The Victorian Young Leaders to Indonesia (VYLI) Program is a Victorian Government initiative providing Year 9 students with a 6 week immersion experience that prepares them to live and work as citizens and future leaders in an increasingly interconnected world. It recognises that connections between youth in Victoria and Indonesia are vital for developing a future workforce that is confident in engaging with Indonesia, one of Australia’s closest neighbours.

The VYLI Pilot program demonstrated Victoria’s strong commitment to its relationship with Indonesia and forms a key component of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Premier in 2017 between Victoria and Yogyakarta Special Region, which provides a framework for ongoing cultural, educational and innovation activity and exchange.

AFS Intercultural Programs Australia (AFS) and The Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) have successfully worked together in delivering the first pilot program of the Victorian Young Leaders to Indonesia (VYLI). The pilot program for VYLI engaged 39 students and 10 teachers from 9 different schools in Victoria. During their time in Indonesia, the group was hosted in Yogyakarta for six weeks in September-October 2019.

The students were placed in five host schools in Yogyakarta. They joined the regular classes with the local students in the classroom. To fully experience the educational system, the students followed the rules and regulations given by the host schools including starting the school day at 7am, wearing school uniforms and joining in the extracurricular activities.

For the language class, ACICIS engaged Lembaga Bahasa at Sanata Dharma University (LB USD) to provide suitable material for the intensive language classes in their first 2 weeks, and 3 hours of language classes at the host schools for the next 4 weeks of the program. Other than language classes, there were other components that VYLI participants joined. The components included workshops such as making batik and silver, field visits to NGOs and local communities, cultural visits such as Borobudur Temple, Sultan Palace, etc.

The students also experienced living with a host family for a few weeks at the end of the program. They were paired with their local friend at the host schools and lived in their house. Through this experience, the students gained even more intercultural experiences and learned the local way of living in Yogyakarta. They also built strong friendships with their local buddies at school.

This program was fully supported by Yogyakarta Province Government and Victoria State Government. During the VYLI program, Deputy Premier of Victorian Government visited Yogyakarta and he spent a day to join the VYLI program. On behalf of the Yogyakarta Government, Sri Sultan HB X, VYLI participants were also invited to a dinner attended by Government Officials and hosted by the Sultan’s daughter at Bale Raos Restaurant.

On October 18, the program was wrapped up by a Gala Dinner. The dinner was attended by all the VYLI participants, government representatives, and staff from the host schools, LB USD, and host families.

ACICIS was honored hosting the Victorian Young Leaders to Indonesia (VYLI) pilot program in 2019.