In July 2023, ACICIS was very pleased to host 22 students from 8 Australian universities for winter Public Health Study Tour (PHST). The majority have been awarded mobility grants through the Australian Government New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program. This winter iteration ran from 1 – 15 July 2023 and was led once again by Dr Emily Rowe, who have been overseeing both the virtual and in-country iterations of PHST numerous time as the Tour Leader.

The tour started with an orientation session provided by ACICIS Staff to give them an overview of Indonesian public health and culture. Then the tour was officially opened with an opening ceremony by the host university, the Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia (FPH UI).

As part of the requirements, students had to attend seminar series presented by numerous remarkable speakers throughout the tour in Depok and Yogyakarta. These included experts from the Faculty of Public Health UI and other related faculties in UI, as well as government representative and field experts. In the seminar series, the students were able to discuss public health challenges with frontline workers in Indonesia. They also learned more about how the country’s NGOs – such as Samsara and Rifka Annisa – can fit-in in combating gender-based violence and empowering women.

Besides the seminars, the students also had the chance to have field visits in the Tour. The students visited, among others, Universitas Indonesia hospital, waste management sites in Bogor, YAKKUM rehabilitation centre in Yogyakarta, Code riversite community in Yogyakarta; Puskesmas, a government-mandated community health centre; and Posyandu, a community-based health centre for children’s early development.

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 and challenges in Indonesia.

In addition, the students had cultural field trips to break the ice of their compact study during the Tour. They paid a visit to Setu Babakan Betawi, a cultural village in Depok West Java and learned to make mini ondel-ondel, a traditional puppet; and kerak telor; a traditional food from Betawi. In Yogyakarta, the second and last city that they visited in the Tour, they also had a chance to channel their inner creativities by learning to make Batik, a traditional clothing technique, and brought home their batik creation as a souvenir from Indonesia.

At the end of the first and second week, the students delivered academic presentations and recommendations on various public health topics that they had learnt throughout the week. The presentations were graded by the tour leader and lecturers from UI. The tour was wrapped up with a closing lunch. A mini award session was also held to appreciate the students’ enthusiasm in the Tour. To mark the end of the tour, students enjoyed a traditional dance performance by Sanggar Tari Kusuma Aji, a local dance studio in Yogyakarta.

We hope the students enjoyed the program as much as we did and came home with memorable experience, invaluable knowledge, and long-lasting friendship. We wish the students good luck in their future endeavours and hopefully our path will cross again in the future. Sampai jumpa lagi!