In collaboration with ACICIS, Monash University’s Faculty of Arts launched the pilot iteration of their Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) Program in Indonesia at the beginning of January this year. This program is a fully-funded, ground-breaking overseas study experience for all first year Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Global Studies and related double degree students.

Between January and February this year, ACICIS welcomed a total of 46 Monash University students (28 students in the first session and 18 students in the second session) from the Faculty of Arts to join the two-week long program. ACICIS and Monash were pleased to be able to work alongside reputable higher education institutions such as Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and Lembaga Bahasa Sanata Dharma (LB USD) in Yogyakarta, and Udayana University in Bali. This program was also supported by organisations such as the Australian Indonesian Centre (AIC) and the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association’s (AIYA) chapters in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Accompanying the students were two Monash staff representatives, Jonathan McIntosh and Yacinta Kurniasih and ACICIS Special Project Development Manager, Sherly Senja and ACICIS Senior Program Assistant, Citra Gantiaji.

Both sessions of the GIG Program commenced their first week in Yogyakarta. At the University of Gadjah Mada, the students were introduced to the Indonesian language, culture, and local issues through a series of seminars, workshops and fieldtrips. The seminar series topics included contemporary Indonesian history, politics, society, sustainable and ethical tourism, renewable energy, community development, water security and public health. We also collaborated with local communities and NGOs for the fieldtrips to Kali Code, the World Mosquito Program, Rumah Energi, and Bumi Langit. Students also visited some historical and cultural sites such as Prambanan and Kota Gede as part of their cultural learning experience.

On the second week, the students travelled to either Bali or Jakarta and Bogor in order to gain a deeper understanding of certain issues that were specific to these cities. There were 14 students that went to Bali while the other 14 travelled to Jakarta and Bogor. In Bali, students focused on ethical and sustainable tourism. Based at Udayana University, the students attended seminars on the challenges and impacts of high-intensity, low cost tourism on the island, and its environmentally sustainable, ethical alternatives. For their field trips, the students visited a local NGO, Role Foundation, to see how the community tackled the issues of waste and living sustainably in a tourist hot-spot. Students also experienced Balinese culture through visits to Panglipuran Village and watching a Kecak Dance in Uluwatu. During their stay in Bali the students also got the chance to visit the Australian Consulate-General’s office in order to network and meet with another local NGO, Trash Hero Bali.

The second cohort of GIG students spent their final week in Jakarta and Bogor. To celebrate GIG’s pilot iteration of the program, Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinlan, invited students and staff to attend the launch of the Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Centre. Monash collaborated with the Australia Indonesia Centre (AIC) to talk about the current state of Indonesian politics and society while AIYA Jakarta introduced students to its activities. This was followed by a panel session on Indonesia’s environmental issues with notable guest speakers from Greenpeace, the Sustainable District Association (Lingkar Temu Kabupaten Lestari), and SiDalang. In Bogor, the students learned more about informal settlements and water management and later attended a seminar run by the Waste4Change team in Bekasi to learn more about waste management in Jakarta. They also got a chance to attend a networking event held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during the New Colombo Plan’s 2019 Launch on the last week of January.

The sessions were concluded with farewell dinners at the end of the two weeks.  We would like to thank Monash University’s Faculty of Arts for giving us the opportunity to help launch the Global Immersion Guarantee’s pilot program in Indonesia. We look forward to working with the University on future GIG iterations!