Opening 2023 with hopeful expectations, ACICIS welcomed 36 students from 9 Australian universities for Public Health Study Tour (PHST). Thirty-one of them are fortunate to obtain New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program from the Australian Government. This January cohort ran from 14 – 28 January 2023 and was conducted once again by Dr Emily Rowe as the tour leader.

The tour was opened with orientations provided by ACICIS Staff on 14 January to give them an overview of Indonesian public health and culture. Then the tour was officially opened with an opening ceremony convened by the  Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia (FPH UI). Prof Sabarinah Prasetyo, the representative of the FPH UI, and Dr Emily Rowe kindly welcomed the students to the tour.

As part of the requirements, students must attend seminar series presented by numerous remarkable speakers throughout the tour in Depok and Yogyakarta. These included experts from the Health Administration and Policy Departement and the History Department of UI. 

During the seminar series, the students were able to discuss COVID-19 with frontline workers in Indonesia. They also learned more about how the country’s NGOs – with Samsara and Rifka Annisa – can address the issue of gender-based violence.

Besides the seminars, the students also had the chance to have field visits throughout the tour. The students visited public hospitals in Jakarta and Bogor, a rehabilitation centre in Yogyakarta, waste management in Bogor, puskesmas as well as posyandu in Yogyakarta, and the list goes on. They also visited Kebaya Foundation in Yogyakarta, an NGO and non-profit organisation, that acts as a shelter for people with HIV/AIDS and LGBTQIA+ community to aid, empower, and give them the support system they deserve. The goal of these field visits was to provide the students with an opportunity to experience the public health system of Indonesia. In addition, the students had cultural field trips to break the ice of their compact study during the tour. They had the chance to visit Setu Babakan Betawi Cultural Village in Depok and learned to make mini ondel-ondel and kerak telor, a traditional puppet and food of Betawi culture. In Yogyakarta, they went to Kotagede Heritage Trail and learned about the traditional village and local history of Yogyakarta.

The students delivered academic presentations, which the tour leader and the lecturer from UI reviewed. Then, there was a mini-awarding session for some of the chosen participants. Sanggar Tari Kusuma Aji, a local dance studio, performed for the students to mark the end of the tour.

The entire team of the tour is very grateful to the students for their participation and for making the trip a memorable experience. We wish them the best in their future endeavours.