In January 2019, ACICIS welcomed 7 students to Bandung to undertake our International Relations Program (IRP) and West Java Field Study (WJFS) hosted by Parahyangan Catholic University (UNPAR). The Semester 48 Bandung cohort was supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.

ACICIS’ IRP allows students to study International Relations from an Indonesian perspective and offers a professional placement (internship) component with a local host organisation which students take alongside their classes. This semester, 5 students opted to undertake the internship component. They were involved in their host organisations’ on-going projects in social research, environmental sustainability, education, or resilience studies.

Three IRP students were placed with Resilience Development Initiative (RDI), a Bandung-based think-thank that focuses on disaster relief, sustainable development and environmental sustainability issues. Preston Branton (Murdoch University), Katrina Scaramella (Australian National University), and Rochelle Shahfazli (Macquarie University) each conducted research on one of RDI’s key areas of focus. Towards the end of their internship period, the students each produced a research paper and delivered their findings to their colleagues at RDI.

James Moore (University of Western Sydney) had the opportunity to intern with Yayasan AKATIGA, a local not-for-profit research organisation that focuses on social issues and influencing policy. James assisted with summarising the organisation’s current research and he also went on a field trip with AKATIGA to observe the process of rice planting.

ACICIS’ WJFS allows students to propose, refine, and undertake a semester-long field study project under the guidance of a nominated UNPAR supervisor. WJFS students may also choose to undertake an internship or additional classes alongside their thesis.

This semester, our three WJFS students examined diverse issues in West Java, such as environmental sustainability, gender equality and Indonesian politics.

Aleesha Hanczakowski (Murdoch University) completed a thesis entitled “Disaster Capitalism in Jakarta Bay’s Sinking Communities: The development, privatization and reclamation exploiting vulnerable communities” after travelling across West Java to observe the life of urban fishermen and research their opinions on bay privatisation and reclamation.

Natha Middlemas (Murdoch University) explored community perspectives on gender equality in West Java in her thesis entitled “The Impact of Education Background in Shaping Perceptions of Gender Equality: An Intersectional Analysis”. Natha’s thesis examines how education helps women to achieve equal opportunities in order to enjoy a better standard of living and status within their communities.

Gavin Height’s (La Trobe University) thesis, “The Effects of the 2019 Simultaneous Elections on Indonesian Electoral Politics”, examined Indonesian’s perceptions of how electoral politics take place in Indonesia. In his thesis, Gavin explored how Indonesian society’s perspectives and expectations of the 2019 elections were higher than for elections in previous years.

Besides joining academic activities, the students also participated in cultural events, playing angklung and making batik. They were really excited to take part in these activities. At the batik workshop, each student was asked to produce a piece using the patterns provided and to add their own names into the design. They were thrilled to be able to take their finished batik to their loved ones back in Australia.

ACICIS closed the semester with a farewell dinner where students and ACICIS staff enjoyed a delicious and traditional Indonesian meal while sharing their experiences of studying in Bandung. UNPAR also held another special farewell dinner with ACICIS students where UNPAR wished the best for all of their students in the future. ACICIS is beyond proud of what the students have achieved this semester! We wish the anak-anak Bandung the best of luck for their future endeavours and beyond. Sampai jumpa di lain kesempatan!