Beth Kracke is a 2017 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Beth completed the International Relations Program at Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung in August-December 2017.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I have completed a couple of short term language studies in-country and truly enjoyed spending time here. The country is beautiful and the people I have met have been very welcoming and helpful. From these experiences I thought I may possibly work here in the future so embraced the opportunity to make contacts and improve my language skills.
Q: What classes are you currently enrolled in?
Diplomacy: Learning to communicate in a way that benefits states.
Indonesian Foreign Policy: History and more recent foreign policy from Indonesian perspective.
Security Studies: Security including state, military, economic, environmental and personal among others.
Regionalism in Africa: History from colonialism to the present. Impacts and lack of research due to mostly Euro-centric research.
Internship: Opportunity to gain valuable experience in the work place.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university?
No. While I originally enrolled for Listra (UNPAR’s traditional dance and music club) I found my work placement to be more time consuming than originally expected. I am focused on giving my full attention to this valuable organisation and hopefully helping some of the younger children improve their English-speaking skills while I am here.
Q: How will the International Relations Program influence your future career or study?
I am hoping that the skills and connections I have gained while in-country will open doors and provide employment opportunities in Indonesia in the future.
Q: How does studying International Relations from an Indonesian perspective differ to International Relations from an Australian perspective?
While studying here we learn much about the history, people and culture of Indonesia from a completely new perspective. Hopefully this will improve relations between the two countries in the future as Australians who have completed studies here will have the ability to pass on this understanding creating the opportunity for more open dialogue.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Bandung?
While I find my study and internship fill most of my time I do run with the Bandung Hash Harriers as often as I can, making new friends and attempting to find some fitness. I also enjoy sight-seeing and trying new foods if and when the opportunity presents.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia (brief description)?
Yes. I am interning with Interkultural Edukasi Partner (IEP). This is a small business that focus on trying to help others through the use of language. They have a variety of courses ranging from teaching English to children and adults, teaching Bahasa Indonesia to penutur asing and teaching Bahasa Jepang to Indonesians wishing to work in Japan. They are an extremely community minded group and a pleasure to work with.
Q: What is your favourite food?
My favourite Indonesian food is…anything. The spicier the better. I will try almost anything and have not found much that I do not like although a really spicy sate with Lontong is especially satisfying. A nice spicy Rendang is great too. I do not have a favourite as there are so many great places to eat although there is a lovely lady on Jalan Rancabentang 1 who does a great sate.
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Puskesmas…not sure why. The word just sounds good and makes me smile.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?
I am lucky that on a Saturday the Hash House Harriers take us to various local areas to run so we are getting the opportunity to see much of the local area without being tourists. For touristy adventures I have been to Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Borobudur and Dieng Plateau. I made a point of sitting on the train for most of the journey so I could see as much of the countryside as possible. I was also fortunate enough to be invited to a traditional Javanese wedding in Solo.