As a first year Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Arts student I knew I wanted to become an Indonesian and PE teacher. However, I was unaware of the range of opportunities and experiences available to me at Flinders and where my degree could take me. Opportunities within my Indonesian topics such as participating in puppet making workshops, gamelan lessons and attending concerts in the Pendopo are some of my most memorable experiences on campus. Other really valuable learning experiences included a two week leadership role as part of an Outdoor Education school camp in the Grampians, and my prac placement in the remote Aboriginal community of Mimili in the APY Lands. Having the opportunity to extend my experiences further and undertake an exchange to Indonesia has been the ultimate highlight of my studies at Flinders. My experience living in Yogyakarta was incredible. Studying at an Indonesian university and undertaking a prac placement in an Indonesian all boys school proved to be a challenging and slightly daunting, yet exceptionally rewarding learning experience. I can now say that I have taught a class of 40 year 10 boys PE in Indonesian. I made new friends, established important networks for the future and learnt a lot about Indonesian culture and language. Now here I am preparing for my honours and second exchange to Indonesia – excited, curious and ready to make the most of a new and exciting challenge.
Completion of the ACICIS six-week internship program during my law degree has been fantastic for my international experience. I have drawn upon this placement time and time again for a variety of legal applications such as native title-based roles and potential opportunities at the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Notably my internship at Indonesia Corruption Watch has proven to be a great talking point in clerkship interviews.
While one semester hardly feels like enough time to immerse ourselves into such a land of diverse culture, amazing people, a different and at times confusing language, our semester with ACICIS has provided us with a solid introduction to Indonesia. We were all presented with challenges during our time in Yogya, but these challenges along with the incredible opportunities, experiences and friends we made provided us with amazing learning experiences where we were able to learn more about ourselves and the culture and lives of our neighbours in Indonesia. We tried some delicious food such as Tempe, Ayam Bakar/Goreng, and Gudeg... some not so nice foods like Durian... and some plain weird dishes such as Chocolate and Cheese-covered everything! Having the opportunity to live in-country enabled us to build upon our 'text book' language, both within and outside the classroom. From the moment we woke up in the mornings we would sometimes find ourselves thinking in Indonesian and we would make our way through the day while eating, going to class, shopping and chatting - all in Indonesian!
During my undergraduate degree I decided I would study in Indonesia through the ACICIS program. This was an utterly life-changing experience. For six months I lived and studied in Jogjakarta with other Australian students and (of course) many Indonesian students. My language skills improved tremendously, building on the solid understanding of the structure of the language that I gained through classes at Flinders. I have made life-long friends, both Indonesian and Australian, and have returned to Indonesia twice since that time for holiday and study. Some of the best memories of my life are from that experience.