By Kjell Winkens (2015)

Country Origin: The Netherlands

Age Group: 18 - 21

Reason for going abroad: : Internship/work - Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia)

Travel Destination: Yogyakarta & Surakarta, Indonesia

Hi! I’m Kjell…a Masters degree student in Cultural Anthropology from Leiden University. I'm writing this while sitting in a slightly leaky train, driving through rice fields and slowly-flooding villages. Periodically, small flashes of lightning can be seen in the distance. A different picture compared to back home in The Netherlands.

I am currently in Indonesia to do a research project as part of my degree in anthropology. I'm focussing on ex-labour migrants, and their lives after they returned home, a subject I believe is sadly overlooked.

I have been here for a bit over a month now, participating in a field-school organised by my university back home, and UGM, a university in Yogyakarta. So far, I've been trying to learn the language (I can almost say "saya suka makanan Indonesia", "I like Indonesian food", fluently), and have had meetings with other Dutch and Indonesian students to discuss issues related to doing research in this region.

I've travelled through half of Central Java to meet with migrants and migrant organisations…while saying “I like Indonesian food” as a good way to break the ice during interviews (I actually REALLY do like Indonesian food!!

Luckily, I'm working together with Amel, a local student from UGM, who is not only an awesome guide and help with translations…but now a dear friend :) 

…but hey….my station's coming into view (apparently) and I think I better find my stuff…thanks for reading :) Talk again soon!

~ Kjell