In the middle of August 2019 (ACICIS’ Semester 49), we welcomed 14 students onto the Flexible Language Immersion Program (FLIP), nine of whom undertook the program with the support of the  Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) initiative. FLIP students studied at the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, taking a mix of Indonesian language classes from the Indonesian Culture and Language Learning Service (INCULS) and other regular immersion classes from the Faculty of Cultural Sciences and the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. The students have the option to choose classes taught in Indonesian and English at the faculties, which were picked during the ACICIS’ Orientation according to the students’ language abilities and study interests.

FLIP also gives option to the students to undertake professional placement (internship) with a local host organisation concurrently with the classes or during the semester break. In the third academic semester where FLIP offers an internship component, two students completed their placements at Yogyakarta-based women’s crisis centre and family planning organisation. They were involved in their host organisations’ research projects, report writing, event organising, radio talks, training, and assisting with day-to-day tasks.

Charlotte Monteith (The University of Adelaide) took a full-load of Advanced Indonesian Language classes from INCULS, with ‘Percakapan’ (Conversation) as her favourite class as it enabled her to boost her confidence and learn new vocabulary through games and in-class practice.

At the ACICIS NGO Fair, Charlotte found out about Rifka Annisa Women’s Crisis Centre, an non-governmental organisation (NGO) providing services for women and children who are the victims of gender-based violence. Charlotte decided to intern with Rifka Annisa, specifically in the psychological counselling division that offers counselling for men and women,  along with two other ACICIS’ Development Studies Immersion Program (DSIP) students—Sabrina Johnson and Erin Van Zetten.

For her interests, Charlotte mainly worked in the male counselling issues where she assisted with advocacy project for fairer sentencing of domestic violence perpetrators, attended workshops on male counselling, and wrote a report on male counsellors. She mentioned that her highlight of her internship was the talks she did with Sabrina and Erin at the Istakalisa Radio about sex education in Indonesia and Australia.

Magdalen Dunn (The University of Melbourne) undertook a mix of Indonesian Language in Advanced level along with two immersion classes; ‘Karawitan’ and ‘English Romantic Literature’. The same with Charlotte, Maggie’s favourite language subject was ‘Percakapan’.

Along with her UGM classes, Maggie also undertook an internship at the Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana (PKBI) or The Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association, the oldest NGO which pioneered the advocacy of family planning in Indonesia, that does research, community engagement, counselling, and outreach advocacy. Maggie’s project was mainly to prepare for and present basic sexual health education class in Indonesian, which she considered as her greatest achievement during her internship.

In addition to her academic and internship activities, Maggie was actively involved in the Yogyakarta chapter of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) as the sport officer. Through her involvement in AIYA, Maggie got the chance to teach Australian football in Salatiga and visited Rumah Impian (Dream House) that provides shelter and educational classes to street children in Yogyakarta.

Maggie also travelled to Bandung along with the DSIP students to attend an international conference on empowering rural areas and volunteered with one of the ACICIS Host Organisations, Project Child Indonesia where she taught elementary students about hygiene and environmental management.

Semester 49 came to a close with an INCULS graduation ceremony and ACICIS farewell dinner for students and staff. At the INCULS graduation ceremony, one of the FLIP students, Chakris Srisuwan (The University of Western Australia), represented Advanced level class to give a speech about how much he valued his experience of studying in Indonesia. We hope that Chakris’ speech resonates with the other FLIP students’ experience and that the students will continue to improve their Indonesian language skills and enrich their academic and cross-cultural understanding.

Congratulations to all the students for their achievements this semester – we are very proud! Thank you for a wonderful semester learning Indonesian language, culture, and politics—inside and outside the classroom. Terima kasih banyak!