Orlando Kirby-Knox is a New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from the University of Western Australia. Orlando undertook the Agriculture Semester Program at Bogor Agricultural University in Semester 1, 2018.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Agriculture Semester Program?
So, last year I was on a family trip to Indonesia. I’d been a couple times before, but for some reason this particular trip sparked a fascination with the country. Everything about it intrigued me, I knew I’d end up coming back for longer sometime in the future. A couple weeks after returning home, I was told about the Agriculture Semester Program and it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in?
- Animal Genetics – A pretty basic course on genetic theory with many hands on practical activities.
- Dynamics of the Agribusiness Market – Teaches the intricacies and patterns of the Indonesian food market.
- Primate Ecology and Conservation – A very in-depth class delving into some primate biology, their needs in this rapidly changing world, and current work that is being done to protect primates and their habitats.
- Herpetofauna Ecology and Conservation – Very similar to the primate class in terms of the content, but seems to be more specific in terms of case studies and learning about individual species. Obviously doesn’t mention primates though.
- Bird Ecology and Conservation – Again, similar to the two aforementioned classes, but concerning birds.
Q: How has your study in Indonesia influenced your understanding of Agriculture or Food Security in the region?
My classes weren’t too focused on agriculture or food security, but from attending IPB, I could see that Indonesia takes the field very seriously with a great deal of research and investment.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Bogor?
I spent a lot of time meeting new people and doing things with friends. Bogor has lots of cool cafes, so they were great places to hang out at. If I wanted a change of pace, the hustle and bustle of Jakarta was close by, with great shops and way more of a nightlife scene than Bogor. When I wanted a quiet weekend, the beautiful surf towns on the south coast were only a short bus trip away.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia?
Yes, I’m working with the Indonesian branch of Conservation International. To put it briefly, my assignment involves surveying tourists and locals alike on a popular surfing beach in Canggu, Bali. The aim of this project is to gain insight into what people value in the beach, then we will create a report informing the government and local private sector of these values. Hopefully this will stimulate a greater presence of community environmental involvement.
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian food?
Rendang/martebak/sop kaki/ayam betutu (it’s hard to choose one!)
Q: Favourite place to eat?
Any Nasi Padang store!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
Jam karet (rubber time) works well for me – it’s a foolproof excuse for being late.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far?
Bogor, Jakarta, Pelabuhan Ratu, Bali, Flores, Komodo, Bintan (Riau), Yogyakarta.
Q: Your testimonial regarding IPB?
IPB has an incredible world class reputation and it definitely holds up! My lecturers were so passionate about not only the subjects they taught, but more importantly their students’ success. I was welcomed wholeheartedly in all of my classes, with the students going well out of their way to make sure I was accommodated at IPB, inviting me to eat, study, and play in the faculty sports teams. A downside was that as English was everyone’s second language, they were all a bit nervous to involve themselves in lengthy conversations, but I took this as the perfect opportunity to learn a good amount of Bahasa Indonesia. IPB has taught me so much that I will never forget, I can’t recommend it more to other students like me!