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Packing Guidance for Indonesia

This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.

As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.

In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.

This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!

This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.

Indonesia is a tropical country with generally hot and humid conditions in most of the regions, including the Pre-Service Training site, and most of the permanent sites. You will arrive at the end of the dry season and can expect some rain towards the end of PST. Daytime temperatures in Java during the rainy season generally average from the high 80s to low 90s, dipping into the low 80s at night and can reach 100F during the day. Days are quite warm and humid, and often withe heavy rain showers in the afternoon. You’ll be glad to have a light rain jacket/poncho, sunglasses, hat, and umbrella.

Peace Corps/Indonesia provides the following items:

  • Plain scarf
  • Portable mini fan
  • Bicycles (after PST)
  • Bike helmets (PST)
  • Life vest (PST)
  • Water filters for PCVs assigned in NTT (PST)
  • Libraries of work-related books and novels to borrow
  • Mosquito nets

Peace Corps staff will set up bank accounts and debit cards for each Trainee. Allowances will be deposited directly into these accounts, which you will access by debit card.

Peace Corps Indonesia provides allowances such as:

  • Phone and bank fee allowance (PST)
  • Settling-in allowance (in-service)
  • Living allowance (in-service)
  • Additional allowances (in-country travel, ground transportation, lodging, per diem, and leave allowance) (in-service)

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:

  • Pets
  • Weapons
  • Explosives
  • Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
  • Drones
  • Automobiles or motorcycles
  • Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
  • Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms

Drugs

Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), drones, automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hairspray, or aerosol containers.

Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.

Do not bring valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms.

Additional guidance for Peace Corps/Indonesia:

Below is guidance on clothing expectations and cultural norms for work as well as leisure and recreation.

Indonesians have high standards for personal appearance, especially for certain professions such as teachers. As professionals trained to be a teacher in Indonesia, Trainees and Volunteers are expected to dress and groom appropriately for their jobs. Remember, appropriate dress varies from town to village, so be sensitive to cultural expectations when working, traveling, and visiting other villages and the Peace Corps office.

Suggestive or offensive dress, as defined by local Indonesian customs, must be avoided. When in public, Trainees and Volunteers are expected to dress in a manner like that of teachers and community leaders. First impressions are long lasting and can impact not only the offending trainee or volunteer but potentially how other trainees or Volunteers or the Peace Corps Indonesia program is perceived overall. Trainees and Volunteers should be aware that inappropriate personal appearance can have serious consequences, including compromising their status and effectiveness in the community.

Work clothing

In school most teachers are required to wear uniforms or business attire that are:

- Non-see-through,

- Not tight-fitting,

- Covering upper arms and knees,

- Covering collar bone,

Schools typically provide uniforms for their full time teachers. If you are not provided uniforms, a batik shirt will be your safest bet. You will be able to buy batik fabrics in-country and have a tailor make/sew it to your own measurements. There are several tailors that are affordable and near your host families at PST or permanent sites. If not batik, then a regular professional/business casual outfit that fits the requirements above will do. Make sure your clothing is light and will not show too much sweat as it can get very hot at site.

During PST, you are required to wear appropriate business casual work clothing when visiting schools and doing practicums at schools and when meeting government partners at all levels. In special events like wedding parties or national holidays some host families or schools will require female Volunteers to wear “kebaya,” a traditional upper garment used for special occasions. Some may provide you with a kebaya, if not, you will need to buy the fabric and tailor it yourself.

Leisure and Recreational Clothing

During PST, for outing events with host family members, walk-arounds in the community, language classes, or exercise, you can wear casual dress such as t-shirts (not graphic T-shirts), pants that cover your knees, and sandals (including flip-flops or sport sandals). Casual outfits also apply at home, but still culturally appropriate: where your knees and upper arms are covered. For exercise, you will also want to avoid wearing tight-fitting sports outfits. Loose sports outfits are recommended.

