University of New South Wales
Australian National University
After the first semester in Yogya at UGM, I continued to enjoy my time in Indonesia when I moved to Malang. Malang is a nice change from Yogya: it really is a more clean, green and slightly more ordered city than Yogya. The ACICIS staff are very friendly and helpful. The UMM staff are also ready to lend a hand (I actually think the UMM staff and campus are better and nicer than UGM). Doing the research program here gives you a lot more freedom than doing regular uni classes. If you manage your time well, you can travel and come and go from Malang. On the other hand, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do much research, as there are only a few deadlines to meet throughout the semester and organising interviews here can sometimes be a little tiresome. However, doing interviews and reading through Indonesian sources really improved my formal Indonesian language skills. Overall this semester was definitely a valuable experience in addition to my semester in Yogya, especially because the two semesters are quite different (study, lifestyle, the cities themselves, etc) but in a good way.
Initially, I was a bit sad to be leaving Yogya after one semester and having to move to Malang… However, in the end I found that my overall Malang experience was so rewarding. In particular, I saw a huge improvement in my Indonesian language proficiency and learnt so much about Javanese culture that could not be taught in a classroom.
In Yogya, I did enjoy attending university with a large number of Australian students as well as other foreign students; on the other hand, at UMM in Malang there were only nine of us ACICIS students. This factor actually turned out to be a positive for us, as we were able to focus on forming more friendships with Indonesians.
In Malang, I rented a house with three other ACICIS students. Living in the house in fact further enhanced my experience in Malang, as we spent a lot of time getting to know the many Indonesians living in our street and neighbourhood.
In regards to carrying out research, the thought of conducting interviews and surveys initially seemed like a daunting task. However, in practice the interviews were quite relaxed, interesting and overall enjoyable. Writing a 10,000 word report in Bahasa Indonesia was also a lot less difficult than it first seemed. Indeed, the UMM lecturers and staff involved in ACICIS Malang were always so helpful whenever we needed assistance with interviews and our reports.
My overall advice to anyone looking to undertake the ACICIS UMM program is to start your research as soon as possible, and take as many opportunities as you can to explore East Java, meet Indonesians and form new friendships. Your Indonesian language skills will no doubt improve from researching and writing the report. You may also find that you will learn just as much from immersing yourself in Malang and East Java as well as spending time with Indonesian friends!