov

Note: You will receive comprehensive information (hotel and flight arrangements) three to five weeks
prior to departure. This information is not available sooner.

Family emergencies (to get information to a Volunteer overseas) 24 hours


Counseling and Outreach Unit ext. 1470 202.692.1470

Office of Victim Advocacy ext. 1753 202.692.1753


24 hours (call or text) 202.409.2704

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