What are some thoughts on GO JEK

Indonesia (CIMSA-ISMKI)


Emergency medicine - SCOPE (internship exchange)
by Gudrun, Quakenbrück


After I had already completed three internships - one in Germany and two in other European countries - I wanted to use my last one to get to know medicine in a completely different, much more distant country with a culture that was previously unknown to me. Roughly I decided on the Asian region, the exact choice then fell on Indonesia. Indonesia is an incredibly diverse country with thousands of islands and many different cultures that meet there. Over 90 percent of the country is dominated by Muslims (with the exception of, for example, Bali, which is Hindu). I then got a place in Yogyakarta on Java, a traditional university town.
My expectations - to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, get to know everyday life and not just scratch the tourist surface, get to know exciting people and take something with me medically.


I did not attend any special courses. With Babbel I learned a few Bahasa sentences (which turned out to be very helpful) and since I still had time to travel before my internship, I browsed the LonelyPlanet. I have also registered on the "Elefand" list of the German Foreign Office.


The visa application went relatively smoothly - there is such a "social / cultural visa", cost about 50 €, all information about it is on the website of the Indonesian embassy. Simply send in the required documents and within a week I received a visa for 60 days, with which I was also allowed to do my internship. That is not possible with the normal 30-day tourist visa.


Before my departure I checked whether my standard vaccinations needed to be refreshed and had various travel vaccinations given to me - luckily, my health insurance company reimbursed everything. I decided on typhus, rabies, hepatitis A and standby malaria prophylaxis (the big cities of Java and Bali are considered malaria-free, if you travel to other islands you should take appropriate precautions). I also had a well-stocked first-aid kit with me, a mosquito net and a lot of mosquito spray - you can of course buy this cheaper locally. Sun protection was also important.
I also needed a tuberculosis test for my application. A somewhat outdated test (tuberculin skin test with frequently false-positive / false-negative results !!) was requested - I opted for the TBC quantiferon test currently used in Germany and that was not a problem.
Common illnesses in Indonesia were certainly various digestive problems - luckily I never had. Just pay attention to what you eat - if in doubt, it should be boiled / deep-fried or peeled. Simply refrain from raw salads, only drink safe drinking water.
There was also dengue fever - good mosquito bite prophylaxis is important (long clothes - you need long clothes anyway in the Muslim-influenced Java if you want to be taken seriously - as well as mosquito spray).


When I flew to Indonesia, it was considered pretty safe - earthquakes, seaquakes and volcanic eruptions not excluded, according to the Foreign Office. Personally, I've never felt unsafe - to be honest, I felt safer in yoga late at night than late at night in a major German city.


The currency is Indonesian rupees. I was always able to withdraw money on site with my MasterCard or often my Maestro card and only had € 50 as a buffer at the beginning of my trip. In smaller villages away from the tourist crowds there may sometimes be no ATMs, just take enough cash with you.
The cost of living is lower than in Germany. In the touristy Bali you can certainly spend a lot of money in hip vegan surfer cafes - in everyday life in Yogyakarta on Java it was much cheaper, especially if you had negotiated something. Indonesians love to bargain, and of course a typical tourist is often left behind.
A lunch in the hospital cost around Rp 15,000 - that's around € 1. Transport costs are also low - be sure to order ojeks or taxis via Uber or Go-Jek (best app !!). A way to the hospital (5km) cost me less than 1 €.


At first I thought that many Indonesians would speak English well - so I was quite relaxed before I got there, but I still learned a few sentences of Bahasa Indonesia. Bahasa is spoken by all Indonesians, in each region there is also the respective local language: in Java, for example, Javanese.
In fact, it was rare for anyone to speak good English. Everyday communication in particular just works difficult without Bahasa (as always - easier in tourist areas, of course). Even in the hospital, only a few doctors spoke a few sentences in English. Fortunately, many medical terms are universal.
The plus point - when you speak as a White Bahasa, everyone is incredibly fascinated and enthusiastic. It just opens a lot of doors.

