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

Virtual Public Health Study Tour

Yussor Alwaaly is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from The University of Western Australia. Yussor undertook the Virtual Public Health Study Tour in November 2021.

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

I’ve always been interested in population health around the world and how I can assist and be of help so when this opportunity presented itself, I saw it as the first step in working towards a better global health outcome.

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

Yes, I did receive the NCP grant. I think this initiative is so important because it makes this program accessible to a range of different people, specifically those who like myself cannot afford the cost of the program by myself. The grant was the reason a lot of us were able to learn and participate in this program.

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

The most rewarding aspect of this experience was meeting many like-minded people who have the same passions and interests as myself. These friendships and connections are lifelong and made the experience the best that it could be.

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

The most challenging aspect of the PHST was sitting in the same room, facing the same screen for hours on end for 2 weeks which I didn’t anticipate beforehand, but the interactive sessions really helped make it easier.

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

I’m definitely more interested in family and maternal health now as I was very unaware of these issues and the lifelong implications they can have before going into this study tour. This is a more general issue that falls under many different public health issues- but I’m now also very interested in the issue of accessibility and how we can overcome it in all aspects of the health system.

Q: What was your favourite virtual fieldtrip?

This is a toss-up between the Kali Code field trip and the World Mosquito Program Site Visit. The first because the history of the area and community is so special and unique and it showed the importance of community, and the latter because it was so interesting to watch people willingly get bitten by mosquitos (still don’t know how they do it).

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

Absolutely! The Indonesian culture was taught to us not only directly through the cultural classes and in the many references to history, but also indirectly through the ACICIS staff and student buddies. From things as simple as greetings to concepts as multiplex as ‘Gotong Royong’, we were able to best learn them by seeing their real-life application and feeling like a part of the community.

Q: Why it is important for Australians to learn more about Indonesia and vice a versa?

It’s important for us to understand the health issues and culture of one another as we are neighbours and this mutual understanding and connection will be a strength for us in the future, specifically when addressing public health problems.

Q: Did you enjoy discussing public health issues with the Indonesian students? 

I loved discussing these issues with our student buddies and found it to be one of the most valuable elements of this tour as it gave us a much deeper insight. Not only is it interesting to hear people’s different understandings of issues and finding out what piece of information stuck out to them but, we were able to hear the insider perspective and in some cases, personal anecdotes to do with the issues we were discussing.

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

I think I will definitely look into taking units to do with public and population health for the remaining duration of my studies and I also think the knowledge I have gained will be incredibly valuable to my future career in the health sector.

Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?

Yes, for sure! I think this program is the perfect introduction to international health and can broaden people’s understanding of public health concepts immensely and in such a short period of time.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

Bagus and sampai jumpa besok 🙂

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

Insightful, challenging, memorable.