Following the success of the pilot iteration of Monash Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) at the beginning of 2019, Monash University’s Faculty of Arts in collaboration with ACICIS held GIG Block 2 in December 2019 and GIG Block 3 in January 2020. This is a fully-funded program, ground-breaking overseas study experience for all first year Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Global Studies and related double degree students.

ACICIS welcomed a total of 55 Monash students (25 students for GIG Block 2 in December 2019 and 30 students for GIG Block 3 in January 2020) from the Faculty of Arts to join the two-week program. During the program, students spent the first week in Yogyakarta hosted by Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and Lembaga Bahasa Sanata Dharma (LB USD). They then headed to Jakarta to spend the second week hosted by Atma Jaya University. This program was also supported by notable organisations such as the Australia-Indonesia Centre (AIC) and the Australia- Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) Yogyakarta Chapter. Accompanying the students were two Monash staff representatives, Yacinta Kurniasih and Titis Pratiwi.

During the first week in Yogyakarta, the students were introduced to Indonesian language and cultures through Indonesian language classes at LB USD. The students also attended a series of seminars presented by experts from UGM. The topics of the seminar series included contemporary Indonesian history, culture, politics, society, sustainable and ethical tourism, environment, renewable energy, community development, water security, and public health. Monash University and ACICIS also collaborated with local communities and NGOs for the fieldtrips to Kali Code, the World Mosquito Program, Rumah Energi, UGM Algae Program, and Bumi Langit. Students also visited some historical and cultural sites such as Prambanan and Kota Gede as part of their cultural learning experience. The Yogyakarta tour was concluded with a networking and sports event with AIYA Yogyakarta, where the students met young Indonesians and young Australians who were studying in Yogyakarta, and played some local sports, such as Gobak Sodor and Balap Karung. What a blast!

In their final week of the program in Jakarta, hosted by Atma Jaya University, the students gained more insight about water security in Indonesia in relevance to the sinking Jakarta and rainwater harvesting. They also learned about Indonesian politics, community development, and global challenges through seminars, workshops, and field visits. The students visited the Australian Embassy to get deeper understanding on Australia-Indonesia relationships and opportunities for young people in the partnerships. In addition, the Indonesian director of AIC, Kevin Evans, presented a seminar on ‘Indonesia Today: Introduction to Politics and Society in Indonesia’. We also collaborated with a local NGO in Bekasi, Waste4Change, to learn more about waste management for the better environment. In Jakarta, students also had the chance to visit a historical place, Kota Tua. The activities in Jakarta were concluded with presentations from the students on the issues they had learned during the two-week tour and proposed some solutions to overcome the issues. In the evening, Atma Jaya University held a memorable farewell event where the students, both from Monash University and Atma Jaya University, presented music and dance performances.

We would like to congratulate all students on the completion of the program and to thank Monash University’s Faculty of Arts for giving us the opportunity to help run the Global Immersion Guarantee program in Indonesia. We look forward to working with Monash University on the future GIG iterations!