Savannah Benson is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from The Australian National University. Savannah undertook the Virtual Indonesian Language Short Course in January-February 2022.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ILSC?
I decided to undertake ILSC because I wanted the opportunity to practice speaking Indonesian and learn more about university. Whilst unfortunately the program was virtual this was still a great opportunity to study at an Indonesian university.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If yes, why do you think the NCP is an important initiative? The NCP is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates on experiences such as the Virtual Indonesian Language Short Course
I did recieve an NCP Mobility Grant. The NCP is a great initiative because it gives students the opportunity to study overseas (although unfortunately virtual during the pandemic) and learn more about the Indo-Pacific. The financial support to study overseas gives more people more opportunities to learn more about the Indo-Pacific.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
The most rewarding part of the experience was being able to speak to fantastic teachers in Indonesia and learn more about Indonesia especially through the cultural exchanges. It was also rewarding to meet like-minded people who were also doing the program.
Q: What do you find to be the most challenging about the ILSC?
The most challenging part was the 4 hour time difference and having to adjust my time management to take the classes and work on assignments and studying as classes finished later in the day.
Q: Have you had previous experience learning Indonesian in Australia? If yes, how different was the Virtual ILSC to your previous experiences?
I previously did 2 semesters of Indonesian at university last year. Unlike learning Indonesian at university this program taught me a lot more vocabulary and grammar in a shorter amount of time and forced me to practice my speaking. It also had a lot more opportunities to learn about Indonesia itself instead of just the language.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
I was able to learn about Indonesian culture especially through the seminars and cultural exchanges. In class we also learned a lot about different aspects of Indonesian culture and had the opportunity to interview local people in Salatiga.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about the course?
I enjoyed having the opportunity to simultaneously learn more about Indonesia while also learning the language, as well as opportunities for cooking lessons and also being able to speak to local Indonesian people about their culture and practice speaking Bahasa Indonesia.
Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the ILSC influence your future career or study?
Hopefully once the pandemic is under control I will have the opportunity to be able to go to Indonesia either for university or a future career. The language skills that I have gained will hopefully be useful if I have the chance to go to Indonesia and will also help me in future study of the language as I continue studying Indonesian at University.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
I would definitely recommend this program to friends. It allows you to learn more about Indonesia and the Indonesian language from the comfort of your own home whilst still being able to experience learning at an Indonesian University.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
“Tidak apa-apa” atau “hati-hati”
Q: Describe your experience of the Virtual ILSC in three words:
Enlightening, fulfilling, valuable