Selamat datang and welcome to my latest blog post!
I was in Indonesia a few weeks ago and it was a most amazing experience; for a country with over 200 million people, and over 3000 islands, the pace is fast and city life is brimming with energy. Despite this, the people I met were incredibly friendly and respectful, making me feel totally at ease.
My colleague Andrea and I were invited by Education NZ to run workshops with over 200 Indonesian high school guidance counsellors in Jakarta and Surabaya. We were given less than 6 weeks notice for this, so my planning beforehand was fuelled by adrenaline and a healthy dash of stress.
I focussed my workshops around career development and broke it up into distinct modules:
- The steps of career planning – I introduced the counsellors to this simple framework so they could understand the different (and fluid stages) a student goes through in exploring career ideas.
- RIASEC card tool – I developed a simple set of cards focussed on John Holland’s theory.
- The future of work – I alluded to Lynda Gratton’s work and gave an update on future career trends.
Here were my key observations and learnings from my time in Indonesia…
- Students in Indonesia are similar to students in NZ. Be it Gen Y or Gen Z, our global students are faced with very similar circumstances. #getwiththetimes
- Indonesian guidance counsellors provide BOTH personal/pastoral care, and career guidance. Typically they are the only person in the school who performs that job. Wow.
- The Indonesian Government has recently decided to fund a provision of career information for schools. No further details are available yet.
- The counsellors are so passionate about helping their students. I’m not surprised the energy felt great during the workshops.
- Formal career development training is non-existent in Indonesia. Whilst many had a psychology or education background, they had minimal understanding of pure career theory.
- Narrative approaches are appreciated. I spent the beginning of my workshop showing images of my family and sharing my career story. Several reciprocated and shared theirs with the group too.
- Working with an interpreter is fun, but exhausting! It was a real art to clip my sentences and to keep the dialogue flowing.
- On day 1 we were given gentle feedback about our dress (we were dressed a bit too informally) but received a great solution for day 2 – wearing the traditional Bakti outfits conveyed utmost respect to the counsellors.
- I ran an icebreaker whereby they had to follow a sequence of physical moves (clicking fingers, clapping etc). They picked it up straight away and it made me wonder if Kiwis are naturally less co-ordinated… tee hee!
- The Wifi is fast.
- The counsellors love taking photos. I think I now wear a permanent smile.
I am grateful for my time in Indonesia and learnt a lot about working in a different context. It challenged my perceptions and also made me realise that we have much to gain from embracing cross-cultural experiences.