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ACICIS

ACICIS (Australian Consortium for – ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies)

 

ACICIS (pronounced “Ah-chee-chis” as an Indonesian would) was established as a non-profit organisation in 1994 to develop and coordinate high-quality, semester-long study programs at Indonesian partner universities, for Australian university students. Hosted by Murdoch University, ACICIS includes as members most of Australia’s leading institutions in the field of Indonesian studies. National collaboration enables ACICIS to draw on expertise across all Australian universities and maximise efficiency in organising in-country study.

 

We also provide shorter individually-designed language programs at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta, to suit government and business.

 

ACICIS has become the largest consortium of its kind in Australia, and we believe the world’s leading provider of access for foreigners to study at Indonesian universities. Our students graduate amongst Australia’s best speakers of Indonesian. We have developed a range of study options in Indonesia and provide a unique support network for students and others who wish to experience living and studying in Indonesia. Past ACICIS participants include honours students, TAFE students, Indonesian language teachers, international students and private individuals. Two things are certain – firstly, the student’s language ability will improve dramatically, and secondly, everyone will have a fantastic experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives. ALL ARE WELCOME.

 

Why study ‘In-Country’

 

In-Country study provides an opportunity to put academic study of Indonesian into practice by learning Indonesian language in its lived context, through field projects, and by undertaking Indonesian-run academic programs.

 

There are obvious limits to learning foreign languages within classrooms in Australia, so ACICIS offers students academic alternatives to existing courses in several respects. Our focus is on immersion within Indonesian environments, including local universities, rather than on delivery of ‘enclave’ courses (a term which applies to courses designed to be an extension of Australian curriculum). Our courses aim to facilitate study directed by Indonesian academics and are all taught in Indonesian. Students should be aware that studying in such terms is as demanding as it is rewarding; adapting to foreign methods of teaching, reflecting social and cultural norms we will not be familiar with, requires maturity and flexibility.

 

Life in another culture abounds with new and exciting experiences and opportunities, which may make formal study seem dull by comparison. When language learning opportunities present themselves in everyday activities such as buying food, catching a bus, going to the local football ground, visiting new friends, or just sitting on the street corner, it can be frustrating to have to turn up for classes. Students must appreciate that they are undertaking a course of full-time study. Whatever the distractions, it is necessary to treat study in the Indonesian classroom as seriously as home university study, and to have the discipline to maintain a structured study regime.

 

This is not to say that students shouldn’t put time and energy into extra-curricular activities. Many ACICIS students have found involvement in clubs, recreational and voluteer activities to be a great way to meet people and integrate into the local community. There are a large number of activities available to students around Yogya, Malang and other university towns. ACICIS students have been active in university clubs, the most popular being the nature lovers club, sporting clubs, martial arts, dance and gamelan societies. Students have also joined local sporting clubs, both by participating in practice sessions and formal games, and joining in an informal game of soccer in the afternoon at the field down the road. There is also the opportunity to experience the many artistic performances that happen around Yogyakarta.

 

Students need to be aware that they may experience a variety of difficulties. Coping with a full semester study load in a second language, compounded by unfamiliar teaching practices and administrative procedures, is certain to be difficult, even without the added differences in culture, food, language and climate, both in and outside the classroom.

 

Students may experience culture shock because of physical and mental changes they undergo in the first few weeks and need to give themselves time to adapt to this. After this, it is still common to be prone to ‘culture stress’, – trying to function as an Indonesian 24 hours a day (when you’re not) can get exhausting. It is also a good idea to have ‘escape mechanisms’ (strategies to deal with culture shock and stress) in place. These might include making a house or room into a home, writing letters or emailing friends overseas. Some students may find that, every now and then, going and hiding in the mall, eating a Big Mac and drinking a cappuccino helps them to stay sane.

 

Finally, it should be said that while students need to be prepared for difficulties, they do not need to anticipate the worst. On the whole ACICIS students find the experience of living and studying in Indonesia thoroughly enjoyable, stimulating and fun. We hope that you will too.

 

 

Read some student articles here

Student comments

 

The best life decision I ever made, the way I see the world has changed.

 

I had a year full of experiences in seven short weeks and loved every moment of it.

 

Best experience of my life, honestly! I made so many lasting friendships with Indonesians but also within the group of fellow JPP/DSPP students. Overall it was a very stimulating, rewarding and unforgettable experience!

 

Character building, immune system destroying….journey of a lifetime.

 

The JPP course and all of its activities encouraged me to look at all sides of an argument, be more open to being wrong, and truly showed me the road to becoming a global citizen and journalist.

 

The best experiences of my life next to being in love.

 

This is an opportunity that will change your perceptions of Indonesia, its structure, its life and its people.

 

It was an amazing, eye-opening experience, probably not attainable through any other means, that is beneficial not only to my career prospects, but to my development as a person.

 

You won’t truly know your strengths and your weaknesses until you’ve experienced Indonesia.

 

The placement has re-invigorated my career.

 

The JPP offers you an opportunity to develop professional and personal networks across Indonesia and Australia, as well as immerse yourself in a fantastic cultural experience. The JPP has truly inspired me to pursue journalism in Southeast Asia as my preferred career path.

 

Do it for your own sake.

 

A unique experience in a cultural wonderland with inspirational people.

 

I went in with an open heart, an open mind and few expectations – and came back bursting with admiration and wonder for a place and a people I will never forget.

 

It was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I learnt all sorts of things and I think it brought out the best in me.

Going into the JPP with an open mind means you come back full of invaluable life experiences, a compassionate heart, and plenty of stories to tell.

 

For Further information, please see: http://www.acicis.murdoch.edu.au/hi/jstories2010.html 

 

 

Unika Atma Jaya
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