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

Public Health Study Tour

Amina Fatima is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from La Trobe University. Amina undertook the Public Health Study Tour in July 2023. Amina is studying Bachelor of Health Science.

Q:Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS Public Health Study Tour?

I chose to participate in the ACICIS Public Health Study Tour because I have always wanted to learn more about another country’s health challenges, as well as the distinct food, culture, and customs/traditions it has to offer. As a student interested in working in the field of health promotion, I have always wanted to gain firsthand experience with the health challenges that Indonesian communities face, and this programme provided me with the opportunity to interact with healthcare professionals, lecturers, and, most importantly, learn more about individuals living in rural communities and how poor living conditions affect their health negatively, as well as government preventative initiatives to assist manage and overcome them.


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

Yes, obtaining the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant assisted me in financially covering the expense of the tour, relieving the financial strain and ensuring that I had a wonderful time while in Indonesia.


Q: What did you find to be the most challenging about your experience on the PHST?

Since it is known as an “Intense tour,” which it is, I struggled to balance study with leisure time, especially in the first week, so make sure to get rest and explore the beautiful city with your peers. In the second week, I had more free time with peers after the field trips, so you will have more time in Yogyakarta and there is so much more to see there, so explore the beautiful cafes, volcanoes and cultural sites such as Taman Sari, Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple and so make the most out of it and make long lasting friendships and memories with your peers.


Q: What public health issues in Indonesia have you become more interested in/aware of as a result of this tour?

Some of the public health issues that I became aware of as a result of this programme were maternal and neonatal mortality, riskier abortion methods, and a lack of health literacy in new mothers to care for their newborn babies in terms of nutrition and regular health checkups to monitor child’s growth.


Q: What was your favourite field trip? 

My favourite field trip in second week of the tour in Yogyakarta was when we took a walk along the Kali Code River because not only did, I gain an understanding of the living conditions for some of these people, but I also got to hear from the community leader about the story of resilience and courage and how close-knit the community became after the floods. When I did my research, I realised that many of the people that make Yogyakarta tick live in Kali Code as Individuals all working together in their many small-scale enterprises to create a vibrant environment for creative creation in the close-knit area.


Q: How do you think the Public Health Study Tour will influence your future career or studies?

Through this programme, I have gained employable skills such as networking, communication, and critical thinking, which I believe will be useful when looking for new employment. Thank you for giving me this opportunity of completing this programme as it has piqued my interest in working in women’s health or with children, and I want to work specifically in prevention programmes focusing on health issues affecting children or women because I have discovered that I can build rapport and empathise with them.


Q:What did you most enjoy about the seminar series?

During the first week at Universitas Indonesia, I attended lectures on various public health issues, and I developed a better knowledge of why different population groups were more vulnerable to specific health diseases and the socioeconomic factors that impact them. The depiction of each graph and table made it simpler to grasp the statistics of both communicable and noncommunicable diseases, as well as the general patterns/trends over the years and preventative programmes and policies put in place to battle those health concerns for that specific demographic group. Following each seminar, I made a point of asking presenters several questions if I needed clarification on any topic presented during the presentation.


Q: What was your favourite aspect about visiting Indonesia?

Here are some of my most favourite aspects of the ACICIS PHST and how they helped in making an amazing experience for me. What I truly liked about people was their friendliness and warm and welcoming nature. Everyone in Indonesia including all of the program assistants, lecturers, UI teachers, group buddies and people in the local communities were all so kind and helpful which made my
experience even more enjoyable as it was easy to communicate and build meaningful connections with them. This program also gave me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and meet the wonderful peers from different universities across Australia and gain an insight into their disciplines and why they are interested in working in the health sector. I loved the food that was offered throughout the tour but also the food I got to try in my free time with my peers. I also enjoyed viewing the beautiful scenery, which included stunning mountains, rice fields, volcanoes, and cultural attractions like the Taman Sari (Royal Gardens) and Borobudur Buddhist Temple, as well as local street markets and large malls, so I made sure to do a lot of shopping and bring back home lots of gifts/souvenirs.