College students and graduates are lining up to land internships in the office of Jakarta’s inspirational deputy governor.
YOSEVINE, a 22-year-old student in her final year at the Munich Business School in Germany, never thought that she would take an internship in a government body or with a local administration.
“I previously planned to accept an internship in the United Nations,” she told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Yosevine said she changed her mind last year after a friend sent her links to YouTube videos of Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.
“I was blind to Indonesian issues when I was in Germany. However, after watching the videos, I became more curious. It was exciting to see how they solved Jakarta’s problems,” she said.
Yosevine then decided to try her luck by applying for an internship with the city administration by sending an application letter to the e-mail address listed on Ahok’s Twitter page, @basuki_btp. She is now among dozens of young interns helping in Ahok’s office.
She said she did not receive a specific job description, but that she was learning different things each day, including how the city administration implemented policies.
“Unlike the usual boring internship programmes, we meet various people whom we get new lessons from,” she said.
According to her, Ahok and his staff also gave interns the freedom to pursue their passions. “I am now collecting data from the Sanitation Agency as I am interested in writing my graduation paper on sanitation issues,” she said.
In the past year, Ahok’s office has received hundreds of applications from college students and graduates who hope to land internships in the office of the deputy governor.
Harisma “Dika” Andikagumi, a recent graduate of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), said he learned a lot about governance, especially how it related to the implementation of public policy.
“Many young people only know how to criticise (policies) but never really understand the process of making them,” he said.
Dika, who studied mining, said he knew that understanding policymaking procedures would be useful in his field. “Most engineers only know about the technical side of things. They don’t understand the (underlying) policy,” he said.
Dika, who accepted the internship while waiting to enrol at the University of Leeds in Britain, said he also learned a lot about leadership from Ahok.
“I admire his consistency in implementing his principles,” he said.
Dika said that since working with the deputy governor, he had became optimistic about politics in Indonesia.
“I used to think that dignified politics was non-existent (in Indonesia). However, Ahok offers a different thing, which is work performance. His politics is a politics of welfare,” he said.
Dika plans to become a lecturer but said that although he would not become a civil servant, he always encouraged his friends to do so.
Special staffer of the deputy governor Michael Victor Sianipar said the internship programme opened for the first time in May 2013.
“At first, we only received a (small) number of applications via e-mail. However, when Ahok encouraged students at a seminar to consider applying, hundreds of applications began arriving,” he said.
Michael, who has been tasked with managing the interns, said he tried to impart comprehensive knowledge about the city administration to the interns during the one-month programme.
“On the first day, we give them an explanation of the administrative structure and the budgeting schedule. They also receive presentations from each agency,” he said.
He added that the interns also toured important locations throughout the city, such as the historic Kota Tua in West Jakarta and the Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, West Java.
Michael said those who extended their internship more than one month would be given jobs in Ahok’s office and hotline centre.
Ahok said he hoped that he could inspire the interns to fight against injustice. “I believe getting involved directly as civil servants and politicians is more effective than only becoming activists.”
“I have been there, but if you want to change the government, you need to become the government,” he said.
Ahok said he hoped the interns also learned about city administration. “They work in the same room as me, so they will get to see how I run the government.” — The Jakarta Post/ Asia News Network