Leah Bourne is a 2022 New Colombo Plan Scholar from the University of Melbourne. Leah undertook the Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University from August until December 2022.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS Program ?
I was fortunate enough to receive a New Colombo Plan Scholarship for Indonesia, when deciding where to study ACICIS came highly recommended by my university. The in-depth support provided was a huge help, it reduced the need to go through lengthy processes directly with Gadjah Mada, made the visa process so much less stressful especially in a post-covid world and provided a beautiful community while on program.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
Yes, I received an NCP Scholarship. This helped me immensely and opened a world of opportunities while in country. NCP really made this all possible for me.
Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in?
I studied intermediate Bahasa for writing, reading and grammar with INCULS. In addition, I did a few FISIPOL subjects including Australian Foreign policy as well as ASEAN Security and Cooperation.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university?
I was not able to get involved extensively with a club while abroad however I did get a chance to observe some rehearsals with the theatre club while they prepared for a monologue competition. I would highly recommend joining a club if you have the time as this is one thing I really wish I could have done.
Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian, gained through FLIP, influence your future career or study pathway?
The FLIP program was both challenging and rewarding for me. I hadn’t studied Bahasa for 10 years, so coming back to it at an intermediate level was a massive challenge but it allowed me to rise to the occasion and increase my skills in a short period of time. I believe this will be invaluable in the future as I enter the workforce. Living overseas in an immersive environment allows you to learn Bahasa in a way you simply can’t back home.
Q: How different is in-country Indonesian language learning to your previous experiences in an Australian classroom environment?
Studying abroad is a very different experience. During the language classes you will be taught entirely in Bahasa. Intermediate classes in FISIPOL are taught in English however the assessments are slightly different to what I was used to. I found the assessments interesting because they allowed me to go through the material more in depth and I found that helped to retain knowledge more effectively. It’s also incredible to view international relations and Australian foreign policy from Indonesia’s perspective.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia?
I wasn’t able to finish my internship during my program as I became sick and had to head home early. I was placed with Satu Nama and the short amount of time I did spend with them was fantastic. Satu Nama has such a warm and welcoming environment, and they achieve so much. The flexibility and opportunities available are wonderful. I was set do go on several fieldtrips to small villages to engage with their programs hands-on, while also conducting research. There is a fantastic podcast studio setup as well. I look forward to going back to Indonesia and engaging with Satu Nama again one day. I also volunteered every week with Rumah Impian. This is an incredible company that helps get kids off the street and back into education. Some of the children stay in their homes and some live at Rumah Impian with full time staff. Each week I helped the kids practice English, read, and play sport. I donated a few Australian Footballs and taught them how to kick. This has made a huge impact on me and will for the rest of my life.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Yogyakarta?
In my spare time I volunteered with Rumah Impian, did extra language training with Wisma Bahasa and went away on many weekend adventures! My favourite trips were to Karimunjawa, Bawean and Dieng. Karimunjawa is a beautiful island that is like Bali 40 years ago, where we adopted and planted coral and snorkelled in beautiful waters. Bawean is a small island where hardly any westerners go, we got to swim in a lake that used to be the crater of a volcano. During my time in Indonesia, I was challenged in ways I never could have imagined and witnessed some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Q: Favourite Indonesian food and place to eat:
The INCULS canteen has great food and is the best place to start if you have a sensitive stomach! The Ayam Geprek, sayur-sayuran from rames dua and the lotek are all great! Soto from Beringharjo market is incredible, it’s definitely my favourite! When you miss comfort food Nanamia, Roma Italia and Mediterranea all hit the spot!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Aduh! This is my absolute favourite, it’s so simple and very quickly becomes a part of your vocabulary. I also love menongkrong which just means hanging out with friends.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your semester so far? What is your favourite trip?
Within Yogya I have done a silver making workshop, Malioboro, Borobudur, Prambanan, Taman Sari, Pasar Beringharjo, Warungboto, Mount Merapi Jeep Tour, Wayang Kulit and Wayang Orang performances and Sunrise at Setumbu Hill.
Outside of Yogya I have visited Karimunjawa, Bawean, Solo, Semarang, Bali, Dieng Plateau and Nepal Van Java.