The IndoAustay Exchange Program and the IndoAustay Immersion Courses give both students and adults from each Australian state or territory the opportunity to experience Indonesia through homestay placements and engaging study programs in Yogyakarta and Bandung.
The Six Week Northbound Student Exchange Program administered from Bandung, West Java, does not involve formal instruction in Indonesian language. The Exchange Program focusses on immersing students in everyday life in Indonesia through placement at a regular high school and staying with a local host family. Through this program students will have a unique cultural experience and an opportunity to improve their Indonesian language through everyday use. Students need at least rudimentary competence in Indonesian language in order to fully benefit from attending school and living with an Indonesian family, so applicants will generally be those currently studying Indonesian at school.
The Two Week Student Immersion Course in Yogyakarta, Central Java usually runs in December/January and is an intensive program limited to a group of six students who undertake a combination of classroom study and field activities aligned to Australian curriculum (VCE, HSC and IB). Classes are held from Monday to Friday from 9am until 3:30pm, with students spending time with their host families during the evening and on the weekends.
IndoAustay also facilitate the Two Week Adult Immersion Course that runs in July and January in Bandung.
‘I found that immersion into the Indonesian way of life was totally less confronting than what I was expecting, and the experience enabled me to rapidly improve my fluency in Bahasa Indonesia’
Often called “Jogja”, for short, Yogyakarta is considered the soul of Java due to its long history of preserving Javanese culture and cultivating the arts, such as gamelan music, traditional dance, batik textile making, and wayang kulit shadow puppetry. The city is a short distance from such historic icons as Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist monument, and Prambanan, a Hindu temple complex that rivals Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat.
Although steeped in history, Yogyakarta is also a very international city – much like Germany’s Heidelberg or Barcelona in Spain – that attracts students and academics from all over the world to its many universities. The Australian Indonesian Association of Victoria has for years run an intensive Indonesian language study program for adults in Yogyakarta.
Known as the “Paris of Java”, Bandung is the vibrant capital of West Java. This cosmopolitan city is about two hours from Jakarta, the nation’s bustling capital, and a focal point for the rich Sundanese culture of the area, including angklung music, wayang golek puppetry, Sundanese cuisine and pencak silat martial arts. Bandung played an important role in Indonesia’s history, particularly in the post-independence era, and is currently the economic centre for its massive textiles industry and an important player in developing geothermal energy. Set amongst the leafy hills of Java’s hinterland, the city has a cooler climate than most of tropical Indonesia. In Bandung IndoAustay works with YMAS (Yayasan Mitra Aziziyah Sejahtera). YMAS is an independent foundation which has taken over as our Indonesian exchange partner from Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI). YMAS is overseen by UPI's former deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Aminudin E. Aziz.
‘These programmes run at a perfect time for students to attend classes at their delegated host school and discover what drives their passion for the Indonesian culture’
All program participants will be placed in homestay accommodation and live as a member of the family to which each is billeted. Placed with an Indonesian family that has a child of the same gender and of similar age, each student will be given their own bedroom, furnished with a bed, table and fan. Individual homestay is regarded as an essential element of the program’s language and cultural experience, giving participants the opportunity to get involved in the daily activities of the family. Owing to this close host-student relationship, participants are subject to the rules of the household (and school at which they are placed) and not allowed to leave the immediate neighbourhood without host family permission or on an approved group or school excursion with proper adult supervision. An information manual detailing all travel, schooling and homestay issues will be supplied to program participants ahead of a cross-cultural information afternoon in November. This session, held in Melbourne, is compulsory for Victorian participants. Alternative arrangements will be made to brief interstate exchangees and immersion students.
Due its size and geographic proximity, Indonesia is perhaps Australia’s most important neighbour in the region. With a burgeoning economy set to eclipse Australia’s by 2030, Indonesia is also a large part of Australia’s future. Being able to speak Indonesian, therefore, will play an important part in the bilateral relationship going forward in this era of globalisation. Uncomplicated by the tonal distinctions of other Asian languages, and written in the Roman alphabet, Indonesian is one of the most accessible languages in the region. With phonetic spelling and a polysyllabic structure like English, it’s alsoa relatively uncomplicated language for Australian students to learn. By taking up an extended in-country experience, Northbound participants are gaining a unique advantage in their language development and a valuable insight into an Asian culture at an influential stage of their scholastic and civic development. The program is also designed to serve as a huge incentive for participants to further their Indonesian language studies beyond high school.