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

Flexible Language Immersion Program

Madeleine Crothers is a 2022 New Colombo Plan scholar from Deakin University. She is studying Bachelor of International Studies. Madeleine undertook the Flexible Language Immersion Program for one semester at Gadjah Mada University from August until December 2022.

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

I have always wanted to do a semester of study in Indonesia, due to its rich culture, political relationship to Australia, beautiful travel destinations and having studied the language in high school and university. I chose the FLIP program because it allowed me to get units towards my Diploma of Indonesian and my bachelor’s major of International Relations. Meaning I was able to study abroad and stay on track for graduating in both courses. The FLIP program also gave me the opportunity to incorporate an internship within my studies which I have found to be an invaluable learning experience.

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

I was awarded a 2022 New Colombo Plan Scholarship to undertake study, language training and internships in the Indo-Pacific region for up to 19 months. The NCP scholarship has been great in supporting my living costs and alleviating the financial pressure of studying overseas. It has enabled me to complete lessons with Wisma Bahasa, where I received one-on-one Indonesian tutoring several times a week. This was great in developing my Indonesian skills and supporting me with my Indonesian studies at university. This scholarship also helped me complete more travel which built on my experience and understanding of the diverse places, cultures and languages throughout Indonesia that makes the country so unique.

Q: How will the FLIP influence your future career or study?

After studying and living in Indonesia for 5 months, I have discovered that I want to work overseas. This experience will help demonstrate my ability to adapt to a new country, culture and language. I aim to work in Indonesia in the future and apply my language skills to a career here. Being able to dedicate three out of my five units at university to Indonesian, while living, and completing an internship in the country has advanced my language skills which will support my goals of being employable in Indonesia. The FLIP program was also valuable to be able to explore other disciplines, for example completing a law unit as I was interested to see if this was a pathway I wanted to pursue (it isn’t haha).

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

Some highlights of my time in Yogyakarta include trying out different sports like muay Thai and judo, having heaps of nong-krong’s, practising Bahasa Indonesia with my Grab drivers and Wisma Bahasa language classes. I feel like every week was different from wayang orang or kulit to cabaret shows or karoke or attending a Javanese food-throwing festival, each week had something fun and unique in store.

A valuable aspect of my experience was volunteering with Rumah Impian, an organisation that works to empower the lives of high-risk children in Yogyakarta. Along with other ACICIS students, we supported in teaching English and mentoring students through games and activities.

I enjoyed completing a lot of travel around Indonesia, for example staying in my friend’s village, completing hikes, snorkelling in Karimunjawa or visiting the isolated island of Bawean. This created many memories and valuable knowledge of the different geography, cultures, architecture, history and languages throughout Indonesia.

Q: Are you undertaking an internship or student community service (KKN) while in Indonesia?

I am undertaking an internship with resource development cooperative CIRCLE Indonesia, where I support in the project monitoring and evaluation of a project for Save the Children. This has been a valuable experience in monitoring and evaluation. I have found it challenging to obtain an opportunity like this in Australia and am excited to continue this role online to develop more experience in working on international development projects in Indonesia.

Q: Favourite Indonesian food:

Tempe goreng! Often between classes, I would quickly go to the canteen and grab tempe for a snack, so good!

Q: Favourite Indonesian food/place to eat:

Special Sambal is always great! Serving tempe goreng, jamur goreng, terong goreng, telur biasa, terong sambal atau cah kankung, semuanya enak banget! Also helpful in challenging my bule spice threshold.

The university Ilmu Budaya canteen was a favourite, especially Rames Dua being able to select a variety of deliciously spiced noodles, meat and vegetables with rice.

But I also can’t go without giving an honourable, mention to my favourite western restaurant of Nanamia serving the best panini, pizza and pasta in town (better than aroma Italia IMO)!

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

Tidak apa-apa meaning no worries. I find myself saying “maaf” (sorry) a lot, whether I accidentally get on a grab bike too aggressively, muck up my Indonesian or give the wrong change, I always get the same response of tidak apa-apa. No one is ever mad or annoyed because tidak apa-apa!

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

Jakarta, Pacitan, Gunung Bromo, Gunung Merbabu, Solo, Dieng Plateau, Gresik, Pulau Bawean, Semarang, Jepara, Bali, Magelang, Pulau Karimunjawa, Cilacap, Gunung Ijen, Surabaya and I cannot wait to continue my travels throughout Indonesia!