Flexible Language Immersion Program

Sophie Hewitt is a New Colombo Plan scholar from The Australian National University. In 2018, Sophie completed a year of study in Indonesia with ACICIS, through the Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University and the East Java Field Study at Muhammadiyah University in Malang. Sophie is an ACICIS alumnus, as she studied at Parahyangan University through the ACICIS International Relations Program back in 2015!

Q: Why did you decide to undertake  ACICIS’ Flexible Language Immersion Program?

Ever since I undertook the International Relations Program in Bandung during 2015, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to come back to Indonesia! After completing my major in Bahasa Indonesia last year at ANU, I have now returned for ANU’s Year in Asia program, where I’ll be studying in Indonesia for all of 2018: this semester at doing FLIP at UGM, and next semester in the East Java Field Study program in Malang. Additionally, being a New Colombo Plan scholar in 2018 has meant I’m able to extend my stay in Indonesia and add additional components, such as an internship, which I’ll undertake at a law firm in Jakarta during the mid-year break.

Q: Which classes are you currently enrolled in?

I’m enrolled in Tata Bahasa (Grammar), Menulis (Writing) and Membaca (Reading) in the language faculty, INCULS. I’m also taking Hukum Internasional (International Law) and Sosiologi Hukum (Law and Sociology) in the department of politics and social science as well as private language classes at language school, Wisma Bahasa.

Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the Flexible Language Immersion Program influence your future career or study?

In the future, I plan to work between both Australia and Indonesia in the fields of law reform and policy development, amongst other things. Therefore a proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia and experience working in different professional environments in both countries is essential.

By partaking in ACICIS initially in my second year of my studies, I have had enough time to return to Indonesia later in my degree, and tailor my studies to suit my particular interests. By the end of 2018, I will have completed 15 separate courses in Indonesia within my double degree of Law and Asian Studies!

Q: How different is in-country Indonesian language learning to your previous experiences in an Australian classroom environment?

The majority of my knowledge of Indonesian has been gained through living, travelling and making friends in Indonesia. By making friends in Bandung and Yogya, has meant I have people I feel comfortable with who can correct my grammar and pronunciation, and who will be really patient with me when I ask really boring questions about vocabulary choices!

Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the University?

I am part of the national committee of AIYA (Australia-Indonesia Youth Association). In my role as the Operations Officer for Indonesia, I work as the connector and coordinator between all five Indonesian Chapter Presidents, and the National Executive back in Australia. One exciting thing myself and another ACICIS student have achieved is to restart the AIYA Jawa Barat Chapter in Bandung!

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Yogyakarta?

Eating and writing about food! I started writing a blog about Indonesian food this year, because one way I love making friends is to go to new food places with them. Sometimes after initial introductions to a new Indonesian friend in class, it’s hard to know what to talk about. But I find that if we start talking about food, and plan to visit a new place to eat together, it’s very easy to develop a friendship that way.

You can read about my food blog at thelonelybule.wordpress.com

Q: Are you undertaking an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia?

As mentioned, I’m volunteering with AIYA as the Officer of Operations in Indonesia this year. I’m interning at commercial law firm, ABNR in Jakarta, in the mid-semester break.

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian food and place to eat?

Martabak manis is my favourite food of all time. Every Monday on my food blog I write a post called ‘Martabak Monday’ where I chronicle the good (and bad) martabak. The best martabak I’ve had so far is Martabak Kumkum… I’d recommend the red velvet, cream cheese and Oreo flavour!

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word or phrase?

The East Javanese word for martabak manis, ‘terang bulan’, literally translates to full moon. As martabak has such an important place in my heart, I think this is a very fitting title!

Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?

I’ve visited Jakarta a few times, for the Java Jazz Festival and Indonesia Fashion Week, Bandung, for catching up with friends and setting up the AIYA Jawa Barat Chapter, and Bali, for the Ubud Food Festival. I was also able to stay with my friend and her Grandma in small village in Central Java which was a really great experience!