Zacharie Nichols-Lang is a 2022 New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient from Murdoch University. He is studying Bachelor of Arts. Zacharie undertook the International Relations Program for one semester at Gadjah Mada University from August until December 2022.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ International Relations Program (IRP) ?
As a Global Politics and Policy student, I have always had an interest in the different ways in which groups of people structure their politics and societies. Coupled with an interest in Indonesia developed during family holidays, studying an ACICIS program was the natural choice for me.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
Yes, I received an NCP Mobility Grant for my study. This grant allowed me to visit other cities and towns in Indonesia.
Q: What classes/units are you currently enrolled in? (List and brief description)
During my first semester of study my enrolled units included Australian Foreign Policy, ASEAN Security Cooperation, Diplomacy, and the Politics of Investment and MNCs.
Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the universities? (List and brief description)
I did not join any UGM clubs or societies, although I did volunteer as a committee member of Australia Indonesia Youth Association’s Yogyakarta chapter.
Q: How will the International Relations Program influence your future career or study?
It is my hope that my participation in IRP will demonstrate my adaptability and interest in Australia’s Indo-Pacific neighbours, should I apply for a position with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Q: How does studying International Relations from an Indonesian perspective differ to International Relations from an Australian perspective?
The most interesting difference is Indonesia’s commitment to non-alignment. This contrasts that of Australian IR studies, which is largely undertaken from a US-centric perspective with an understanding of China as an agitator.
Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia? (If yes, please provide a brief description on what organisation you are interning with, and what tasks you are undertaking and overall, what is your opinion about the internship?)
During my first semester I interned with a social sciences research centre, PSSAT. This involved preparing presentations for an Indonesian audience and assisting with press releases.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Yogyakarta?
Definitely gabut, which means enjoying time to relax after finishing assignments and other tasks. I also enjoy people watching while sitting at a café or waiting for Gojek to arrive.
Q: Favourite Indonesian food/ favourite place to eat:
The gudeg at Bu Hj. Amad has become a regular and maybe my favourite food of all time. Gudeg is a traditional dish from Yogyakarta, made by stewing jack fruit palm sugar and coconut milk. The krecek (made from cow skin) is well worth trying too!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
“Fotoin dong” when you want to ask your close friends to take a photo of you.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your Semester so far?
Aside from a variety of locations in Yogyakarta, I have also had the chance to visit Jakarta, Solo, Batam and Bali.