My name is Tahnee and I am in my sixth year of a Laws and Legal Practice combined with Arts majoring in International Relations. As part of my studies, I have travelled to a few places – Cambodia, and Netherlands and knew that I wanted to travel again during my summer break. When I saw applications for the 2018 Indonesia Study Tour, I knew I had to apply. I could not have imagined the great opportunities that it had in store.
From dining with the Australian Consul-General at his residence, climbing the Borobudur Temple at sunrise, to meeting the Minister of State Secretariat of Indonesia, who is a Flinders alumni and remembers its ocean views fondly.
I was one of twenty-four students selected for the study tour from across the College of Law, Government and Business. All of the students taking part in the tour received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan scholarship to cover the cost of the tour. The trip was co-ordinated by Dr Pyriyambudi Sulistiyanto (Budi), Dr Maryanne Kelton and Dr Susannah Sage-Jacobson, who are lecturers in International Relations and Law, and also have experience in diplomacy.
The 17 day experience covered three major cities; Makassar, Jakarta and Yogyakarta spread across the islands of Sulawesi and Java, each with a particular diplomatic and cultural focus.
Although there were so many amazing opportunities, a highlight of Makassar was having dinner at the Australian Consul-General’s residence, and meeting interesting local and Australian people living in the area. We were able to speak to people from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who were posted there, and gain insight and inspiration about future possible careers.
Jakarta was a much busier itinerary, with many diplomatic visits to government ministries and long hours in traffic! My favourite events included meeting and discussing the Indo-Australian relationship with representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Indonesia is such an important strategic ally and trade partner for Australia. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we were able to speak with a master diplomat who has dealt with relations between Australia and Indonesia at its best and most complex time, as well ask questions to see how a seasoned diplomat answers tough questions.
In Yogyakarta we stayed at homestays, learnt some basics of Bahasa Indonesianya, attended law lectures at a local university, and even met the Crown Princess and tried traditional archery with the Crown Prince. Budi was also able to show us around his home city, and introduced us to local cuisine – particularly his favourite sate and Gudeg and spent an evening with his family singing karaoke.
While I am looking forward to starting the semester, my advice to anyone who is thinking of travelling is to not discount the experiences, scholarships and opportunities at university and always apply for opportunities!