Transport links

A flight is probably the only option for getting here. I flew a very cheap connection with ChinaSouthern, but with two transits in China - but it was halfway bearable.
For longer distances in Indonesia itself, domestic flights are recommended, very cheap and quite reliable. It has to be said that with the exception of Garuda, all Indonesian airlines are on the blacklist, i.e. they are not allowed to fly to international airports. Nevertheless, I dared to book flights with CitiLink, AirAsia and Sriwijaya, among others, and always arrived.
On land, Indonesia has a very reliable train system. Buses are also everywhere, from air-conditioned tourist buses to squashed minibuses (where Indonesians prefer to smoke).
Within the city, it is advisable to drive a scooter - or to be taken on the scooter. To avoid endless negotiations on Bahasa, be sure to install Go-Jek !! Uber is also possible (both taxi and motorcycle), but go-jek is bigger in many cities. You can order an Ojek (the motorcycle with two seats), a car, have food delivered, let the driver do the shopping, etc. - but they like to call after ordering and nobody speaks English, so Bahasa is really very helpful.
For example, I went to the hospital with either a go-jek motorcycle or a racing bike because my roommate lent me one. It was sometimes adventurous on the busy roads, but you were more flexible and more independent. In the afternoon it was just very warm;)


I bought a Telkomsel SimCard (SimPati), it has the best reputation and reception in Indonesia. I felt like I had an endless number of GB for little money (100,000 rp per month), that was quite good. The menu for choosing the internet package is unfortunately completely in Bahasa, so I asked the seller to help me.
Wifi is also very, very common. In fact, all of Indonesia is pretty internet crazy.


The ifmsa committee organized a flat share for me and I have to say, I was so lucky with it! My roommates were an Indonesian medical student (now a doctor) and the only other ifmsa exchange student from Poland for two and a half weeks. Rather, the apartment was a small house in a very safe area near the hospital. There was everything you needed, if there wasn't something my Indonesian roommate organized it. :)
I really felt very, very comfortable, my roommates quickly became my main reference persons and good friends. In particular, my Indonesian roommate looked after us soooo well, he was basically responsible for the rather rare social program and showed us all the beautiful places, restaurants, beaches, etc. in the area.


In terms of travel guides, I can recommend the Lonely Planet. For the language I used Babbel and a Bahasa Phrasebook, which I bought in Ubud. I have also read a Medical English book, which was not very helpful because nobody in the hospital spoke English at such a level anyway.
I found general information about Indonesia, travel warnings etc. on the website of the Federal Foreign Office. I have also registered on the "Elefand" list - electronic registration of Germans abroad.

To take with you

I had backpacking essentials in my backpack, as I traveled a bit before my internship, and “Yogyakarta essentials”. So relaxed clothes, shorts, etc. - and then elegant clothes for the internship, blouse, suit trousers, long black skirts, elegant shoes. There was a smock in the flat share. In Indonesia, proper clothing is extremely important in the hospital - no part of my legs or arms were allowed to be seen. My hospital was a private Muslim one, so I had to wear a headscarf. Fortunately, I was able to borrow headscarves from my roommate's sister. I had a stetoscope etc with me, it could have been got there.
For the Muslim parts of the country, shoulders-covering tops and knee-covering trousers are helpful. Guest gifts are of course always nice as well as a small farewell present for my doctor. I had a hut sleeping bag with me - more backpacking stuff, but since my room had no air conditioning, only a fan, that was the maximum I could endure in tropical temperatures. Sunscreen is significantly cheaper in Germany, whereas mosquito spray is better to buy in Indonesia. A first-aid kit with adequate painkillers, disinfectant spray and plasters is definitely helpful!

Journey and arrival

The journey went smoothly. I only traveled around for a few days and then arrived in Yogyakarta by train. My roommate kindly picked me up from the train station. :) In the evening, people from ifmsa would come and explain the most important things to me (appropriate clothing, how do I tie a headscarf, when do I have to be there tomorrow) - but only after my roommate had informed them that my internship would be the next day and go…
But they picked me up the next morning, took me to the hospital, introduced me to the secretary (I was told that my elegant blouse didn't reach my wrists and that my headscarf was inappropriately tied) and then took me to the emergency room and introduced myself to the senior physician, who was my reference person during my clinical internship. She was also really, really nice and tried hard and took good care of me - and even invited me to home-cooked food!

