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by Samuel Tyson and Lachlan Nichols
During the summer 2011/12, Samuel Tyson and Lachlan Nichols journed to Indonesia, stopping off in Yogya first for a few lessons at the language school before diving into their international internship with LBH Jakarta (legal aid firm).
We had a phenomenal time in Indonesia over the summer. The people, the culture, the nightlife, we loved it all. We vehemently recommend people taking up this opportunity.
Adapting to the culture
Arriving in Yogya in early December to commence our language course, we found Yogya a fantastic first step into our acclimatization of Indonesian life before the pleasurable chaos of Jakarta. The people at Cilacs (language school) were among the nicest and welcoming people we have ever encountered and were able to provide us with a solid language base from which we could conduct day to day life. Some of our favourite and most useful terms include 'cepat' (hurry up) - the Indonesian's concept of time is unconventional - and 'cantik sekali' (very beautiful) - useful when out at one of Jakarta's fantastic night spots.
We split our time in Jakarta between working at LBH Jakarta (legal aid firm) and exploring the many wonders of the crazy and ridiculous city. Jakarta is like any developing Asian city, order is minimal, yet fun abounds.
Time for work
Our work was very interesting with many field trips to the poorer communities and to court houses. It was in these court houses where we fully came to appreciate the term 'patience is a virtue'. The legal process in Indonesia is truly bizarre but very exciting. You arrive at the courthouse with a date rather than a specific time and the case can only commence when both parties and the judges arrive.
Legal aid in Indonesia functions very differently to the legal aid we are familiar with here in Australia. Although it is in Indonesia's constitution that those appearing before a court have a right to a fair trial and thus legal representation if need be, this is largely left unachieved as even though the government is supposed to fund legal aid organisations with the intention of achieving this objective, no such money is displaced. Therefore, legal aid is wholly dependent upon foreign aid, LBH relied almost solely upon AusAid.