Development Studies Immersion Program

Olivia Hill is a 2017 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from The University of Adelaide. Olivia completed ACICIS’ Development Studies Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?

I came across ACICIS through a standard internet search about a year prior to commencing the exchange. It came as somewhat of a surprise that there was a program offering the exact style of program that I was hoping was available to me. The Development Studies Immersion Program offers a unique experience byway of offering university style learning through first hand teaching and experiences. The 8 week internship enabled me to gain valuable in-country experience in the development field whilst still studying and gaining full accreditation for the semester.


Q: How will the Development Studies Immersion Program influence your future career or study?

It has made me realise that I need to fine-tune a set of specific skills so that I am able to offer and engage with more within any future jobs. Throughout this experience I have decided to continue my studies through a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Completing ACICIS will give me invaluable experience with any future counselling work with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants that have newly settled in Australia.

Q: How does development in Indonesia differ to what you’ve seen before?

It has shown me the challenges of implementing programs and the slow pace at which change occurs. I don’t think these things are specific to Indonesia, however it has been a first hand experience gaining insight into the challenges that community development faces globally.

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

I enjoy spending time checking out local cuisine with friends and taking day trips out of Jogja to explore small desa’s as well as visiting all of the beautiful natural wonders that Indonesia has to offer.

Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia?

Yes, I am doing an 8-week internship at PKBI-DIY Youth Centre. PKBI is a sexual health centre and clinic and plays a fundamental role within Yogyakarta in regards to sexual health education and minority empowerment. They work closely with Yogyakarta’s youth, LGBT community and women’s groups. My project whilst at PKBI was a HIV and AIDS campaign where I have created an ‘edutainment’ style campaign. It involves an interactive dance aimed at youth that works along side a informative brochure and sexual education sessions.

Q: What is your favourite food/place to eat? 

It is too hard to pick just one dish! Which is exactly why my favourite places to eat are the ‘angkringan’, which is a buffet style warung. Eating here meant I could have tempe, telor, nasi, sayuran and many different salad and curry style dishes at once!

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

I can’t say that I have a specific phrase that I use all of the time but simply being able to greet and exchange pleasantries with Indonesian people that you meet would be the biggest highlight of learning another language. It made me feel like I could always know that people would know that I was grateful for any hospitality extended to me.

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

Bandung, Cisarua (Bogor), Solo, Merapi and many sites and beaches within and surrounding Yogyakarta Province. One thing I would do differently if I could have my time here again is to utilise my weekends and do more hikes and short trips around Java.