This week I arrived home from Yogyakarta (Jogja) after 4 weeks abroad. During this time I have gained so much insight into nutritional issues and the food culture of Jogja.
During my time in Jogja I was able to see many malnutrition cases that are very sparse in Australia. I learnt about severe anemia, iodine deficiency disorders (where I met a young girl with cretinism) and severe protein and energy malnutrition in children (where I was able to visit two homes with severely malnourished children). It was an incredible experience being able to meet people with these conditions and learn about the community health care initiatives put in place to help reduce these issues.
When arriving in Jogja I had very little expectations of the course as I was unaware of the schedule or requirements. Due to this, I had to be very flexible in regards to the process of the program and the way things were run. This was the first time this particular program was run and thus there was some organisational kinks that had to be worked out along the way. I still had an amazing time in Jogja and think it was a really valuable experience!!
As well as the university aspect of my trip, I was also able to do a lot of tourist activities and indulge in a lot of local and traditional foods! I also met some amazing people who definitely made an impact during my travels and will remain great friends in the future.
The past 4 weeks in Indonesia have been absolutely incredible!! I had the best experience and learnt a lot about the culture, nutritional issues and health care centres in Indonesia. It was great to be able to engage in such a different culture and gain a better understanding of their way of life.
For anyone who is considering studying abroad, I recommend that you do it!! It is the best experience and it can teach you an array of knowledge and skills that you may otherwise not get in Australia. It is also a great thing to put on your CV and set you apart from your peers.
Check out my photos, and feel free to ask me any questions!
Melanie Smith, a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, is participating in the Nutrition and Dietetics Research Project in Indonesia in 2016