Christina Mathieson is a 2019 New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from the Flinders University. Christina undertook the Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University from August to December 2019.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS’ Flexible Language Immersion Program (FLIP)?
I chose to undertake the ACICIS Program because I had heard marvelous things about from friends who had previously done it. I also study Indonesian at University and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to live in country and practice the language. Doing it with ACICIS meant that I could do it in a way where there was ongoing help and support so I was free to enjoy my semester abroad and not have to be concerned about issues like immigration or who to ask for help if I needed it.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
I have received two New Colombo Plan Grant, I received a short term grant in 2018 for a short course and received the long term grant for my semester in 2019. Firstly, the grant meant I could afford to come to Indonesia for the semester. It also meant that I had enough money to enjoy the trip and travel a bit as well as study in Yogya. I visited other cities in Java as well as Flores (where Komodo Island is).
Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in?
I took 3 language classes and three international relations topics at the International Program stream at Gadjah mada university. These were:
Percakapan (Conversation): In this class my confidence in speaking increased dramatically, every week the teacher would have us discuss a new topic, often playing a game to help us not only improve our vocab but also learn more about Indonesian culture and how to find a solution when we didn’t have the vocab we needed to say what we wanted to.
Terjemahan (Translation): Terjemahan class involved us practicing how to translate different articles and stories and when to use what tones and formalities.
Politik Indonesia (Indonesian Politics): In this class we addressed and discussed various political systems and issues, often comparing them with the same issues in our home countries. I learnt a lot about Indonesian politics as well as Australian, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian politics.
My International Relations topics were China’s International Relations in 21st Century, Security Cooperation in ASEAN, and Political Corruption in a Global Context.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university?
I was not involved in any clubs at Gadjah mada university, but I helped at the English Speaking Club at Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, the Yogya state university. I really enjoyed it and met lots of new people as well as had a chance to help others with their English and get help with my Indonesian.
I also attend some AIYA events which were very fun and through which I met a lot of great people and had some great opportunities for traveling with friends.
Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the Flexible Language Immersion Program influence your future career or study?
My time in Yogya really helped improve my language skills, definitely my confidence. I’m going to continue my Indonesian study in Australia and am hoping that in the future I will have the opportunity to work in Indonesia where proficiency in Indonesian will be very helpful.
Q: How different is in-country Indonesian language learning to your previous experiences in an Australian classroom environment?
The in classroom language classes was very different from my usual lectures or tutorials at university in Australia. The classes were more interactive and often smaller, they felt more like tutorials than formal classes. As I was in the advanced class they were also all in Indonesian.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia?
I didn’t do an internship or a continuous volunteering placement, but through the semester I volunteered sporadically at English speaking clubs and at a school. Most of my volunteering involved teaching or helping with English.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Yogyakarta?
Nongkrong (hang out) with friends. Indonesia is a very social culture and there are cafes and eating places open until late. After class on Tuesday I was part of a group that would try a new type of Indonesian food or a new restaurant each week. The two other go tos were Billards or Karaoke, everyone was always down for a bit of karaoke. It was a great way to spend an evening or an afternoon when it was too hot to be outside.
Q: Favourite Indonesian food/ Favourite place to eat:
Ohhh, hard question probably roti bakar.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Mager – It is slang for malas gerakan, which translates roughly as too lazy to move.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your Semester so far? What’s the most interesting and why?
Over the semester I visited various tourist sites in Yogya, went up to Karimunjawa, visited Solo, Salatiga, Semarang, Kendal, Dolan Dayu, and Flores. I honestly can’t pick a place, every trip was amazing and almost every trip was with different people so it was great spending time with my friends as much as it was visiting new places.