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

Public Health Study Tour

Karishma Singh is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from La Trobe University. Karishma undertook the Public Health Study Tour in January 2024. Karishma is studying Bachelor of Health Science.

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

I had been interested in the Public Health Study Tour for a while but decided to save it for the end of my degree. I thought it would be an excellent way to tie together what I learned at university while adding a global perspective to my knowledge. The tour ended up doing a lot more than that and I’m very grateful that I was able to experience everything firsthand.

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

I was lucky to receive the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant, which made the Public Health Study Tour more accessible. It made partaking in the study tour more enjoyable by reducing the financial burden of saving up for the trip before departure.

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

The most challenging part of the tour was the initial language barrier, however, the language classes we had during the tour did help alleviate this. We were able to then utilise our new language skills to navigate the rest of our trip. There were some days with upset stomachs and other ailments, however the ACICIS staff took great care of us.

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

The impact of climate change on maternal and child health outcomes was something that I was not cognisant of, and I was taken aback by the data. I did not know anything about Indonesia’s geography, and how the islands are wedged in between three tectonic plates. It never occurred to me how climate change impacts health outcomes directly as a result.

Q: What was your favourite field trip? Explain why.

Our trip to the Kebaya Foundation was by far my favourite field trip.  It was incredible to see the amazing work Mami Vin and her team do to ensure that they can advocate and support other transgender people and marginalised communities living with HIV. Hearing about their efforts and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic first-hand was insightful, especially since those with HIV are immunocompromised and most vulnerable during the pandemic.

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

Participating in the study tour allowed me to enhance my cross-cultural competence with hands-on experience and showed us all how health professionals and scholars are creating change on micro and macro levels, through research, community capacity building and collaboration. Networking with fellow like-minded students from across Australia and Indonesia has been rewarding and I’ve made some lifelong friends as a result. Overall, the study tour was a uniquely transformative experience that will continue to shape my career by providing me with new perspectives, skills, connections, and inspiration for years to come.

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

I could not tell you just one thing I enjoyed about the seminar series; I loved each aspect. We were blessed to have the opportunity to learn from the most brilliant minds in Indonesia about all facets of Indonesia’s public health system and the challenges they face. I also enjoyed having our Universitas Indonesia buddies with us so that we could ask them further questions about Indonesia and their lived experiences accessing health support in their country.

Q: What was your favourite aspect about visiting Indonesia?

Indonesian hospitality is unparalleled. Everyone we came across, from those who were a part of the tour to strangers exuded such kindness and warmth. They made us all feel so welcome that it made any sort of homesickness go away and made the tour just that much more wholesome.