Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
The ACICIS program was unique in the ability to combine studies of International Relations with an internship placement. I was also interested in learning Indonesian, broadening my social and cultural literacy of Indonesia and observing and participating in a different way of life. The ACICIS program seemed like the perfect opportunity as it facilitated me to enter Indonesia and experience the culture.
Q: What classes are you currently enrolled in?
International Political Economy: Offers a multidisciplinary perspective on international economic and power relations. It encompasses topics such as international trade, globalisation, international finance, North-South relations and Multinational Corporations.
Regionalism In Africa: A fascinating course that examines the social, economic, political and security on the African continent including the history of western colonialism in Africa, issues in contemporary Africa such as civil war, economic collapse, seizure of resources and the great political powers in Africa and the future of Africa and regional cooperation.
Indonesian Foreign Policy: Covers the dynamics of Indonesian Foreign Policy from the time of Independence. Some topics include Indonesia’s free and active principle, parliamentary democracy, Sukarno and Suharto regimes and the era of reformation which can be framed to understand the challenges of Indonesia’s foreign policy in the 21st century.
Security Studies: looking at the concept of security through different dimensions; the globe, the State, society and individuals, security study theories and non-traditional security issues such as health, economic, environmental, human and human security.
Bahasa Indonesian (post-beginner): A class for post-beginner students to learn reading, writing, speaking and listening in Bahasa Indonesian.
Professional Placement Module: Involves the undertaking of an internship for approximately three months and culminates in an evaluation and presentation.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university?
I was involved with UNPAR radio station and attended some LISTRA classes: LISTRA involves traditional dance and music. Since starting my internship, I have unfortunately not been able to keep it up due to conflicting schedules, however I have become involved in a number of extra-curricular activities out of UNPAR. I volunteer a few hours a week teaching English at Interkultural Edukasi Partner to staff members.
On weekends I also volunteer at a village in a children’s community centre called Kejar Aurora where I do some English conversation practice with the children and play games with them. I have also arranged with my Bahasa Indonesian teacher to take charge of some English classes at a primary school next month in November.
If I have time, I am planning to also volunteer at a community health centre or legal advocacy organisation if I can squeeze it into my packed week.
Q: How will the International Relations Program influence your future career or study?
I am hoping the program, will strengthen my linguistic and cultural capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. I would like to commit to becoming more proficient in Indonesian so as to forge greater cross-cultural connections. I am hoping my experiences will help pivot and propel me into an international career in foreign affairs, journalism, international law and/ or diplomacy that may deal with Asian relations with Australia.
Q: How does studying International Relations from an Indonesian perspective differ to International Relations from an Australian perspective?
I find Indonesia teaches International Relations from a surprisingly Eurocentric perspective while my home university incorporates some critical and alternative perspectives. I also find class structures are different. In Australia, I have both lectures and tutorials for each subject whereas classes in Indonesia resemble that of a high school environment like a seminar in a classroom.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Bandung?
While I don’t have a lot of it; volunteering my time teaching English and assisting various charities and organisations, trying out new cafes and dishes in Bandung, studying Indonesian, hiking, hanging out with friends, spending time in nature, visiting West Java or exploring Bandung in general. So far, I have visited Saung Angklung Udjo to watch a performance and attend a workshop, Rumah komar Batik to make beautiful Batik, Bandung Zoo, the factory outlets at Cihampelas Walk (CiWalk), Djuanda Forest Park (Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Juanda), Paris Van Java and I soon plan to visit the Asia-Africa Museum and Gedung Sate as well as the floating markets in Lembang, in North Bandung.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia (brief description)?
Yes. I am undertaking an internship with a global research think-tank, Resilience Development Initiative. I am preparing a working paper on Women’s Health in Lombok. The topic is fascinating and allows me to extend my interest in public health issues, medicine, health policy and sustainable and human development. The working environment and people are very friendly, flexible and relaxed. At the end of the internship I will publish the working paper and give a presentation to my supervisors. RDI also hosts a number of seminars and talks from other interns, staff members and guest speakers on various issues such as disaster response, the environment, online transportation, social security etc.
Q: What is your favourite food?
Nasi Padang with Beef Rendang, Capcay Goreng and Dadar Kambing. At night, a number of street food stalls and warungs prop up just outside UNPAR on Jalan Ciumbuleuit which serve up delicious meals for comparably cheap prices. Also on the other end of UNPAR is the OBC food Court, which is opened during the daytimes and highly popular among students. It has a variety of foods from Indonesian, to Western to Korean Food and excellent Thai Iced Tea and Coffee!
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Selamat makan! Because there is no sincerer love than the love of food!
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?
I have visited Yogyakarta, Pangandaran and Bogor. Yogyakarta is truly the spirit of Indonesia. There I visited Merapi and its surroundings and spent a lot of time on Jalan Marlioboro searching for Batik. I have already been to Borobodur and Prambanan on a previous trip. At Bogor, I visited the Presidential Palace and Botanical Gardens and at Pangandaran I visited East and West Pangandaran Beach, the surrounding Fishermen’s villages, rice fields and plantations, Pasir Putih (White Sand) Beach and a waterfall and ate lots of fish and lay on the coffee-coloured sand of the beach. If I have time, I plan to visit Jakarta later in the semester as well as Ciwidey, Lembang, Garut and Cianjur if I have time. I may also explore Sumatera later, if I stop by Indonesia in January.