Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I travel to Indonesia after every university semester for a mini holiday. I love Indonesia, just like home.
I wished to take the opportunity and view Indonesia from a perspective other than in holiday mode and gain real life versus textbook experience within the public health sector. I wanted to experience being with the people and feel the way they lived.
The opportunity to partake in the ACICIS Public Study Tour also granted 25 credit points towards my degree.
Q: What did you find to be the most challenging about your experience on the PHST?
The Public Health Study Tour is intensive with many activities to complete within the two-week time frame. I exercised daily and was conscious of choosing foods that contained a nutritional value as quality foods were not always available.
Taking an excursion to the waste management disposal in Yogyakarta was the most difficult. The tip smelt so bad. The lack of worker safety regulations and the disposal regulations overall were not good.
For the waste management excursion, I learned that I should not have worn any quality corporate clothing, including shoes as requested. It would have been more appropriate to wear clothing that can be washed or disposed of once soiled, especially after slipping over. You will understand after viewing a few pictures.
There are current challenges related to Indonesian public health (like child smoking or sex workers permitted to work post-HIV diagnosis, for example) that could have greater government focus and applied budget. At times it was hard to comprehend the lack of policy enforcement, especially within the health sector. Even if policies were enforced slowly and over time, I learned that this would still benefit Indonesians and their future health outcomes.