Job description and professional impressions

I was in the emergency room. My hospital was very Muslim - a headscarf was compulsory for all female employees, as well as clothing that reached to the wrists and ankles. But you really get used to it faster than I thought at the beginning. I was the only white person in the hospital - whether you like it or not, you quickly find yourself in a special position. Unfortunately, hardly anyone could speak more than a few sentences in English - my senior doctor was one of the best. In this respect, of course, I was happy to ask her and then get explanations as best I could. Conversation with patients etc was almost exclusively in Bahasa, so that at the beginning I often just watched and stood a little haphazardly next to it. My senior doctor really went out of her way to help me and tried to include me and explain the background. She was also always very interested in how things would be approached in Germany.
Most of the time I was there for the morning delivery, which started at 7 and usually ended around 2 p.m.
If I wanted, I was always allowed to examine the patient, clean wounds, sew, lay flexulas, ventilate - in other words, a very wide range of activities, but you had to ask explicitly, you almost never asked me for anything.
The processes were basically similar to those in Germany (algorithms, triage, etc.), but then completely different - on the one hand, in Indonesia there is not the good equipment of a German emergency room, on the other hand, of course, the processes were not always according to the correct evidence-based guideline . A full physical exam is somehow seldom done in Indonesia, only the most necessary (and obvious) is briefly examined. There was also no adequate pain medication - multiple trauma patients mostly received paracetamol. Airway management and CPR also do not always follow the well-known scheme. Of course you swallow more often, especially with victims of serious traffic accidents, which are more common.
Which made up for a lot: the whole team in the Emergency Department was incredibly nice, warm, very interested in me (as far as the language barriers allowed that). Overall, the atmosphere between the nursing staff and the doctors and the doctors among each other was really admirably good, and a certain Indonesian relaxation came to the fore more often.
The cafeteria was a special highlight, it was an open building outside with a variety of very tasty typical Indonesian dishes and juices at extremely low prices.

country and people

Before starting my internship, I took a few days to travel around and only went to Jakarta, Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. I also looked at Mount Bromo, that was a real highlight.
Yogyakarta is very centrally located in Java and practically between Borobudur and Prambanan, two world-famous temples. Excursions to the beach are also available. Yogyakarta also has an airport so it is easy to get around Indonesia.
Indonesia's culture is diverse and fascinating - I personally got most of the Javanese culture. Respectful behavior, especially towards the elderly, as well as appropriate clothing are very important, courtesy is one of the central virtues.
I was really very lucky with my host - you could hardly have asked for a better advisor, language teacher and roommate! Indonesian food is also a highlight - all variants of nasi (rice), various desserts, many many many different fresh fruits, the various food stalls on the street (chicken satay was one of my favorites) - there is a lot to discover in culinary terms!
Politically and economically, the situation always seemed safe during my stay in Java and Bali. I was never afraid or felt at risk - to be honest, I felt much safer late at night in Yogya than late at night in any major German city. There were brief demonstrations in Jakarta - it was about the current governour, I first heard about it because the German embassy (on the list of which I was a German in Indonesia) informed me by email. Otherwise there were no incidents. Indonesia's nature is of course not always predictable - Yogya was located directly on the Merapi volcano, one of the most active in Indonesia, but nobody has ever given it too much thought.
What would I have done differently - after my month's internship, I'm back to Bali to surf another week and do yoga. On the one hand it was a nice vacation, on the other hand it was really strange, because Bali is of course incredibly touristy and I had the feeling that I missed the more “authentic” Indonesia. Maybe I would have been happier in a less touristy area, but on the other hand it was nice not to get excessive attention on the street because of the color of my skin and hair. Indonesians love selfies and the classic “Miss, Miiiiss, Selfie ?!” has been with me every step of the way.
But as I said - Indonesians are among the friendliest and warmest people of all for me. I really felt very comfortable.


My expectations were definitely met. I got a much deeper insight into the country's culture and traditions than a backpacking adventure would ever allow. Everyday life as an intern in the hospital was also a great experience. I have also made very good friends - I will definitely visit them again! I would also like to deepen my Bahasa knowledge. I am very enthusiastic about the open, warm, polite nature of the people and the beautiful landscapes of this fascinating country.