Ella Parker is a student from the The Australian National University. Ella undertook the Indonesian Language Short Course at Satya Wacana University in Salatiga with the assistance of a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant in 2023. Ella is studying Bachelor of Asian Studies and Bachelor of International Relations.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Indonesian Language Short Course?
To improve my indonesian and better understand Indonesian culture, particularly Java given it is the
most significant island from a policy perspective, but not visited by many Australians.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If yes, why do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
Yes. The Grant is incredibly important. Without it, many students could not afford to travel during their degree. Having now done this, I understand there is so much knowledge you can’t gain whilst in the classroom in Australia. Additionally, making people to people connections with the future thinkers of Asia and the Pacific is incredibly difficult when not done in person. Without NCP, only an elite group of Australian students can afford to travel overseas, which counteracts the goals of diversity in thinking and representation that the Australian Government aims to foster.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this in-country experience?
Meeting Indonesian students who are also studying international relations. I have found it fascinating and insightful to understand the international relations lens of Indonesia, compare the priorities of our countries, and truely ‘get into the heads’ of our neighbours so that I can better understand our similarities, differences and room for opportunities.
Q: What do you find to be the most challenging about the ILSC?
Small cultural adaptions which were mostly dealt with in the first week. For example, staying healthy, wearing the right clothes for different contexts, and engaging respectfully in the household I am staying in.
Q: Have you had previous experience learning Indonesian in Australia? If yes, how different was the in-country ILSC to your previous experiences?
Yes, I have learnt Indonesian for one year at university and done an 8-week community-run course. The Indonesian teaching here has been incredible, the explanations for grammar in particular have been significantly more straightforward. Whilst my teachers in Australia have also been valuable, you can’t compete with the opportunity to learn in the class room and then immediately practice what you have learnt when ordering lunch, getting the bus home or going to the shops.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this in-country program? If yes, how was this achieved?
Yes, mostly through my home stay. I learnt about eating practices, household expectations, bathroom etiquette etc. However, i also learnt about Indonesian culture through our weekly seminars which discussed different aspects of Indonesian culture in detail.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about the course?
Seeing my Indonesian improve on a daily basis, particularly being able to go home for dinner with my host family each night and have a growing capacity to engage with them and learn from them.
Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the ILSC influence your future career or study?
I will continue to learn Indonesian in Australia and intend to use this in the field of international relations. Indonesian language knowledge and in-country experience drives me to focus on Australian-Indonesian relations in my career.
Q: Would you recommend this program to your friends?
Q: Describe your experience of the in-country ILSC in three words!
Immersive, stimulating, rewarding.
Q: What is your favourite Indonesian phrase?