By Jake Wundersitz (Sem 39 & 42/Aug 2014 & Jan 2016)
Best way to describe life in Yogyakarta is a slow and laid back, things don’t necessarily happen straight away but you learn patience. In my two semesters at UGM I completed a semester of Indonesian Language at INCULS which was a fun experience and also helped my further my language skills. My second semester I undertook the FLIP program again and took Tourism related subjects for my Bachelor of International Tourism degree. This was a challenging semester because I took most of my topics in Indonesian which was a great way to push my language even further. The main challenge for me was listening to Indonesian lectures for long periods of time, its exhausting especially when the air conditioner is not working. The first hour would be no problem, but I found listening to lectures in a second language for too long can tire you out quickly. Luckily for me I made some good friends in my classes who would help me if I ever misunderstood anything or had a blank/confused look on my face.
I took classes 3 days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) which meant I had 4 day weekends which was a great opportunity for me to get out and explore the surroundings of Yogyakarta. Some of my favourite places are Candi Bodobudur, Candi Prambanan, Gereja Ayam, Goa Jomblang and the surrounding beaches in between Yogya and Pacitan. Most of my weekends were spent surfing or adventuring but I also took a lot of photos both in and out of the water to build my surf photography portfolio on Instagram (@wunderlust.media). Indonesia was the perfect place for me to do this because everything is so photogenic, the waves and landscapes are amazing and Yogyakarta was a great central place to be based and go off on adventures from. One of my favourite adventures was when me and a friend from Adelaide rode our motorbikes from Yogyakarta to Seminyak (Bali). This trip took us 3 days and a total of 26 hours driving stopping off at some amazing places on the journey such as Pacitan for surfing and most outstandingly Mount Bromo, although I did get some strange looks as to why someone would be riding around at an inland active volcano with a surfboard on the side.
Another thing I liked about my time in Indonesia was the food! Masakan Padang, Soto Ayam, Satay and Lotek were my favourite foods and there are almost too many options sometimes. Food and living in Yogyakarta is really cheap, most days I was spending around 50.000rp ($5) to 80.000rp ($8) including a morning coffee which brings me to cafe life. Yogyakarta has some great cafes with great coffee and I found coffee at a cafe was my morning ritual every day. Sometimes I would even spend up to 8 hours in a cafe and study all day while it rained non-stop outside. I look forward to my next venture to Indonesia, looking to further my studies or career in the tourism industry.
For more information about this program visit: Flexible Language Immersion Program