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

Flexible Language Immersion Program

Maggie Dunn is a 2019 New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from the University of Melbourne. Maggie undertook the Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University from August until December 2019.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Flexible Language Immersion Program (FLIP) ?

I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience something new. At the same time, I wanted to progress in my Indonesian studies. The FLIP program in Indonesia was a perfect combination of the two. Additionally, my language studies at UGM were able to be credited toward a concurrent Diploma of Indonesian Language at Melbourne University.

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

Yes, I received a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant, and it really took the stress out of saving up because it provided me enough money for my flights, the course fees, my travel insurance etc.

Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in?

At UGM (Universitas Gadjah Mada) I studied 4 language classes; Menulis (Writing), Percakapan (Conversation), Tata Bahasa (Grammar) and Kosa Kata (Vocabulary), as well as gamelan (Indonesian traditional percussion orchestra) and English Romantic Literature (this subject was conducted in English).

Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university?

I was on the committee of the Australian Indonesian Youth Association, in the Yogyakarta division. This isn’t a club specific to UGM. AIYA aims to connect young Australians and Indonesians who are interested in expanding their knowledge of culture and language. I was on the sports committee. We organised and played futsal, badminton and basketball on a regular basis, in addition to joining all the other AIYA activities. I made some fantastic friends through AIYA, both Australian and Indonesian.

Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian, gained through FLIP, influence your future career or study pathway?

I hope one day to return to Indonesia again for further study or one day work. By learning the language you are able to communicate better with those around you or understand formal and informal situations better.

Q: How different is in-country Indonesian language learning to your previous experiences in an Australian classroom environment?

No matter your career interest, Indonesian language will always be an asset; whether you work in trade and economics, research, international relations, healthcare, education, all of it. I hope to pursue a career in the healthcare industry and I am sure that my proficiency in Indonesian will lead to some great opportunities to collaborate with Indonesia and even work abroad.

Q: Are you undertaking an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia? 

I undertook an internship at Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia (PKBI), which concerns itself with reproductive and sexual health education and empowerment throughout Indonesia. With PKBI I was fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a reproductive education class, in addition to working with the team to assist with exhibitions and other projects. I worked with PKBI 1.5 days a week.

Twice a week I would also volunteer with Project Child Indonesia. PCI works to educate Indonesian children about the environment. I would meet with my team for a few hours once a week for class planning, and we would then teach that lesson to year 4 students at our assigned school later in the week.

I also volunteered with Rumah Impian once a week. Rumah Impian works to keep at risk children off the streets by engaging with them and investing time in them, were would help with their homework, run educational activities and play games together.

There are all great programs and really helped me develop my Indonesian and form friendships.

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

I made a regular habit of hopping from one coffee shop to the next and getting caffeinated to the extreme from all the $1 iced lattes.  It was always fun getting a group of friends together to eat at the multitude of warungs Jogja has to offer and testing sambal tolerance. There’s also always a great range of festivals and exhibitions in Jogja to check out in your spare time.

Q: Favourite Indonesian food and place to eat:

Nasi pecel <3

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Enak, meaning delicious. But enak can also be used more diversely to describe a nice sound or sight etc. It always makes me laugh with the direct translation of ‘that person looks delicious’.

Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far? What is your favourite trip?

I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to Bandung, Salatiga, down to the beaches down south of Jogja, Karimun Jawa and Bali (of course). At the end of my semester I also managed to travel to Flores which was amazing. The snorkelling there is just amazing.

So many great places still to explore though!