In August 2018, ACICIS welcomed 18 students to Bandung to undertake our International Relations Program (IRP) and West Java Field Study (WJFS) hosted by Parahyangan Catholic University (UNPAR). The Semester 47 Bandung cohort was one of ACICIS’ largest, with 12 students supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan.
ACICIS’ IRP allows students to study International Relations from the Indonesian perspective and offers a professional placement (internship) component with a local host organisation, which students take alongside their classes. This semester, 13 students opted to undertake the internship component – they were involved in their hosts’ on-going projects, focusing on various areas such as social research, environment, education, child protection and resilience studies.
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 elect to undertake an internship or additional classes alongside their thesis.
Five students had their placements in a Bandung-based local think-tank focusing on disaster relief and sustainable development, the Resilience Development Initiative (RDI). Nathan Harper (Curtin University), Tamara Verus (University of New South Wales), Thomas Sullivan (RMIT University), Lucy Bongiovanni (RMIT University), and Isabella Neal-Shaw (University of Sydney) each conducted research on a topic within RDI’s scope of focus and by the end of their internship period, the students each produced a research paper and delivered their findings to their colleagues at RDI.
Katie Koranda (Murdoch University) and Emily Lynch (Monash University) had the opportunity to intern with the Greeneration Foundation, a local NGO working on environmental issues. They worked with the organisation’s media division on producing several creative campaigns on waste reduction and sustainability for social media.
Also interning in environment, Jessica Moseley (Murdoch University) had her professional placement with the Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Bioteknologi (YPBB) an NGO focused on environmental issues and sustainability. YPBB’s goal is to achieve a zero-waste city by advocating for environmental policies to be implemented locally and nationally. Jessica assisted with research, presentations, and creating campaigns.
Save the Children, an NGO focused on child issues, hosted Madeline Feledy (University of Sydney) and Liam Wilson (RMIT University) this semester. Madeline was assigned to the organisation’s gender equality campaign, where she designed a board game aiming to subvert gender stereotyping. Madeline was inspired by and adapted the spirit of women’s education for women’s liberation from Indonesia’s feminist icon, Kartini. Meanwhile, Liam worked with the NGO’s campaign on road safety, where he assisted their research by writing a literature review on the issue. He also had the opportunity to join their preliminary data collection in Tasikmalaya, West Java.
Nathan Tempra (Murdoch University) and John Dooley (University of Sydney) completed their internship with Yayasan AKATIGA, a local non-profit research organisation focusing on social issues and policy recommendations. Nathan assisted with summarising the organisation’s current research, including a project on small enterprises. Meanwhile, John, a WJFS student, had the opportunity to speak at AKATIGA’s monthly discussion. John discussed youth education and employment with other AKATIGA’s researchers, which was in line with his field study topic.
Asha Harinesh (University of Western Australia) had the opportunity to channel her passion and knowledge of languages by interning with Interkultural Edukasi Partner (IEP), an institution providing language programs. She was assigned with teaching English as a second language to elementary school students and IEP staff. Asha also took up the challenge of testing her Bahasa Indonesia skill when tasked with translating various Indonesian folklores and legends to English.
Three WJFS students also concluded their field study this semester, examining diverse issues in West Java, including food security, drug issues, and vocational education.
Amber Perez-Wright (University of Tasmania) finished her report entitled “Increasing Resilience of West Java’s Food Systems: An Ethnographic Approach” after travelling across West Java to observe urban farmers practising alternative agriculture. Amber’s field study found that the challenges of small-scale alternative agriculture initiatives include the alienation of traditional culture and cultural stigma against farming.
Hillary Mansour explored community perspectives on drug issues in West Java in her study titled “Re-evaluating Drug Issues in West Java through Community Perspectives.” Written entirely in Bahasa Indonesia, Hillary’s report examines official and grassroots’ perspectives on drug issues. Her study illustrates correlations between official approaches to solving drug problems and how society perceives these attempts.
John Dooley (University of Sydney) wrote his report “Persepsi Masyarakat Terhadap Pendidikan Kejuruan dan Pekerjaan Masa Depan dalam Konteks Pembaharuan Kebijakan Pendidikan Nasional” (“Community Perceptions of Vocational Education and Future Employment in the Context of National Education Policy Reform”) which examined the perceptions surrounding vocational education in West Java. In his report, written in Bahasa Indonesia, John explored how society’s perspective on vocational education still contradicts government policy to expand support for vocational schools to reduce unemployment.
We closed the semester with a farewell dinner where students and ACICIS staff enjoyed an exciting and delicious traditional Sundanese meal while sharing their experience studying in Bandung. ACICIS is beyond proud of what the students have achieved this semester! We wish anak-anak Bandung the best of luck for their future endeavours and beyond. Sampai bertemu lagi!