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

Indonesian Language Short Course

Vania McCaskill is a student from the Monash University. Vania undertook the Indonesian Language Short Course at Satya Wacana University in Salatiga with the assistance of New Colombo Plan Scholarship in 2023. Vania is studying Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Indonesian Language Short Course?

I decided to undertake the ILSC because I have been studying Indonesian in Australia for several years now, but I haven’t been able to be fully immersed in the culture. The ILSC is such a great opportunity to experience what I had priorly mostly only learnt in a classroom firsthand and see the cultural aspects I had learnt about play out in front of me.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If yes, why do you think the NCP is an important initiative?

I was lucky enough to receive a 2023 New Colombo Plan Scholarship. The NCP is instrumental in helping undergraduate students gain real-world experience and expand their global perspective through immersion of a culture different to that in Australia. Gaining such perspective is vital in creating understanding between Australia and its neighbouring countries – including Indonesia. The NCP provides an invaluable opportunity to study and live in the Indo-Pacific and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have done the ILSC through the NCP.

Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this in-country experience?

Speaking with my homestay family, Grab drivers, farmers, shop keepers and students and staff at UKSW was the most rewarding part of this experience. I enjoyed getting to know others in the ILSC group and enjoyed hearing their stories about why they have an interest in Indonesian studies.

Q: What do you find to be the most challenging about the ILSC?

Adjusting to a completely different environment, different food, different weather amongst all the other change! I enjoyed being thrust into a completely different lifestyle because it challenges you to adapt and become aware of cultural differences. Adapting to different cultures is an invaluable skill that allows you to understand others from different cultures.

Q: Have you had previous experience learning Indonesian in Australia? If yes, how different was the in-country ILSC to your previous experiences?

I’ve studied Indonesian for several years at school and at university prior to the ILSC program. I found my language skills improved a lot here by virtue of the immersion into the language and seeing/hearing Indonesian words wherever I go.

Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this in-country program? If yes, how was this achieved?

Being in a homestay was an incredible way to learn more about the Indonesian culture. I was lucky enough to stay with a lovely family who were happy to take me to some of the ‘touristy’ locations of Salatiga and they were happy to share their knowledge about Indonesian culture and traditions with me. I was even lucky enough to attend a Javanese wedding!

Q: What have you enjoyed most about the course?

The conversations with locals has been my favourite part of the course. I’ve enjoyed having casual conversations because it helps me practice my language skills and also learn more about the ‘budaya’ of the area. Trying out a lot of the new food here has been amazing too!

Q: How will your proficiency in Indonesian Language gained through the ILSC influence your future career or study?

The immersion aspect of the program, paired with formal Indonesian class studying was a great mix to become ‘lebih lancar‘ in the language.

Q: Would you recommend this program to your friends?

Absolutely. It has been such a unique experience and one I would definitely recommend to friends.

Q: Describe your experience of the in-country ILSC in three words!

Memorable, inspiring and ‘menyenangkan‘!

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian phrase?

I’m sure this is a very common favourite but ‘tidak apa-apa’! It means ‘no worries’ or ‘it’s okay’ and I’ve used
it so often here!.