Courtney Saville (Semester 27/Aug 2008 & Semester 28/Feb 2009), an ACICIS alumni who completed her program in Yogyakarta, was selected as one of the recipients of Hamer Scholarship from the Victorian Government earlier this year. After three years of working, she decided to leave her job for studying Indonesian at the Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta again in June 2015. This time, her partner, Michael, came along with her to Yogyakarta. As a painter, Michael spent most of his time in Yogyakarta painting for a collaboration exhibition named Exhibition 15 at the Flinders Lane Gallery.

In an interview she recently had with ABC Radio Australia, she expressed her surprise in the changes that have happened both in Yogyakarta and within herself. She said:

Indonesia tidak seperti yang saya bayangkan. Saya hampir tak percaya banyaknya perubahan di sana, dari mobil, kemacetan, jumlah penduduk, bahkan katanya ada lebih 70 hotel baru. Sudah lama sejak saya berkuliah di sini, dan saya melihat perubahan besar. Lihat saja sistem di Universitas, perkuliahan kini tidak hanya diisi dengan pengajaran dari dosen.

Saya juga terkejut dengan perubahan yang terjadi dalam diri saya. Pengalaman saya di Indonesia kali ini lebih dilihat dari kacamata sebagaio orang dewasa, yang telah melalui percakapan kompleks, seseorang yang ingin mengeksplor masalah-masalah sensitif, yang ingin menemukan hubungan dari apa yang saya lihat dengan yang pernah dipikirkan. Bahkan saat sedang memesan nasi telor atau es jeruk untuk sarapan dari warung jalanan.”

“Indonesia turned out to be different from my expectation. I almost could not believe how much Yogyakarta has changed – from the cars, the traffic, population, and I even heard that there have been more than 70 new hotels recently built here. It has been a while since I studied here, and I have seen a big change. The university system, for instance, no longer consists of solely lectures from the lecturers.

I am also surprised by the change within myself. My experience in Indonesia this time is mostly seen through the lens of an adult, who has encountered various complex conversations, someone who is eager to explore sensitive issues, and who wants to find the connection between what I see and what I think. Even when I simply order some rice with eggs or orange juice for breakfast at one of the street warungs.”

Her experience in Yogyakarta this time has given her new perspectives, more skills and she has been exposed to more cultural learning as she visits the places she did not get to see before.

To read more about Courtney’s new experience in Indonesia, please read the full article at ABC Radio Australia.