Jakarta, Indonesia – Quite the “Adventure”

June 2018 | By Lisa Russell

Students interning this summer in the Sudreau Global Justice Program received a student handbook with all necessary information regarding the program and the country they are visiting. My handbook was titled “Adventurer,” and boy that is exactly what my time in Jakarta has felt like, an ADVENTURE!

Only one student before me has ever come to Jakarta, Indonesia through the Global Justice Program. So, in a sense, he (last year) and I (this year) are paving the way for what will hopefully lead to students coming here for years to come and making a significant, even if small, impact on the future of Jakarta and its justice system.

The reason I say my time here has been an adventure is because I dived right into a foreign country without knowing the language, people, customs, or foods for that matter, and have just had to figure it out. Which is, to be honest, part of the fun! Will my taxi ever arrive? Not sure. Will I get sick if I eat this? Maybe. Does this person understand what I’m saying? Probably not. But having to figure things out and make them happen are the very things that make this adventure fun while at the same time providing me with, what I feel, will be life experiences that are priceless and built tenacity and character.

My roles so far in Jakarta are twofold: I am assisting Professor Patrick Talbot, a Professor of Law at Pelita Harapan University, with his compilation of anti-human trafficking laws and I am also assisting Mardian Budadjaja with the Indonesian Christian Legal Society: Perhimpunan Profesi Hukum Kristiani Indonesia (“PPHKI”) by researching Juvenile Law in Indonesia and by speaking to current law students in Indonesia about my experience as a law student in America.

The aim of my research with Juvenile Law is to gather a compilation and the historical progression of Juvenile Law in Indonesia so that PPHKI can train paralegals to assist juveniles who often do not receive proper legal representation because attorneys rarely take cases since either the juvenile’s family cannot afford one, there is not much money in it for the attorney, or attorneys do not have an interest in helping the juveniles. PPHKI has an aim to train paralegals to be the support juveniles need, with the end goal of better rehabilitation opportunities for juveniles and for juveniles to also get fair justice they deserve. I will write a later post about the depths of corruption that exist in the government and judicial system here, but I have learned from several Indonesians that the corruption is very real.

My other role with PPHKI this Summer will be to speak to Indonesian law students about my experience as a student in America, and specifically how I (and we at Pepperdine) interweave our Christian faith and beliefs into our work as future attorneys practicing law. PPHKI is hoping to thwart corruption in the legal field by starting with the youth.

I usually spend my days at Mardiana’s office – Lawyerindo. My co-workers in the office are so amazingly kind, warm, friendly, and have accepted me as one of their own. We eat lunch together. They invited me to the office outing to have dinner and see an Indonesian film, Lima. The girls in the office even told me to where a white shirt and jeans on Fridays to match them. I have been blessed to be put in such good hands during this “adventure.”