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

Flexible Language Immersion Program

Allys Hansell is a 2023 New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from The Australian National University. She is studying Bachelor of Asian Studies and Bachelor of Economics. Allys undertook the Flexible Language Immersion Program for one semester at Gadjah Mada University from August until December 2023.

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

As a Bachelor of Asian Studies/Bachelor of Economics student, I chose to undertake ACICIS’ FLIP program at UGM to further advance my Indonesian language skills, as well as learn about Indonesia’s diverse culture. Additionally, being half Indonesian, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about my roots and understand the typical university experiences my Mum went through.

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

Yes, I was a recipient of the NCP Mobility Grant. The NCP initiative really relieved many costs involved in the process and was definitely sufficient to live off in Yogyakarta. It covered flights, accommodation, as well as living expenses and experiences here. Without it, I would not have been able to partake in such a wonderful opportunity like FLIP, the experiences I had during the semester, or the series of awesome people I have met along the way!

Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in? (List and brief description)

I enrolled in four subjects at INCULS (UGM’s language learning center) – Reading, Writing, Indonesian Politics, and Translation. I also enrolled in two immersion classes, which were entirely run in Indonesian! They were South Asian Archaeology and Southeast Asian History.

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

I didn’t join any clubs or societies at the university but I was involved in Muay Thai while I was in Yogya.

Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the Flexible Language Immersion Program influence your future career or study?

I think learning Indonesian here has definitely solidified the idea of having a career either based in or to do with Indonesia. I have learnt so much and I would love to apply it to as many areas of my life, hopefully in research!

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

The in-country learning experience is totally different from learning in the classroom. I think the biggest difference for me is that you are actually forced to use your language skills. I always feel back at home, I’m only studying Indonesian for a test but here it was so great to apply it to everyday situations. You learn as you go, pick up cool words, and even though you’re bound to make mistakes, it’s still a great experience that not only develops your language skills but your cultural knowledge!

Q: Did you undertake an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia? (If yes, please provide a brief description on what organisation you are interning with, and what tasks you are undertaking and overall, how you are finding the internship).

Yes, I interned at CIRCLE Indonesia. I found this internship through ACICIS and interned here for 2 days a week for approximately 3 months. CIRCLE Indonesia is a consultancy cooperative for civil society resource development located in Yogyakarta. The main tasks I had reviewing request for proposals from donors, governments, and international organisations (think DFAT, World Bank etc.) and writing draft policy for the company. Prior to starting at CIRCLE Indonesia, I had no experience in either of these roles and was taught how to do so along the way. At the time of my internship, CIRCLE was working with an organisation associated with DT Global which required specific company policy such as anti-fraud, PSEAH, and Whistleblower that was delegated to me! As a later-year university student about to apply for jobs in government and consultancy, this internship was a great way to develop these skills which are usually required in government roles, etc., while also experiencing a different organisational work culture!

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

In my spare time, I loved to explore all the cafes in Yogyakarta! Yogyakarta has such a strong cafe culture, with many cafes also operating as NGOs, workspaces, and art galleries. A lot of us in this semester also drank oat milk, which is still being introduced to Indonesia, so it was a fun little activity to find all the cafes here with oat milk. Other than that, I loved checking out the temples in the Yogya region, getting massages at Djemari, hanging out at the Hyatt pool, and doing Muay Thai with friends!

Q: Favourite Indonesian food/ favourite place to eat:

Nasi pecel and mendoan! I am a vegetarian and nasi pecel was my go-to dish at any warung although it is traditionally a breakfast dish. Nasi pecel consists of rice, steamed cassava leaves, spicy peanut sauce, and of course kerupuk! Mendoan is fried tempe that is battered with shallots, fried and often eaten with a fresh green chilli – what’s not to love! As for my favourite places to eat, I adored the Warung Barokah near me. The Ibu makes the best pecel sauce and was great with dietary requirements. She would even make a vegetarian soto with tofu balls instead of chicken! There was also the many stalls at the Pendopo (outdoor food court essentially) near me that I loved eating at – super cheap and a great atmosphere. For Middle Eastern food, there was also Ateeya that had the best baba ganoush. As for fancier or Western restaurants, I loved eating at Yabbikayu, Masama and Aroma Italia. And for celebrations, Mediterranea of course!

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Minta ampun – kind of like saying oh god! Say this to any Indonesian that you know well and you are bound to have them cracking up.

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

I had the privilege of visiting Jakarta, Bali, Lombok, Karimunjawa, Salatiga, Malang, Bromo, Jepara and Pantai Ngandong.