Part of your training activities will include having cultural discussions with community leaders and facilitating community discussions, where you can wear business casual dress that includes polo shirts, pants that cover your knees, sneakers, or strap sandals.

For work clothing, you are required to wear closed-toed shoes at school. During PST, you will be doing a lot of walking, so bring durable and comfortable walking shoes and sports sandals. It may be more difficult to find shoes in Indonesia for those whose shoe size is bigger than size 11 or 12 (US), especially shoes for working/teaching.

You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.

Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.

See a detailed list of items included in the medical kit.

The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.

If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

See additional guidance from the Office of Medical Services.

You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps. Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.

See a detailed list of items included in the medical kit.

The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.

If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis. See additional guidance from the Office of Medical Services.

See additional guidance from the Office of Medical Services.

Additional guidance for Peace Corps/Indonesia:

Prior to your departure, it is essential to ensure you have an ample three-month stock of any prescribed or over-the-counter medications that are authorized by the Peace Corps. During Pre-Service Training (PST), you will be provided with a comprehensive medical kit, comprising over-the-counter medications and essential first aid supplies, enabling you to address minor health concerns independently, when appropriate. Additionally, towards the conclusion of PST, Volunteers will receive supplementary antibiotics and anti-malarial medication. Volunteers stationed in malaria-prone areas will be provided with anti-malarial medication accordingly. It's important to note that these antibiotics or anti-malarial, along with any other prescribed medication, should only be used under the direction of the Peace Corps Medical Officer (PCMO). Volunteers may request replenishment of their medical kits or prescribed medication through the Health Unit. If you wear glasses, it is advisable to bring two pairs with your current prescription. Furthermore, please promptly inform the Office of Health Services (OHS) of any new medical conditions not previously reported to the Peace Corps. Lastly, it's essential to be aware that Indonesia strictly prohibits the sale, personal possession, or trafficking of substances classified as 'drugs' or 'narcotics,' including certain recreational drugs or substances that may be legal in other countries, such as cannabis derivatives or prescription narcotics intended for legitimate use.

Electricity in Indonesia

Electricity in Indonesia is 230V, with a frequency of 50hz. Most power plugs and sockets in Indonesia are type C and F. Adapters can be bought in Indonesia.

If you wish your device to operate in Indonesia it is advisable for you to register to Indonesian Customs unless you plan to buy a new phone from Indonesia. More information regarding the registration will be provided in Pre-Departure Call.

Based on your interests and personal preferences there may be additional items you will want to consider bringing. Below is a description of the common activities Volunteers engage in and recommendations from Volunteers on items that might be more difficult to find in-country. Note: these items are not required or even recommended, but they may be nice to have:

  1. If you like weight exercise, bringing elastic bands might be helpful because there is no gym near the PST site. There might be gym options at permanent sites, or you can invest once here in buying some weights (dumbbells, kettlebells), which can be done through sports shop website or e-commerce apps.
  2. If you like playing sports, many sports are available in Indonesia, but tennis balls and American footballs are hard to find, so you can bring your own if you want to teach some people at sites to play those games. You can also bring a frisbee, American football or hacky sack, which you can use to play during PST or at permanent site. Regular soccer or bouncy balls may be purchased in-country.
  3. If you like camping, bringing a hammock or some camping gear is a good idea.
  4. A portable microfiber towel for going to the beach, swimming, or use at home
  5. 3-4 microfiber quick-drying full-size towels are essential to dry off after showering/mandi and other activities
  6. E-reader
  7. Stock up on American-style deodorant if desired, it is not available in-country.
  8. Waterproof backpack / travel bag
  9. A good walk-around bag that can hold a water bottle, wallet, and a few other amenities
  10. Extendable umbrella
  11. A comfortable poncho
  12. Multi-tool (pack in your checked bag)
  13. Power bank with cable to charge on the go
  14. Some jeans shorts and sleeveless shirts for vacation outside of your community