New Colombo Plan - Connect to Australia’s future - study in the region.

International Relations Program

Ella Jensen is a 2023 New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from The Australian National University. She is studying Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of International Relations. Ella undertook the International Relations Program for one semester at Gadjah Mada University from February until June 2023.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ International Relations Program (IRP) ?

I decided to undertake the ACICIS program because it was advertised to me by my university and I wanted to try something new. I am an International Relations student and so the opportunity to study abroad was invaluable. Before the program, I felt like I didn’t know enough about Indonesia or the Asia Pacific so this was the perfect opportunity to learn more in an immersive setting.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia? 

I was a NCP grant recipient. Receiving the grant made studying in Indonesia much less stressful because I didn’t have to worry about money. This gave me the freedom to explore Indonesia.

Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in? (List and brief description)

International Law, Religion and Politic in South Asia, International Relations of the Middle East & International Political Economy.

Q: How will the International Relations Program influence your future career or study?

My semester with ACICIS at UGM and CIRCLE Indonesia have given me a deep insight into the importance of Indonesia in the Asian Century. I have a much deeper insight into the culture and attitudes of Indonesians and better understanding of the regional, generally. Indonesia is so diverse that I would love to return and visit other major islands, such as Sumatra and Kalimantan. This opportunity allowed me to apply my theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.

Living in Yogyakarta was especially valuable. It has a rich culture and history but is also home to Indonesian students from across the country and many other international students. The diverse culture enhance my global perspective and allowed me to build a network that will be valuable for my future career. Furthermore, as an NCP allum, I have access to further opportunities to enhance my knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region.

Q: Did you undertake an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia? (If yes, please provide a brief description on what organisation you are interning with, and what tasks you are undertaking and overall, how you are finding the internship).

I interned with CIRCLE Indonesia. CIRCLE is a consultancy firm that works with international NGOs and other organisations to make sure their projects are effective in an Indonesian context. I worked on the HEAL Team, who worked on a collaboration with Save the Children to enhance human rights in remote Indonesian contexts. My duties included producing reports and infographics which will be presented to the European Union to determine funding for future projects.

I also had the opportunity to attend a conference hosted by CIRCLE which offered professional development for the Indonesian Department of Agriculture.

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

I loved to explore my neighbourhood, especially the cafes. I would often spend hours in cafes studying because they are open so much later than the ones in Australia.

Q: Favourite Indonesian food/ favourite place to eat:

I loved lots of Indonesian foods! I especially miss being able to drink a wedang uwuh when I feel sick of snacking on tempe mendoan while studying. There were many fantastic places to eat, such as the university canteen and warung. My favourite restaurant in Yogyakarta was definitely Mediterranean. However I ate some fantastic fresh seafood in Karimunjawa and Labuan Bajo.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

My favourite Indonesian word is kenangan, which means memory or remembrance. It is both a beautiful word and the name of one of my favourite beverage chains!

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

During my semester I visited Dieng Plateau; Bali (Sanur and Nusa Lembongan); Solo/Surakarta; Borobudur/Magelang; Mt Ijen; Karimunjawa; Jakarta; Surabaya; Mt Bromo; Labuan Bajo (Komodo Island); Prambanan.