By Lyndall Franks, 2012
Department of Education, NSW

I cannot speak highly enough of my experiences as a participant in the July 2012 IFGU study tour. The tour was extremely well planned and organised, and at all times I felt a huge sense of satisfaction that we were in the hands of a professional organisation and working with experienced and knowledgeable staff. I have come away from the tour with a renewed passion for Indonesian language and culture and a real desire to share the knowledge I have gained with the students, teachers and the wider education community in NSW.

It was clear to me that each aspect of the tour had been thoroughly researched and planned. The pre-departure information from the ACICIS secretariat was thorough, clearly explained and gave a sense of excitement for the trip ahead and a sense of ‘belonging’ as a group, particularly through the Facebook page. All questions/queries were promptly answered and shared amongst the group.

Our arrival in Jakarta was smooth – the NSW group were able to process their visas on board the Garuda flight and head straight to organise a taxi to the hotel. We were greeted at the hotel by Dimas, whose professional, friendly and entertaining welcome immediately made everyone feel at ease. The information pack that was provided to us was excellent, particularly the emergency contact cards and mobile phone sim card provisions. There was some discussion that perhaps maps would be a welcome addition to the packs.

Each aspect of the tour had been well planned and there was obvious attention to detail. The diverse range of experiences offered made the study tour a rich and engaging experience. I felt adequately prepared for each aspect of the tour and enjoyed the different types of accommodation we stayed in and the different types of transport we travelled by.

Highlights of the tour for me personally were the opportunities we had to interact with Indonesian people and communities. In particular the three visits to the schools and the village homestay. In retrospect, I would have perhaps liked a little more time at each so that I could have made some deeper connections with people that we met, but I understand that with a group of our size, that would be a difficult task.

I would particularly like to thank David Armstrong, Prof David Reeve, Dimas and Dr Phil King for their expertise in planning and delivering such a well focused and diverse study tour experience in Indonesia. I can’t end without making a special mention of Dimas whose talents and expertise way surpass his years in age.