Public Health Study Tour

Varinder B was a participant in the 2016 Public Health Study Tour from RMIT University. Varinder is studying a Bachelor of Nursing.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?

I am finishing my nursing degree this year and I really want to travel and work overseas so this was a great opportunity that came along my way to show me what its like to work in Indonesia as a nurse and what to expect when I do decide to work away from home.

This tour was offering 12 credit points towards my degree and an opportunity to study public health in Indonesia. The opportunity was too good to miss!

And off I went….

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

I found the trip to the TIP in Yogyakarta to be very challenging, I was not prepared at all for this trip in terms of proper clothing and proper shoes. Had I known it before what it was going to be like being there on a rainy day? maybe I would have worn proper shoes and clothes and I would have also prepared myself mentally about what to expect at the TIP. The smell from the TIP was extremely bad and It took me days to get over this trip.

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

Limited resources in Puskesmas situated in remote areas (such as the emergency department in remote Puskesmas) have only basics to treat a patient, if a patient comes in with a Cardiac condition they do not even have a defibrillator to save that person’s life. The transport system in rural area isn’t great, a lot of people with life threating condition cannot make it to the Puskesmas/ hospital due to poor transport system.

I am also interested in health promotion in remote schools, as I found the current health promotions strategies are quite weak. I found the school in the rural area are not actively promoting healthy eating. There are illegal vendors selling unhealthy food outside the school to the kids (which the kids really love) as Its full of salt, spices, sugar and fat.

Vendors outside the schools.

Health promotion.

The lovely kids.

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

The visit to Puskesmas and Fatmawati hospital in Jakarta was two of my most favourite field trips.

I was super stunned to see the services that Puskesmas was providing in a day to day life to people. They even had a counselling services which I did not expected.

I enjoyed talking to the Head Nurse at the orthopaedic surgery in Fatmawati hospital. She not just shared her experience about working as a theatre nurse but also patiently answered all of my questions I had for her.

I found the staff from both of these trips was very happy and eager to tell us what we needed to know and showed us around the campuses.

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

I have learnt a lot during this trip about Indonesians and their culture which is unique and colourful. The immense amount of knowledge that I have gained from this trip would definitely influence not just my personal life but also my professional career as a nurse. This trip has encouraged me to travel and work overseas in future.

Village trip.

Group presentation.

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

I enjoyed listening to all of the different speakers at the seminars However I really like the discussions that took place at the end of each seminar. Everyone came together during the discussions and discussed what they really think of the current problems Indonesia is facing and what can be done to tackle those problems.

My favourite seminar was at the BKKBN in Jakarta.

RMIT tribe at BKKBN.

Q: What was your favourite aspect of visiting Indonesia?

My favourite aspect of visiting Indonesia was to meeting local people who are very warm, happy and welcoming. I enjoyed hanging out with my Indonesian buddies and they were absolutely a great help during this trip.

I love how Indonesians are very respectful and polite  towards each other and how they use Mbak, Ibu and pak infront of each others names. I am teaching my boys the same.

My favourite tourist place was Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta that I want to revisit.

Touring Prambanan temple.

Visit to the Australian Embassy.