In January 2019, ACICIS welcomed 17 students onto the Flexible Language Immersion Program (FLIP), 15 of whom undertook the program with the support of the New Colombo Plan (NCP). Hosted by Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), FLIP allows students to choose a mix of Indonesian language classes from the Indonesian Culture and Language Learning Service (INCULS) and other regular immersion classes from the university’s faculties. These are taught in Indonesian and English, and students pick them according to their language abilities and study interests. Aside from the academic component, FLIP also offers students the chance to undertake an optional professional placement (internship) with a local host organisation. Semester 48 was the first academic semester during which FLIP students could undertake an internship as part of their program. This semester, three students completed their placements at Yogyakarta-based international relations research centres and women resource centres. They were involved in their host organisations’ research projects, writing articles, event organising, giving presentations, and assisting with day-to-day tasks.

Cameron Allan (The Australian National University) took a mix of Indonesian Language classes from INCULS and political science subjects from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIPOL). He challenged himself to complete regular curriculum subjects such as ‘Hubungan Australia-Indonesia’ and ‘Pengorganisasian Partai Politik’ which were delivered entirely in Indonesian. Cameron also involved himself in the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) as their Vice President and took part in an Acehnese dance group on campus, the Sanggar Kesenian Aceh (SAKA) UGM.

Focused on improving her Indonesian language skills, Faith Stellmaker (The Australian National University) solely undertook Indonesian language classes at INCULS. ‘Kebudayaan Indonesia’ was her favourite subject during which she learned about Indonesian identities, art and politics, gender issues, and as well urbanisation. According to Faith, The class was very critical in analysing Indonesian culture and covered a lot of different subjects, so it was a good introduction to the topic.”

Along with their UGM classes, Cameron and Faith also undertook the new optional internship component of FLIP. They both interned at the ASEAN Studies Center (ASC) as they are passionate about ASEAN affairs and wanted to gain professional experience in the field. Covering various issues within the Southeast Asian region, the ASC aims to generate critical scientific research and enhance the position and contribution of Indonesia in ASEAN. In the Research division, Cameron worked on areas such as ASEAN Notes, ASEAN Recap, and a working paper. Within the Media division, Faith worked on designing social media posts, writing articles, and documenting the ASC’s events.

Last but not least, Dana Throssell from The Australian National University undertook a range of regular immersion classes such as ‘Australia-Indonesia Relations’ and ‘Gender, Keluarga, dan Pembangunan’, alongside her INCULS language classes. For her love of sports, she joined the university’s softball team and regularly attended their training sessions which was a good opportunity to practice her Indonesian skills.

Aside from her academic and extracurricular activities, Dana also undertook a placement at the Mitra Wacana Women Resource Center, a grassroots organisation aiming to create a gender-equitable Indonesian society, focusing on the issues of sexual and reproductive rights, violence against women, and human trafficking. Dana was given the opportunity to visit target communities and observe discussions and workshops, to write articles for Mitra Wacana’s website, to present in a series of discussions, and to run English classes for staff members. Speaking about her internship experience, Dana mentions that “it also gave me the opportunity to develop my Indonesian language skills due to use of Indonesian in a professional and casual environment and because much of my work involved reading and writing, especially through translation and editing”.

After students finished up the last of their exams, INCULS held a graduation ceremony that celebrated the students’ hard work and achievements, and awarded them with an UGM pin to officially mark them as UGM alumni.

The semester came to a close with a farewell dinner for students and staff. We would like to congratulate all the students for their accomplishments this semester – we could not be prouder of our students’ achievements during FLIP. We do hope that their experiences at UGM and during their professional placements will continue to enrich their academic, cross-cultural and personal development. We wish our students the best of luck in their future endeavours!