In August 2019, ACICIS welcomed 6 students to Bandung to undertake our International Relations Program (IRP) and West Java Field Study (WJFS) hosted by Parahyangan Catholic University (UNPAR). The Semester 49 Bandung cohort was supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.

ACICIS’ IRP allows students to study International Relations from an Indonesian perspective and offers a professional placement (internship) component with a local host organisation which students take alongside their classes. This semester, 4 students opted to undertake the internship component. They were involved in their host organisations’ on-going projects in social research, environmental sustainability, education, or resilience studies.

Three IRP students were placed with Resilience Development Initiative (RDI), a Bandung-based think-thank that focuses on disaster relief, sustainable development and environmental sustainability issues. Thursina Bayu (University of Queensland), Sean Lalor (University of The Sunshine Coast), and Camille Faraizi (University of Technology Sydney) each conducted research on one of RDI’s key areas of focus. Towards the end of their internship period, the students each produced a research paper and delivered their findings to their colleagues at RDI.

Catherine Pagliaro (Monash University) had the opportunity to intern with Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YTSC) or Save the Children Bandung, an international non-profit organisation that focuses on improving the lives of children as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters. Catherine wrote a paper on Generation Z in Indonesia, including their characteristics, challenges they face and recommendations for key stakeholders (government, private organisations and NGOs). Earlier in the internship, she assisted in the evaluation process of YTSC’s Financial Literacy module, which is now in its second stage of implementation. Catherine also observed the delivery of the module and meetings at schools in Greater Bandung (e.g. in Padalarang and Cimahi).

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 choose to undertake an internship or additional classes alongside their thesis. This semester, our two WJFS students examined diverse issues in West Java, such as public health services and the power of social media.

Madeline McGarvey (RMIT University) completed a thesis entitled “The Concept of a ‘Good’ Birth Constructed in a 21st Century, Medically Plural Birth Clinic in Semi-Rural Indonesia”. She has been investigating understandings of a ‘good birth’ in settings of 21st century medical plurality. In essence, Madeline has been exploring how health professionals navigate maternal healthcare delivery in settings where multiple medical systems coexist.

Natalie Macdonald’s (Murdoch University) thesis, “The Fourth Estate: the Power of Social Media ‘Buzzers’ in Relation to Propaganda and Fake News” examined the influence of social media buzzers in politics. She is looking at how media and journalism act as the fourth estate, and how buzzers are categorised in the journalism field. The aim is to make distinctions between public opinion and professional journalism.

Besides joining academic activities, the students also participated in cultural events, playing angklung and making batik. They were really excited to take part in these activities. At the batik workshop, each student was asked to produce a piece using the patterns provided and to add their own names into the design. They were thrilled to be able to take their finished batik to their loved ones back in Australia.

ACICIS closed the semester with a farewell dinner where students and ACICIS staff enjoyed a delicious meal while sharing their experiences of studying in Bandung. Additionally, to celebrate Christmas early, we held an ACICIS Bandung Secret Santa. It was a nice way to end the semester in Bandung.

UNPAR also held another special farewell dinner with ACICIS students where UNPAR wished the best for all of their students in the future. ACICIS is beyond proud of what the students have achieved this semester! We wish the anak-anak Bandung the best of luck for their future endeavours and beyond. Sampai jumpa lain waktu!