Katrina Scaramella is a 2019 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from the Australian National University. Katrina completed the International Relations Program at Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung in January – June 2019.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I really appreciated the structure of the ACICIS program. When I was first researching into the possibility of exchange to Indonesia, the breadth of courses and the information provided to prospective students made me both excited and comfortable with my decision to venture into Asia for the very first time!
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
I did receive the NCP Mobility Grant and an additional internship grant to support my exchange program. These grants became my lifeline in Indonesia and really allowed me to get the most out of my exchange. Prior to leaving for Indonesia I was working casual hours and finalising my last semester in Canberra. Being financially independent meant that I had little to save and many bills to pay! This grant made my exchange goal a reality.
Q: What classes are you currently enrolled in?
During my time at UNPAR I took: Strategic Studies, NGO’s CSO’s and Empowerment, Global Issues, Diplomacy and an internship through the UNPAR Management Department.
- Strategic Studies looked at the theory and practical tools of analysis when forming military strategy. We had a specialised focus on Indonesian military strategy and had engaging assessments through war simulations and presentations.
- NGO’s introduced us to the role of the ‘third sector’ in society. We were tasked with developing our own project that aimed to improve an issue within a community in Bandung.
- Global Issues was a foundational introduction course into issues facing the world today and its application to International Relations Theory.
- Diplomacy introduced students to diplomatic terminology, practices and protocols as well as different types of diplomacy.
- ACICIS give students a variety of internship options, of which I chose Resilience Development Initiative. As part of my assessments I submitted weekly internship journals, a final internship report and a final presentation. RDI requirements included the development of a working paper and other contributions to the think tank.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university?
I ventured out of UNPAR and joined societies in the broader Bandung community. I became Vice President of the Australian Indonesian Youth Association Jawa Barat Chapter, I joined the Bandung Salsa Scene for my weekly fix of Latin dancing in Indonesia and was initiated into the Bandung Chapter of the Hash House Harriers for some weekend hiking and drinking!
Q: How will the International Relations Program influence your future career or study?
I believe the International Relations Program will have a major impact both on my career opportunities and career specialisation. The opportunity to create people to people connections with one of Australia’s most strategic neighbours will be an asset to anyone looking to enter the International Relations field. I was personally able to focus on research areas of my own interest, in which I hope to someday to build a career. My networks at RDI, found through ACICIS, have allowed me to set those foundational networks and build on my own research and analysis in this field.
Q: How does studying International Relations from an Indonesian perspective differ to International Relations from an Australian perspective?
The courses in both Australia and Indonesia teach the same theories and approaches to International Relations because really, these concepts and theories are universal. However, the Indonesian curriculum provides a well-rounded understanding of issues facing Indonesia and the Asia Pacific, more broadly. This detailed view provides in-country perspectives on Asia Pacific issues Australian students may not have access to at their home universities!
Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia (brief description)?
Yes I did! I undertook my internship with Resilience Development Initiative. During this internship I developed a research working paper, helped establish the RDI Non-Traditional Security Knowledge Centre and undertook other intern duties such as drafting the monthly newsletter and peer reviewing previous interns’ articles. RDI have a fantastic team with a broad range of interests and perspectives! It is an inspiring environment and I have really had the best time.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Bandung?
Exploring Bandung’s food scene with my fellow ACICIS pals, running events with AIYA Jawa Barat, going hiking with the Hash Harriers and other ex-pats and dancing with the crew at Bandung salsa scene!
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian food and place to eat?
Bubur Ayam 100%! It was my go to every morning from this warung across from UNPAR.
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Selamat Pagi! (Good morning)
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?
I’ve been so busy! I’ve only been able to get myself to Jakarta a few times, Bali over the Easter break and both to Lembang In the North and Kawa Putih in the South of Bandung!