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

Public Health Study Tour

Theresa Klarissa is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from The Australian National University. Theresa undertook the Public Health Study Tour in January 2023. Theresa is studying Bachelor of Health Science.

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

This ACICIS program is unique in giving students an opportunity to have an immersive study experience while travelling. I am passionate about public health and being Indonesian-born, this program aligned with my interests and career goals so I enthusiastically decided to participate in this program. From this experience, I envisioned myself getting inspired by learning from different varying perspectives.


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

I was grateful and fortunate enough to receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant. The grant subdued my financial concerns regarding the cost of the trip and therefore enabled a sense of freedom during my experience in Indonesia.


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

The study tour evidently valued the connections we made with the locals, staff, student buddies and each other. Having to say good-bye was definitely the hardest aspect of my experience on the tour. I wish it was longer!


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

In Indonesia, the smoking epidemic is causing a lot of public health concerns. A major strategy to mitigate this issue is to educate the public on the harm of smoking. However, as emphasised in the seminars, Indonesia has great cultural and linguistic diversity within its large population. I came to the realisation that advocacy and health promotion in Indonesia has to accommodate this diversity which adds complexity to health promotion efforts. The tour has made me more interested in the strategies the Indonesian health system is implementing to tackle this problem.


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

My favourite field trip was the visit to the Puskesmas and Posyandu. We had been introduced to Indonesia’s health system including Puskesmas and Posyandu in the seminars however the field visit allowed us to experience what we have learned in practice. This field visit gave a comprehensive tour of the functioning of the health centres and emphasised their significance and role in Indonesia’s health system. It was fascinating to learn about the facilities and services offered such as dental care, therapy sessions, GP visits, pharmacy and many more. It was inspiring to witness a centre that focuses on empowering its community.


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

I am currently interested in pursuing a career in medicine and knowledge of public health is essential to becoming a conscientious doctor. This tour genuinely constructed public health as an intriguing topic and enlightened me on a career involving both medicine and public health. Additionally, I would be interested in returning to Indonesia during my education or clinical years to learn more about what Indonesia has to offer.


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

It was a great honour to have presenters who are professionals in their field of study and present with earnest passion for their subjects of interest. The presenters were perceptive, aware of limitations in data, recognised challenges, proposed solutions and aimed to inspire and educate. I also particularly enjoyed the presentations that are based on personal experience as they made the seminars more intriguing and tangible.


Q: What was your favourite aspect about visiting Indonesia?

Making new Indonesian friends, visiting attraction sites, eating delicious foods and learning about Indonesia’s public health through incredible educators. I also felt more connected with my culture and realised myself improving my Bahasa each day.