ACICIS was thrilled to welcome 18 students from 7 Australian universities for Public Health Study Tour (PHST) in Indonesia in November-December 2022. This is the first in-country Tour since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020! Out of 18 students, 16 received New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility grants from the Australian Government.

The tour started in late November 2022 with the orientation sessions provided by ACICIS staff to give the students an overall view of the program and of Indonesia, including the public health sector and its culture. The tour was then officially opened with an opening ceremony held by the Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia (FPH UI). Professor Sabarinah Prasetyo, the representative of the FPH UI, Dr Adrian Budiman, the ACICIS Resident Director, and Dr Emily Rowe, the Tour leader welcomed the students in the occasion.

In the program, students attended a series of seminars presented by notable speakers throughout the program. These included experts from the Indonesian Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs and the FPH UI. They also had the chance to meet and discuss COVID-19 in Indonesia from the perspective of frontline workers. In addition, the students also attended a session with Samsara and Rifka Annisa to learn how NGOs in Indonesia fit-in in combating gender-based violence and empowering women.

Besides the seminars, the students also had multiple field visits in Bogor, Jakarta and Yogyakarta. They went to a waste management site, public hospitals, Code riverside, YAKKUM Rehabilitation Center, World Mosquito ProgramPuskesmas, a government-mandated community health centre, and Posyandu, a community-based health centre for children’s early development among others. These field visits were designed so the students were able to immerse and firsthand experience the Indonesia’s public health system after what they had learnt and cultivated from the seminar series. Students also had some leisure time to enjoy Bogor Botanical Gardens and to go to a Batik workshop in Yogyakarta where they made Batik on a scarf as a souvenir from Indonesia.

The tour was concluded with academic presentations from the students, graded by the tour leader and a lecturer from UI following by a closing ceremony in which students were able to enjoy a traditional dance performed by Sanggar Tari Kusuma Aji, a local dance studio from Yogyakarta. A mini award session was also held to appreciate the students’ enthusiastic participation during the tour. We hope the students enjoyed the program as much as we did and came home with experience that they will always cherish. We wish the students good luck in their future endeavours and hopefully our path will cross again in the future.