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Published: December 21st 2015
The time has arrived as I undertake a half year overseas work placement in Indonesia. I will be posted to a factory in Cikarang, near Jakarta where I'll finally get my hands dirty on the shopfloor as a production engineer!
As the departure date approached, I was filled with mixed feelings of slight apprehensiveness and inexorable excitement. Anxiety, as the near future is full of question marks: how is the environment like working in a foreign land; how will I be coping with a different lifestyle; how will I be managing relationships back home; how will things eventually pan out, etc. But more so, I look forward with much anticipation of the unknown: opportunities to develop personally, both in and out of work; chance to finally be on the ground, working in the factory which is the bread and butter of commodity goods production; and more excitingly, prospects of travelling around the vast country across its numerous islands! The time has never been better to travel and expose myself to the diverse Indonesian culture. I even learnt basic Bahasa for my 'survival'...
Getting my stuff and myself sorted out in the apartment never got more exciting as I was
late by an hour in meeting the landlord courtesy of the traffic (no surprise!), and had my room's electricity tripped twice as while using the induction cooker. A 'warm' welcome yea! And of course, first week at work is always a challenge, getting to know new people, adjusting to the norms and cultural differences, with the biggest challenge being language. Conversations are 99% in Bahasa Indonesian!! I think even if I took intermediate language classes it's gonna be a huge problem during meetings lol. In any case, all the more I've got the motivation to be more fluent and confident in using Bahasa as I would badly need it to converse with people around here. Practise a little a day will definitely go a long way!
My first weeks have been nothing short of amazing growth personally, as I have learnt so much that I couldn't, sitting in a office back home. Looking forward to an even steeper learning curve come 2016 as I apply lessons into applications for improvements. And all these so far wouldn't have been possible without the warm hospitality shown by my fellow colleagues in guiding me along. Indonesians are extremely friendly once they have
warmed up to you and I, for sure, felt that.
And so, bring on 2016, Indonesia! The new year will bring along an exciting time of exploration of new places, new personal boundaries and new ambitions, as I allow myself to continue stretching that comfort zone to accommodate more unforgettable experiences in life.
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