New Colombo Plan - Connect to Australia’s future - study in the region.

Virtual Public Health Study Tour

Sharon Lim is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from Monash University. Sharon undertook the Virtual Public Health Study Tour in December 2020.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake this virtual program?

I decided to undertake this program to further enhance my knowledge in other health issues besides Australia. In addition to this, I thought it would be a good experience to know what a virtual tour would be like, and I wanted to put myself out there (try new opportunities).


Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Why do you think the NCP is an important initiative?

Yes I did. I believe that this grant is very useful as it gives an opportunity for people to learn and enhance their knowledge.


Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual program?

I found that the staff and the people that were involved were wonderful and really easy to get along with. This made the virtual program easier to integrate (as it was virtual and we weren’t able to participate in real life). Despite this, I found that visiting Kali Code to be very interesting and the virtual fieldtrips were very insightful where we got to see and interact with local Indonesians.

I also found that the Indonesian cultural interactive events very fun, as we were able to fully immerse ourselves in the culture by cooking at home and learning the traditional Indonesian dance. While it was out of my comfort zone, by participating and placing myself out there, made the overall experience rewarding.


Q: What did you find to be the most challenging about your experience on the Virtual PHST?

I found that interacting with the other students was difficult. Since we were from different parts of Australia I didn’t know how to talk with the other students during the lectures or tutorials. However I found that giving time during the breakout rooms, it gave everyone a chance to learn about other students during the trip.


Q: What public health issues in Indonesia have you become more interested in/aware of as a result of this virtual tour?

Initially I thought that smoking was a big issue in Indonesia. However after the program I learned that there are various other important issues such as stunting, dengue and malaria. During week 2 of the tour I learned a lot about the stunning issues and found it interesting learning about the impacts of nutrition.


Q: What was your favourite virtual fieldtrip?

Kali Code. I really enjoyed looking at the colourful village. I was also interested in how they recycle their plastic and how they made use of what they have to create new uses for their waste.


Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program?

Yes I did learn a lot. As I mentioned previously, the cooking and dancing classes were very fun and interactive which made the learning experience more enjoyable. I really liked the dancing class lessons but also the small interactive games that were played along the tour as it helped get involved in the Indonesian culture.


Q: How do you think the Virtual Public Health Study Tour will influence your future career or studies?

I believe that this tour has really broadened my thinking, especially by looking at other health issues in different countries. In addition it has also impacted my ability to cooperate and work with other people in different situations and has taught me how to adapt in different environments. This would help influence my career as I can use skills from this tour to help me in my future studies.


Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends

Yes I would!


Q: Describe your experience of the Virtual PHST in three words:

Fun, interactive, insightful.