Jay Bellwood is a New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from Western Sydney University. Jay is undertaking the Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS’ Flexible Language Immersion Program?
I had decided that Indonesian language and culture was something I wanted to incorporate into my future job when I first started University in 2017. I was first introduced to ACICIS’ program at the beginning on my first year at Western Sydney University, however with University being new to me I felt more comfortable in doing my first year in an English-speaking University. The opportunity to receive a New Colombo Plan mobility grant was sent to me by ACICIS in the end of year holidays of my first year and I decided to apply for their program. What really pushed me to undertake the program was the thought of living in Indonesia and going to university in a country I had been studying the language of for the past 5 years – it sounded like the perfect way to fully immerse myself in Indonesia’s culture, to expand my vocabulary and to create connections that will assist me in looking for a job when I finish university.
Q: Which classes are you currently enrolled in?
Within the INCULS faculty at UGM I study Percakapan (Conversation) and Membaca (Reading). These subjects are fantastic and are my highlight of my time at university because I get to meet so many different people from all over the world studying the same language.
In FIB I study Sejerah Asia (Asian History), which was very difficult at first as it is in Indonesian. However, after my language improved, the class became much easier to comprehend and now I find it really interesting.
Finally, in FISIPOL I study Religion and Politics in South Asia as well as Australia-Indonesia Relations. These subjects are in English, which make learning about the religious and political landscapes within Indonesia and the importance between the two nations easy to comprehend.
Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the Flexible Language Immersion Program influence your future career or study?
Absolutely, without a doubt. I want my future careers to involve Indonesian language and I feel that doing FLIP has solidified this.
Q: How different is in-country Indonesian language learning to your previous experiences in an Australian classroom environment?
To an extent, it’s very different. At my home university, we would focus on understanding Bahasa Indonesia in a theoretical way, but over here we tend to focus more on vocabulary and the pronunciation of words which I think has really helped me in improving my conversation and reading skills.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the University?
I was first introduced to AIYA (Australia Indonesia Youth Association) in the university and have registered with the organisation. I’ve met so many of my friends through this association and am currently the Media Officer for AIYA Yogyakarta.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Yogyakarta?
I love making films about my day to day life in Indonesia. So far, I have made 9 short films that show my hobbies and all the awesome things to do here. Within the first few months here in Yogyakarta, I have travelled to Semarang to compete in a drone race with my new friends. I have also been to Pacitan multiple times with friends and visiting family, flown to Bandung, caught an overnight train to Malang and climbed Mount Merapi.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia?
I would say that being involved with AIYA is a form of volunteering. I have organised multiple events that aim to strengthen to connection between Indonesian and Australian youth here in Yogyakarta and have made two films for the organisation.
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian food and place to eat?
Being vegan I thought it would be difficult finding places to eat, however I turned out be completely wrong! My favourite place to eat is a vegan restaurant called Soma Yoga which just happens to be a 200-meter walk from my accommodation. Making me choose my favourite Indonesian food is nearly impossible, I love the tempe and tofu from the FISIPOL canteen at university, mie jamur and gado-gado from Loving Hut is just delicious, but my absolute favourite Indonesian food would have to be IndoMie. It’s so cheap!
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word or phrase?
Nongkrong – I feel that I’m a very relaxed person and this word just perfectly encapsulates that.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?
Semarang, Pacitan, Malang and lots of different areas of Yogyakarta.