Sweet Briar College junior Corinne Adams of Acton, Mass., is preparing to spend her summer helping to prevent domestic violence as an intern at a women’s crisis center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Adams, who is majoring in English and creative writing with a minor in government, won the competitive grant from the Freeman Indonesian Non-profit Internship Program, which is sponsored by the Freeman Foundation and the Institute of International Education. Ten American students were chosen for internships at non-profit organizations related to their fields of choice. The sponsors cover all of the costs of traveling and staying in Indonesia.
The fields applicants could select from were broad — in Adams’ case, she chose education because it aligns with her long-term goal of developing education projects in post-conflict areas. She didn’t expect to be working in a women’s crisis center and anticipates it will be an “eye-opening experience.”
But it wasn’t learning where she was going that came as a shock, she said.
“I guess I had no real preconceived notions about where I was going to be placed, so the assignment at Rifka Annisa wasn’t too much of a surprise,” Adams said. “Honestly, at the time, I was far more surprised that I was accepted into the program at all! Naturally, I went immediately to their website and was hugely impressed by their work in the area. It seems to me like they’re taking exactly the right approach by educating women and men about domestic violence.”
The center addresses domestic violence through outreach, counseling for men and women and other educational initiatives. In addition to the internship, Adams will study Indonesian culture and language at Sanata Dharma University, where all of the program’s students are housed. The internship runs nine weeks, from June 15 through Aug. 13.
Adams said she’s been eager to return to Southeast Asia since visiting Thailand in high school, but Indonesia holds particular interest for her. One of the world’s major — and growing — economies, it’s also one of the most populous countries and is home to more Muslims than any other nation. Religious extremism is one of the many issues it confronts.
“As the country grows on the global stage, it is increasingly essential that Americans understand the potential that exists in this region, and how to deal with the inherent problems of such a massive and diverse country,” Adams said. “This is why the Freeman Foundation and the Institute of International Education are investing in students who are willing to know more about the region.”
In a roundabout way, Adams learned about the grant from professor of religion John Goulde, who directs Asian studies at Sweet Briar. He alerted the dean’s office to the program and it eventually was suggested to Adams through career services. Goulde, who teaches Adams in his religion and U.S. law course, looked over her completed application and found it “perfect,” he said.
“I am absolutely certain that she will do a great job, learn a lot, and do great work as a volunteer.”