Allana O’Fee is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from Western Sydney University. Allana undertook the Public Health Study Tour in January 2023. Allana is studying Bachelor of Health Science.
Q:Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS Public Health Study Tour?
I decided to take part in the ACICIS public health study tour in 2023 to develop a greater understanding of public health from a global perspective, and to gain valuable experience that would be relevant and applicable in the future in job applications and in my work.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
I was lucky enough to receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to take part in this experience, this really assisted the accessibility of the program for me, as I was able to more readily participate without the extra financial stress. Additionally, having government support to take part in this program made me feel better prepared to take part in an intensive experience, especially with the online learning modules prior to departure.
Q: What did you find to be the most challenging about your experience on the PHST?
The trip is called an “intensive” public health study tour for a reason, it is just that! Over the two weeks, we spent a great deal of time in seminars, field trips and cultural excursions, spending time with our Indonesian classmates, exploring the local area and engaging with new people from our peers to the UI academics! Luckily the ACICIS staff have factored in plenty of downtime, especially in Yogyakarta where you can expect to find plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants to spend time studying and chilling out with your classmates.
Q: What public health issues in Indonesia have you become more interested in/aware of as a result of this tour?
Prior to going on this trip I had a strong interest in women’s health, and reproductive health and rights generally. After taking part in this trip this interest has deepened thanks to the amazing UI teachers, and staff at the Puskesmas and health organisations we visited.
Q: What was your favourite field trip? Explain why.
We were lucky enough to be invited to attend an organisation that works with the transgender community to support individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and to provide safe lodging options for individuals experiencing hardship. This experience was so rewarding as we got to see how a grassroots organisation is working to improve the rights of a vulnerable community in Indonesia, and the interventions they have put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents.
Q: How do you think the Public Health Study Tour will influence your future career or studies?
I think having taken part in an experience like this will give a practical example of some of the field work experience and learning employers are looking for when hiring graduates. Additionally, I think the experience has developed many of my soft skills, such as communication and empathetic practice, critical thinking, and problem solving, all of which are likely to result in a more well-rounded individual with highly sought after professional and interpersonal skills.
Q:What did you most enjoy about the seminar series?
I loved that we were able to hear from such a great variety of speakers, and that the topics varied daily. This way we were able to learn about many of the health challenges being faced in Indonesia, and learn about the determinants leading to the prevalence of these issues, drawing parallels between the social, financial, cultural and systemic factors that influence an individual or communities wellbeing.
Q: What was your favourite aspect about visiting Indonesia?
My favourite aspect of this trip was the people. We got to meet so many wonderful people, including academics, healthcare staff, health advocates, peers from other Universities in Australia from a variety of disciplines. This experience was a great change to meet a learn from other people with similar interests who could offer insights from their respective discipline.