Dominique Holani is a New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from the Australian National University. Dominique undertook the Agriculture Semester Program at Bogor Agricultural University in Semester 2, 2018.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Agriculture Semester Program (ASP)?
Like a lot of students, since beginning university I’ve really wanted to go on exchange. When I heard about the ACICIS ASP program, I thought it was a great opportunity to learn more about environmental management, conservation and sustainability in Indonesia.
I was a bit hesitant to travel at first considering that I knew no Indonesian language and had never travelled independently before, but I was comforted by the amount of support that ACICIS offered throughout the whole program, as well as the NCP grant which allowed me to undertake travel where I otherwise financially would not have been able to.
It has ended up being one of the greatest experiences. I’m so proud of how much I’ve learnt, all the experiences I’ve been a part of and the friendships that I’ve fostered here.
Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in?
Integrated Pest and Disease Management: This subject is about holistic approaches to pest and disease management in agriculture. I got to grow some soybeans in this subject, which is probably the most agrarian thing I have ever done in my life. I was very proud of them.
International Business: This subject is about international business from an Indonesian perspective.
Tropical Biodiversity Conservation: This subject taught us about Indonesia’s rich biodiversity and the challenges that it currently faces. We discussed some of the solutions to environmental issues and the current trajectory of Indonesia’s environment.
Rural and Urban Biodiversity: This subject discussed a range of topics each week from post tin mining rehabilitation in Bangka Belitung to the possible uses of biofuels in Indonesia.
Indonesian Bahasa Beginners: While I still can’t speak a lot of Indonesian, this subject improved my language drastically and gave me the ability to get around in Indonesia.
Q: How has your study in Indonesia influenced your understanding of Agriculture or Food Security in the region?
At IPB I got to learn about challenges in environment and sustainability from Indonesian teachers with deep passions for the environment and lots of experiences in their fields. I found that learning about the personal experiences and perspectives of these teachers was extremely valuable and influenced the way in which I look at environmental issues in Indonesia, as well as how the welfare of the environment and people must be balanced in the process of development.
Q: What d0 you like to do in your spare time in Bogor?
In Bogor I enjoy drinking juice, eating out and going to the movies with the friends I made here. I also invite friends over for dinners, play board games and have picnics at the Bogor Botanic Gardens and on the rooftop of my kosan.
Finding the best Mango juice is one of my favourite challenges!
Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia?
I’m undertaking my internship at the Asia Foundation in the SETAPAK II program which focuses on the improvement of land and forest governance in Indonesia.
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian food? Where is your favourite place to eat?
The Kwetiau from the canteen at IPB!
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word or phrase?
‘Tapi’. When I’m listening to sentences and hear the word tapi (which means ‘but’) it always makes me wonder ‘but what’? It’s such a well-rounded word it really feels like it means but, more so than the English but.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?
While in Indonesia I luckily had the time to visit a few places. While at Bogor we visited the Safari Park, Botanic Gardens, and a couple of national parks and a waterfall! I also had the opportunity to travel to Bandung, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, and also around North Sumatra which was by far my favourite place in Indonesia.
Q: How did you find IPB?
The IPB campus is so unique and green, I enjoyed getting acquainted with the campus and continued to find new nooks even in my last week studying there. Some of the subjects I took had really passionate and experienced teachers which I found to be such a valuable learning experience. I also made loads of lovely friends at IPB – we had interesting conversations and really huge laughs. Everyone was so kind and had really great senses of humour, I’m going to miss everyone a lot going home.