A Jakarta Expat on How to Win at NAILA 2021!

Bryanna Wilson, a 2018 NAILA awardee, speaks with Asia Options on her experience with Australia’s premier Indonesian language competition.

Fellow Indonesia-philes! Entry into the 2021 National Australia Indonesia Language Awards (NAILA) closes on August 31, and so there’s still time to participate in Australia’s premier Indonesian language competition.

Founded in 2015 by Sally Hill, NAILA accepts submissions from Australians of all ages showcasing their Indonesian language skills. 

The submissions are judged and ranked by established and expert Indonesianists, and the winners are announced during a ceremony

The great thing about NAILA is that it is designed for all age groups, and all levels of ability. 

From prep to grade 3, right through to the tertiary and executive level, NAILA accommodates all levels of progress and expertise in the language. 

You don’t even need to have studied Indonesian, at either school or university. 

The People’s Choice category, for example, is pitched at all Australians, regardless of age or occupation, who are non-native speakers of Indonesian. 

All you need to enter is a love for the language and some time to write out and deliver a short speech. 

The speaking times are short, and making a video of yourself talking Bahasa is easy. All you need is a smartphone!

This year’s theme is ‘Berpergian’, or Travel.

Alongside the general theme, a number of different topics are offered up and you can choose which suits you best. 

For example, in the Senior category, pitched at young Australians in Grades 10-12, speakers can drill into the following topics:

  • When visiting Indonesia, most Australians go to Bali! Pitch an alternative travel location for Australian tourists visiting Indonesia.
    Saat mengunjungi Indonesia, kebanyakan orang Australia pergi ke Bali. Berikan alternatif lokasi wisata lain untuk turis Australia!
  • If you plan on celebrating the end of high school by attending Schoolies, where would you wish to go? Or if not, why?
    Jika kamu melakukan “Schoolies” untuk merayakan kelulusanmu, kemanakah tujuanmu? Jika tidak, mengapa?
  • Imagine you are a tour guide in Australia. Pitch a travel itinerary and packing guide for Indonesian tourists!
    Bayangkan Anda adalah pemandu wisata di Australia. Berikan rencana perjalanan dan daftar perlengkapan untuk wisatawan Indonesia.

What’s more, the winner of each age-group category receives a handsome sum of money for their efforts. The winner of the Middle-School category, pitched at students in Grades 7-9, can expect to receive $600, while the winner of the People’s Choice category can expect to receive $1,500. 

Last year’s ceremony featured the Australian ambassador to Indonesia and Senator Simon Birmingham, who spoke at length about the importance of Indonesia to Australia.

It’s not one to miss! 

To give readers some tips on how to succeed, Asia Options invited 2018 awardee Bryanna Wilson, who lives and works in Jakarta, to offer up her reflections on her own experience with NAILA.  

Why Is It Important for young Australians to learn about Indonesia?

Indonesian studies is one of the most untapped potentials for Australia. Indonesia is so vital to Australia politically and economically. We not only benefit hugely as individuals by learning about our neighbours, but also as a nation. Individually, learning the Indonesian language and about Indonesia not only helps to broaden your understanding of the world, but also puts you one step above others in terms of job prospects and experience.

What was it like to compete in NAILA, and what was it like to win?

For me, winning NAILA really helped to reassure me about my Indonesian language skills and to gain confidence. Filming my entry was challenging and time-consuming, but it was just what I needed at the time to help push my skills and my career. The prize money was also a big incentive.

Do you have any tips to this year’s entrants?

My number one tip is to practice, and practice, and then when you think you have it down to practice some more. I think I filmed my entry about 100 times. Another tip would be to add something personal. At the time of my entry, Indonesia was a huge part of my life, but it doesn’t have to be. Bring your fire and your passion.

What attracted you to Indonesia in the first place, and what do you love about the country?

I first started learning Indonesian in high school because I loved learning languages and it was one offered at my school. However, Indonesian stands out from learning other languages because Indonesia is so different. So many people have so little knowledge about Indonesia despite it being so close in proximity and so important as a nation, and that always intrigued me. I wanted to be different and to do something different.

Check out the website here for full details! 

Ayo! Jangan melewatkannya! 

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Duncan Evans

Duncan holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in United States Studies, both from the University of Sydney. In addition to Asia Options, Duncan is presently employed as a journalist with CQ Today, a regional paper based in Rockhampton which distributes across Central Queensland. Following university, Duncan spent over three years living and working in Indonesia, including some two years working as an editor, translator and writer for the Jakarta Post. His fascination with Indonesia developed almost immediately. With Asia Options, Duncan hopes to introduce other young Australians to the country in the hope that they too will experience the same awe and exhilaration he felt living and working in this beautiful, complex and majestic nation.