Volunteer Abroad in Jakarta

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A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Jakarta

Jakarta is a hidden treasure in Indonesia. With few tourists, this city has the perfect blend between historical charm and modern day marvel. Indonesian people are considerably positive, welcoming, and optimistic, which makes any volunteer program in Jakarta thoroughly enjoyable. Often overlooked by beachside destinations, there are many underrepresented populations that need assistance in Jakarta. Due to the great need for empowerment, those who volunteer in Jakarta will be able to fill roles that will make a lasting impact on local communities.

Volunteer Programs in Jakarta

There are a variety of volunteer placements throughout Jakarta, especially in community development, health education, and childcare. The length of each volunteer program in Jakarta is dependent on the specific project, the volunteer, and the community in need, but most are a minimum of one week and can last as long as a year (or more). While it’s helpful to know some Indonesian/Malay, Javanese, or other local languages, language skills are not typically required for volunteer programs in Jakarta.

Community Development. Volunteers will find that no matter their background they can make a significant impact on Jakarta’s surrounding communities. Known to be a war torn city, negatively impacted by natural disasters, and in a season of economic despair, Jakarta has great needs that await international volunteers. Community development volunteer work in Jakarta will provide volunteers with the opportunity to witness the city’s greatest needs, but more importantly help promote growth and change. Whether volunteering in Jakarta at a community center or working alongside citizens with mental disabilities, there are many ways to get involved.

Health Education. As with all developing countries, health care is an area of concern in Jakarta. Local medical facilities, community centers, and schools are always in need of nurses, medical professionals, and passionate individuals to educate local adults and children about everything from basic hygiene to disease prevention. Volunteers may find themselves leading interactive activities with children, initiating medical resource distribution initiatives, hosting workshops for parents, and providing assistance at walk-in clinics.

Childcare. Volunteering in Jakarta at a children’s center will allow volunteers to make great strides in the care of local children. Generally, child care centers in Jakarta are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about children to help out. Some look specifically for individuals who can work alongside the leadership team, which gives volunteers an opportunity to experience non-profit leadership duties first hand, a fantastic career benefit for any volunteer in Jakarta.

Life in Jakarta

As with many foreign countries, it is not recommended that volunteers consume tap water while volunteering in Jakarta. While it may not affect everyone in the same way, better safe than sorry. Filtered water is commonly provider for volunteer’s consumption, in jugs or water bottles, and should be used for things like teeth brushing. Showers will be taken in tap water, so volunteers should be mindful not to swallow whole mouthfuls. Antibiotics can be prescribed from family doctors or general practitioners before departure for a volunteer program in Jakarta, as a precautionary measure. 

Saving face is of great importance to the Indonesian people. Relationships and reputations are highly valued. It is critical that volunteers be aware of conversation topics and attitude when talking with locals, and take steps to approach people positively. Topics surrounding complaining and insult are highly frowned upon and can result in a divide in relationships and loss of trust. 

Volunteers who are only committing to short-term volunteer placements in Jakarta may feel as though they don't have enough time to experience Indonesia to the fullest. To get a glimpse of the highlights of this beautiful country make sure to visit the Taman Mini Indonesia. A short journey from the city center, this spacious park attracts locals and foreigners. With full scale houses from various centuries to historic clothing and handicrafts, take some time to enjoy the gardens, bird parks, and learn more about the city while volunteering in Jakarta.

Many come to Asia hoping to experience the splendor of local temples; no matter what background a volunteer comes from, a trip to the Jin de Yuan temple is essential. This Chinese Buddhist temple was built in the early 1700s. Characterized by its creative roof structure and the statutes of dragons, it is surely a sight to be seen.

Accommodations & Visas

Housing is typically included in costs for volunteer programs in Jakarta. The most common arrangement for volunteers in Jakarta is a homestay, an option loved by volunteers and locals alike. Living with host families is the best way to eat authentic food, experience similarities and differences in lifestyle, learn the language, and develop lasting relationships as a volunteer in Jakarta. Another option for volunteers is group living, which allows volunteers to stay in a common building in close proximity to their volunteer placement in Jakarta.

In order to participate in a volunteer program in Jakarta, individuals will need to apply for a visa. As with many of the surrounding countries, the process and requirements seem to constantly fluctuate. While many organizations are committed to guiding incoming volunteers and providing necessary paperwork, getting a visa to volunteer abroad in Jakarta remains time consuming. It is advised that all paperwork be submitted no later than three months before departure.

During visa research, individuals may note that there is an option to get a 10 day visa, which is seemingly great for a one week volunteer program in Jakarta. However, it is strongly advised that volunteers apply for a visa to stay longer than needed, such as for 30 or 60 days. In the event of an emergency or spontaneous travel plans, having this extended visa allows for flexibility. Visas will be processed at the Indonesian Embassy in each volunteer’s home country. Fees are minimal, however they can accrue when overstays occur.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Beautiful, Affordable Location. Jakarta is in close proximity to one of the world’s most famous beach destinations, Bali. When volunteering abroad in Jakarta volunteers will be able to enjoy the fast paced life of the city while effortlessly taking self-care time at the beach. Not only is the location itself desirable, the price is as well. With a low cost of living, volunteers will be able to take the time to explore the city and surrounding areas, and enjoy them to the fullest. 

Safety. As a large city, crime and violence are expected. Yet, compared to other cities of its size, Jakarta is known to be incredibly safe. Most of the crimes happen amongst locals, and tourists are seldom targeted. Those coming to volunteer in Jakarta are advised to take standard precautions, such as staying in populated areas at nights and guarding bags and belongings when in public and on public transportation. Many may be aware of Indonesia's location in the world. While this only occurs on occasion, threats from surrounding nations can be a sudden reality. While volunteering abroad in Jakarta, it is recommended that volunteers stay in contact with the local embassy to gauge the current situation and develop a plan of action in the event of a time of unrest.

Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Indonesia.

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