Let’s Hear Their Stories

Korea-Indonesia Forest Center (KIFC) is a forestry cooperation center under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) and the Korea Forest Service (KFS) that is responsible for facilitating and implementing Korea-Indonesia joint forestry cooperation in Indonesia.

KIFC believes in the capacity of youth to contribute to developing the center’s activities and accelerate positive actions in the forestry sector. The center would like to give opportunities to youth to enhance their experiences, skills, and expand networks that will be able to improve their capacity through an internship program.

Exactly 12 years ago when I was still in elementary school, I remember every Thursday I will be busy reading ‘Bobo’, a weekly kids magazine. It once covered a story about the UNFCCC COP 13 that was held in Bali and suddenly this thought just popped in my head “I’ll be there someday!”. As a kid, the idea of participating in a meeting with country leaders to talk about the solution to save our Earth was very cool. At that time, I don’t even understand what climate change or Bali Roadmap is. But while I studied forestry and this subject was discussed in lectures, it awakens the 9-year-old girl inside me. From that moment on, I knew that I want to do something (or anything) to preserve the forests by focusing on forest governance, international forestry cooperation, and its policy aspect.

While we all know that it is nearly impossible for a recent graduate like me to get directly involved in international cooperation processes, I believe there must be some places where I can get a little taste of how it is done. That’s when I learned about the Korea-Indonesia Forest Center’s (KIFC) Student Internship Program. This was my second attempt to enter the internship program at KIFC. I applied for it in 2020, when I was already working on my undergraduate thesis, but I was turned down. So, as soon as I read the email that says, “We are glad to inform you that your application has been accepted by our organization…”, I let out a joyful yell.

During my 3 months internship, I got more than I expected. KIFC took the ‘youth and millennials generation’ seriously in the operations of the center. Contrary to popular belief, interns are fully integrated into the center’s activities, rather than being assigned tasks such as preparing morning coffee or operating the copy machine. We may openly express our views during meetings and share our ideas or concerns with the team members. I will strongly advise any final year students or recent graduates to apply for this internship program because the working environment at KIFC is diverse, pro-growth, and upbeat. This internship program will also be a huge help to recent graduates as they begin to shape their careers.

Arifah Hidayati (Universitas Gadjah Mada)

My role in KIFC is to support the center’s operation and make it a recognized center for cooperative development of the forestry sector. I work directly with the organization team and participate in meetings and visits related to the center’s operation. During this month’s KIFC internship, I developed active listening, planning, and hard skills. I mainly participated in several KIFC meetings related to the organization’s projects, visited Lampung, made meeting minutes, compiled and understood their projects, and even learned how to control drones.

Internships include many duties required to run bilateral cooperation. There are different situations every day, and I have the opportunity to make my own decisions and learn from successes and failures. The internship is a valuable experience, and I think it prepares me for my career. When applying and analyzing future opportunities, I will consider both the positive and negative aspects of the internship. Although I have much helpful experience in KIFC, I still need to pass tests to improve my confidence level. I will have more time to assist and evaluate the work of the organization.

My internship has allowed me to see more about the field of forestry and the environment than I can learn in class. I have developed many skills and have a much more significant concept of what to expect after college. My internship has given me a greater understanding of what I have learned in class and had the chance to apply it to real situations. One of the most significant benefits I have received is knowing that I enjoy doing what I have learned.

In short, my experiences of working at KIFC are crucial to my development as a forest protector and environmentalist. I will learn the courses and skills I have learned and apply them to the forestry and environmental sectors.

Afrisal Isfan Abdillah (IPB University)