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

Public Health Study Tour

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

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

I decided to undertake the public health study tour as I thought it would be good to experience how different health systems around the world function and to improve my own perspective of what public health truly is.


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

Yes, this allowed me to undertake the program and gain all it had to offer without needing to worry about the financial aspect.


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

The aspect of the PHST I found the most challenging was navigating the climate, particularly during the field visits when it was very hot and humid.


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

As a result of this tour, I have become more aware of how many low- and middle-income countries such as Indonesia are facing increasing amounts of burden from non-communicable diseases, while still needing to deal with communicable diseases.


Q: What was your favourite field trip? 

My favourite field trip was to the waste management facility in Bogor. I found the way in which they had developed a system for dealing with waste using a variety of animals and food chains to produce all kinds of products (building bricks, eggs, poultry, fruits, vegetables etc) that were all self-renewing, was interesting and creative. Lastly, I found the fact that it was run almost entirely by volunteers who received no monetary compensation very inspiring.


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

The public health study tour has inspired me to pursue some sort of work in Indonesia or a similar country in the future. Furthermore, I think having completed the PHST will be useful in my future career as I will have a better understanding of some of the health challenges faced in Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries.


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

My favourite aspect of the seminar series was hearing the personal stories of some of the highly respected academics. It gave a new perspective into the challenges they have faced on an individual level. In particular, I liked hearing about the experiences of a frontline worker during the covid pandemic.


Q: What was your favourite aspect about visiting Indonesia?

My favourite aspect of visiting Indonesia was meeting so many new people. From meeting the other students on the trip to meeting the lovely buddies at Universitas Indonesia and in Yogyakarta to interacting with the many friendly locals, meeting new people in Indonesia was a wonderful experience and something I will never forget.