Indonesia SST 2022 – an adventure in a COVID World

Welcome to our Indonesia SST 2022 blog, we’re glad you’re here! One of the first questions you might have is – “Why do your photos look like they are NOT from Indonesia?”. This fearless group of Goshen College students is embarking on their SST experience amongst a world complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we are in the process or procuring passports to Indonesia.

Goshen students getting ready to drive from Indiana to Philadelphia…in a snowstorm!

So, our Indonesia experience has started somewhere you might not expect – in Philadelphia! Goshen College has partnered with the Taproot Program – a program housed at the Philadelphia Praise Center – to bring students to a very special immigrant Indonesian community in the heart of Southern Philadelphia. That is why Goshen College students drove across the country, in the snow, to begin their 2022 Indonesian SST experience.

First we got to know the city, learned how to get around on public transit, and got to know each other a bit more!

sites all around Philadelphia

We then settled into our coursework. Students have been working at placements in organizations across the city:

SEAMAAC – (Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition), provides a wide array of direct services to the Southeast Asian community in Philadelphia and takes an active approach to building community leadership through education, organizing and advocacy. Connor and Caroline will help with their food pantry distribution every Monday and Tuesday

VietLead – is a grassroots Vietnamese community organization. Antoinette and Brady will work asynchronously on Mondays and Tuesdays on a digital Southeast Asian deportation timeline project and on digitizing their youth organizing curriculum. They will also be invited to join some youth organizing meetings on Zoom at other times.

Modero – is a community-based dance group. Courtney and Lydia will help Sinta, the founder, as needed in community organizing projects on Mondays and Tuesdays, and with the dance class at Fleischer on Wednesdays

PPC Community Care – is a network of people who help provide support to the local Indonesian community. This could be anything from food distribution to patching holes in a ceiling to accompanying someone to their doctor’s appointment. Leah, Aurelio, Aiden, and Benjamin will be helping with various projects located at 3 Indonesian churches and a mosque every Monday and Tuesday

In addition we have had a chance to continue our Indonesian language class remotely, enjoy cultural lectures from Indonesia via video lecture, and participate in lectures, guest speakers, and field trips right here within the Indonesian community in Philly. For example, food is very important in many cultures – and the people of Indonesia are no exception! We were fortunate to visit a local shop that sells a grand assortment of Indonesian snacks as well as eat from Hardena – a local Indonesian restaurant with a beautiful mural detailing the cultures of Indonesia.

A special part of our experience here in Philly is that students get to live with an Indonesian host family, even though they are in Philadelphia. This allows students to assimilate into Indonesian culture and practice their language skills even while they are here in the USA. Students also take part in special cultural events as part of their host family – including Chinese New Year!

We have had a full week of settling in, getting to know our surroundings, and moving full speed ahead with placements and curriculum this week. We are grateful for wonderful community partners and a special community here in southern Philadelphia.