Flexible Language Immersion Program

Simone Verkaik is from Leiden Univeristy. Simone is studying Southeast Asian Studies.

This is Simone’s first semester with ACICIS, and she is undertaking the Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University.

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

In the Netherlands, I study South and Southeast Asian Studies, in particular focusing on Indonesia. Having studied Indonesian language, history, politics and economics for the past two years, studying in Indonesia was the next logical step for me. My home university already had an agreement with ACICIS, so that is how I found this program in Yogyakarta.

Q: What classes are you currently enrolled in?

I am undertaking 5 Indonesian language courses in the advanced level class (lanjut): grammar, writing, vocab, conversation and reading. These classes have a weekly overlapping topic, for example social economy or literature. Besides that I also take one class at the Faculty of Political Science called Theories of Development.

Q: Are you hoping to get involved in any clubs/societies at the University?

I am not involved in any clubs or societies at the University at the moment, but I do have a volunteering job here in Yogyakarta.  I work as an English teacher for a small Dutch-Indonesian organisation which provides free English education for underprivileged children in the southern part of Yogyakarta. Although I teach the kids (and also adults) English, it is really helpful for me for improving my Indonesian, since many kids are too shy to talk in English.

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

Besides  studying and volunteering, I often just hang out, ngongkrong, with my friends. There are so many beautiful places to visit in and around Yogya. We often go hiking or we like to go to the beaches in the south. I also like to go out for a run or go to Yoga classes.

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian food?

To be honest I can east Nasi Goreng Telur everyday – or twice a day. Since I am vegetarian I also eat a lot of tempe and tahu, so lots of gado-gado and lotek for me.

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word or phrase?

Ngongkrong and ‘satai saja’

Q: What is your favourite place to eat?

My favourite place to eat is definitely Warung Flamboyan. I also like to go to the small warungs where you can eat indo mie, the ‘burjo’ a place where Indonesians come together to eat, drink coffee and have a chat together.

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

During the weekends I like to escape the city and go to some beaches for surfing, or to the northern part of Yogyakarta to go hiking. A month ago, I went to Dieng and camped there, which was really nice (and very cold!). Last week, my friend Charlotte and I hiked Mount Merapi.