Insight | Yogyakarta: An Abundant Youngster City of “Coffee Shops”?

“Go to a coffee shop. Sit by the bar with the glass windows and look out. Look at all the people running to catch a train. All the girls with one too many shopping bags. All the couples too in love to care. Then you’ll see it – a bit of yourself in everyone. And somehow, sitting alone in a coffee shop had never felt so good.”

Yogyakarta is a city of students. If compared with the Netherlands, we can safely say that Yogyakarta is Indonesia’s Groningen. Blessed with a huge number of schools, academies and universities, Yogyakarta is a very vibrant city with 24% of its citizens consisting of youngsters. Almost in every road of Yogyakarta, you’ll find buildings made for educational purposes. At noon, the streets of Yogyakarta are packed with students in uniforms coming back home after a long day of school. Students in a higher educational institution can also easily be spotted packing burjos–cheap canteens that can be found everywhere in Yogyakarta. In short, Yogyakarta is a very warm city, with youngsters setting their own peculiar pace.

If there is one thing I like more in Yogyakarta rather than Jakarta–my birthplace and hometown, is the conducive atmosphere the city offers. Yogyakarta is a student-friendly city: not too much malls and/or entertainment spots for students to stray during their studies, but more than enough to satisfy their needs of entertainment and/or refuge from those boring daily tasks; not too metropolis, but also cannot be considered as a rural city; prices are relatively cheap so students are assured that the living cost in Yogyakarta is way cheaper than Jakarta; and also the fact that one of the founding fathers of Indonesia’s educational system right now, Ki Hadjar Dewantara, started his movement at this very city. Frankly, we can agree that Yogyakarta is a city very welcoming to students.

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The enormity of students here attracts a few (a lot!) of people who try and bet their luck in Yogyakarta’s pace. Cheap restaurants sprung out one by one, selling food with the best price anyone can offer; snack vendors selling unique and tempting snacks to snack during a brief session of snacking during study break (or while studying); malls opening everywhere, placing reliable vendors which matches the youngsters’ psychology of wanting to see new and taste new and feel new and not to forget, places selling itself by installing a state of the art technology students cannot live without right now: the WiFi.

WiFi has revolved to become one of the most essential things for the citizens of the world. Unlimited access to the web opens up great possibilities: today, the internet is not only used to speed up data gathering or even brainstorming but also is used as a very entertaining sort of entertainment. One by one, social medias appear, each selling their own unique way of communicating. Isn’t that what social medias really are: a platform based on the internet which offers its users to communicate to one another using its own unique way? Well, anyway. We have experienced the birth of the troublesome cord-cable we first used to connect to the web. Afterwards, technology did its job by introducing the cordless modem which users can bring anywhere. Lastly, we know something we (or at least I) can’t lie without: the WiFi.

Restaurants and cafes all over Yogyakarta are racing against themselves to provide optimum service to their customers, one of them is by placing a WiFi thingy from which customers are free to access as long as they know the username and password which usually can be found on the receipt after buying something somewhere. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. We are not only going to analyze why does the WiFi contribute so much in shifting the habit of Indonesian youngsters, but we will also discuss a very interesting topic regarding the appearance of several coffee shops all around Yogyakarta, build and made to accommodate Yogyakarta’s youngsters’ thirst of socializing and unsocializing.

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Upon the many places where a secure WiFi connection can be found in Yogyakarta, students here have the tendency to choose coffee shops and/or cafes rather than other public spaces such as university grounds and libraries. The reason for this is more than what meets the eye: aside from the beverages and food served, coffee shops and cafes give a sense of serenity and also serendipity to those who truly enjoy their time being there. Students are often spotted in groups working off their assignments in such places, but you won’t be surprised realizing that there are those who dare sit alone for a long time, just ordering one or two shots of things to be consumed. Here we can see the “what’s more than meets the eye” reasoning: you don’t only go to these places in order to get a WiFi connection, but because there are other specific reasons so.

What are those reasons then? Check out the next post to find out why!

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