Last year I spent five months on a student exchange in Indonesia. Most of my friends and relatives still don’t really know what I got up to over there, aside from taking photos of sunsets. I undertook the Development Studies Immersion Program through Australian Consortium for In Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). This program involved two months of intensive Indonesian language study and development workshops, a two month community development placement, and a research essay.
For my field placement I took part in the KKN-PPM program*, through my host university, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), in Yogyakarta. The program has become a rite of passage for the majority of Indonesian university students, which mostly amounts to a community service placement in a low socio-economic village. The philosophy behind the program is that university students are a privileged minority in Indonesia and thus need to give back to the community using the skills acquired during their degree. I was placed in a group with six Indonesian students from the faculties of Geophysics, Geography and Medicine, under the supervision of a professor from UGM. We were tasked with coming up with projects that met the needs of the community, and then help each other implement these projects.
To read more about Tom’s experience, see his blog!