UniBRIDGE – Student and Staff Experiences

−UniBRIDGE Program Coordinator Chris Hall with friends from UniBRIDGE at ‘Puskom’ Computer Centre, University of Nusa Cendana (UNDANA)

UniBRIDGE is an innovative online learning program. The program uses Blackboard Collaborate Software to provide an interactive platform where Australians and Indonesians come together to learn about each others’ language and culture. Earlier this year Asia Options met with some of the students and staff working on the UniBRIDGE program to ask them about their experiences. This included Chris Hall who is affiliated with Charles Darwin University as a program coordinator with the UniBRIDGE program. We also talked with some local Indonesian students, Lilyen and Albert about their experiences in UniBRIDGE.  Asia Options focused on the gains which could be taken from the program:

1) What (skills, knowledge, experiences) have you gained from Unibridge?

Chris My current role is program coordinator on the Australian side. I have gained Indonesian language skills, cultural and social knowledge about indonesia and Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT). Lilyen I think I got many benefits from UniBRIDGE. I can improve my english through lessons that are more relaxed and fun. I’m usually not so comfortable to learning English in a formal course but in UniBRIDGE I really enjoy learning English and while it’s a lot to learn, I’ve survived till now. I learned some idioms and slang, I learned about Australian culture, and have become more confident to speak English. I can now build a good relation with foreigners through conversation. Albert I gained a lot of  knowledge from UniBRIDGE. I trained myself to be more confident (when talking) than before. Actually I’m a shy person but from UniBRIDGE I’ve became more confident now. And also of course, from Unibridge, I gained a lot of english ability especially in speaking. I now already know some of the culture in Australia through the presentations of our UniBRIDGE classmates in Australia.

2) What has been your most memorable experience from Unibridge?

Chris When I first met Dije on the BBC and we spent an hour or more trying to trouble-shoot and work out how to use the online program. Lilyen All things in UniBRIDGE have been memorable for me. All of the moments have their own story. But if I have to choose one of them I’ll choose the moment when I become a partner for the final conversation task of BRIDGE with a student from Aussie. Even though we always talk to each other for a long time it doesn’t meant we still felt nervous. We were afraid we can’t answer the questions or that something else would go wrong. Even though we were nervous and stressed for the final task, it was a very memorable time. Albert My unforgettable experience from Unibridge, was when the Australia Indonesia Institute (AII) came to visit our university. I was assigned to give a presentation of our online learning simulation. It was also very memorable when Prof Richard, Mr Nathan and others from the University of the Sunshine Coast and Charles Darwin University came to Kupang to visit. I also remember when Chris Hall came here. In these experiences I enjoyed my time as a part of UniBRIDGE project.

3) What kinds of suggestions / improvements can you offer for Unibridge?

Chris Improved management of online content, esp student wikispace.

Lilyen I sent some suggestions to Prof Richard in 2012. Many of my ideas have been heard and put into the UniBRIDGE program in 2013. But now I want UniBRIDGE to become bigger, so I think we need to promote UniBRIDGE more intensively and build cooperation with other universities. The same needs to be done in Australia. All UniBRIDGE students should be more active dalam mengikuti program ini. If the students can be more active, I’m sure they are will never regret in the future. Albert My suggestions include better access to the internet in the computer centre. Also it would be good if each person from Australia and Indonesia can give a presentation about a specific topic. I also hope many Australian students from UniBRIDGE can have a time to visit us in Kupang.

4) When you finally went to visit your UniBRIDGE friends overseas how was your experience?

Chris I loved going to Kupang and actually having friends there to meet. It was great going to different places with you guys like the Japanese ruins and Baun. It was also a strange experience being told I’m ‘the first bule’ that many people had met.

Lilyen and Albert
Lilyen and Albert have both received awards from UniBRIDGE. The reward for enthusiasm and exceptional contribution to the program is the chance to visit Australia in mid-2014. This is an opportunity which would be well outside their reach without this program.


For more information about UniBRIDGE visit their website here.

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