Not Done Yet: I’m Coming Back to Indonesia


“Something like a team…”

I have just under a month left in this grant, my second as an ETA in Indonesia.  That brings on all kinds of mixed emotions, which I’m sure I’ll address further in a future blog, but it also leads to the question: What’s next?

What’s next is that I am returning to Indonesia yet again, though in a different position, and in a very different place.

I will be working as the RC (Researcher/Coordinator) of the Indonesia ETA Program.  As the Coordinator, I will work with the AMINEF Team[1] and the new SETAs (Senior ETAS, the new name for Returners, the position I held this year), to develop programming for the Pre-Departure and In-Country Orientations, the Mid-Year Conference, and the ever-delightful WORDS.  As the Researcher, I will be conducting research on the program itself, in order to help the program to continue to improve[2].  My research (provided it passes the Visa process) will focus on the relationship between ETAs and their Counterparts/Co-teachers: how that relationship contributes to the success of extracurricular programming, and how that relationship can best be supported through programming developed by our supporting commission, AMINEF.

Some of the initial planning and preparation for the next cohort, and for my research, has already begun, and I am both excited and terrified for the day I take on these responsibilities full-time.  After two years as an ETA, I feel I have a wealth of experiences and lessons learned from both of my cohorts that will allow me to be of service to the new batch of ETAs, and I am glad my time spent here will be so directly useful for others.  Are there moments when I panic a little and am convinced I am the worst person for the job?  Most certainly.  But I feel that way about teaching some days as well, and I feel I’ve done a pretty good job in the various classrooms I’ve been in here.    And while I’ve never before identified as a researcher (I’m a teacher, through and through), I’m looking forward to (with a little trepidation, to be sure), trying on a new hat.  And through it all, I won’t be alone.  I have a great team of SETAs, the support of past ETAs/RCs, and, perhaps most importantly, I’ll be sitting right in the middle of the AMINEF American Team, who have seen many cohorts come and go, and have endless insight.

As the RC, I will work and live in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.  Jakarta is a huge, sprawling, metropolis, and while this will not be my first time living in a capital city (I did a semester abroad in London my sophomore year of college), Jakarta is a special kind of crazy, and this farm girl is still rather intimidated by the prospect of living there.  But the more time I spend there (we are in and out all the time as ETAs), the more manageable the city seems to be, and complete with all the events, opportunities, and distractions any large city has, I know for certain that I will never be bored.

Being the RC in Jakarta…  It’s all a little familiar, and completely new.  It’s thrilling in all kinds of way, the good, the bad, and the fantastic.  And it’s what’s next.

[1] AMINEF, or the American Indonesian Education Foundation, is the commission in charge of all Fulbright Programs in Indonesia.

[2] To clarify, this does not make me a Fulbright Researcher.  My research position comes through AMINEF, not through Fulbright. In fact, in this new position I am technically not even a Fulbrighter, though I am still working directly with the Fulbright Program.