My name is Logan Cayton. Currently a student at Emporia State University, I am writing this blog not only to fulfill class requirements but to also share my journey studying abroad in Indonesia. Studying abroad seemed liked an opportunity to allow myself to see the bigger picture. Already in my 3 weeks of being I have met and made connections with countless people who have showed me a different point of view. Making connections is one of the most valuable things though as I have already met some people who could potential get me where I want to be in my career.
Being taken out of your comfort zone makes you grow. You have no choice. In the streets of Jakarta I see something new everyday and I learn something new everyday. Whether it be a new word in Bahasa (The national language of Indonesia) or finding out that maybe eating food on the street your first week maybe isn’t such a wise idea.
As for why I chose Indonesia; I wanted to be surprised. Most western countries, although slightly differing cultures, share much of the same ideals. I found this out quickly while desperately searching for a roll of toilet paper, when it was already too late. But the values and practice which many of the people display are much different than the “western way.” Located in Jakarta, the nation’s capital and largest metropolis. It is home to over 8 million people. With that comes an amazing array of cultures, languages and religions. The majority of the inhabitants affiliate themselves with the Islamic faith. This is evident as a mosque can almost be found around every other corner. Muslims pray five time a day, so be prepared to wake up from the call for prayer around 4:20 every morning for the first week. As the nation is run with the ideals of the Muslim this can present some adjustments for an American.
The dorms I live in are seperated by gender and no one is allowed to have guests in their room. Technically, by Indonesian law no man or woman allowed to live in the same house or have sex without being married. This law is mostly situational though and a Bule (slang for white people) should not be too worried about hooking up but should take it into account.
Although alcohol is by no means outlawed here and while many people drink, the price and availability is inferior to that in western cultures. A high tax makes it quite expensive for Indonesian standards and it is hard to find liquor stores. There are surprisingly a good amount bars and nightclubs in Jakarta with a good nightlife, if you happen to be into that. While booze is tolerated here drugs are strictly prohibited. Indonesia is a very corrupt country just like any other country but here the police can be paid for almost anything. If you get caught driving without license, you can pay them off. Almost any crime you can think of has a price tag and it is the reason many men go into the police force here. Everything except for drugs. That can be punishable by the death penalty.
Many of the rights and freedoms we take for granted in America are not enjoyed here. For instance, a 2008 government act made it illegal for anyone to express views that the government might see as opposing their views. You do not have the right to as much free speech although in 1998 a speech and press act was passed my professor for journalism class happens to be one of the top editors for a magazine which speaks the truth about the corruption so prevalent here.
While on a welcome trip to the Thousand Islands, a chain of islands north of Jakarta, we had a party that night after a day of snorkeling and exploring the many islands. While we were drinking and dancing the people whom we rented the home from had not informed the local police that we this would be going on. So when the police arrived and saw a bunch of foreigners, they were concerned there were drugs involved. They were most likely just trying to get money but whatever. We were then informed that the police would search through all our things. Everyone looked at each other as if this was some kind of joke. How could they have the right to go through our things without proper cause? Because you have no freedoms. They only ended up searching the locals we were with and it all worked out but the culture difference was felt by everyone that night.
By: Logan Cayton, From Jakarta With Love