Why study with ACICIS?

I first heard of the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) when I was studying Indonesian at University. My Indonesian language teacher recommended it as a way of practicing Indonesian outside of class. I figured it would be helpful for my language learning and help build a career pathway. Despite the pandemic and all its rage, I was still determined to take the language course with ACICIS.

In early 2021, I was fortunate enough to take part in the first ACICIS virtual Indonesian Language Short Course (ILSC). Despite the course-taking place online, the overall experience was excellent. The course was only a few weeks. Language classes took place everyday along with optional cultural activities. There was regular contact with ACICIS staff, Satya Wacana Christian University (Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana) staff and other participants throughout the program. We were also able to engage with local community members of Salatiga, Central Java. So much of the itinerary was similar to the in-person program. Because of this, we did not entirely miss out on the cultural immersion experience.

My experience along with others highlights the resilience and importance of ACICIS. During the pandemic, ACICIS was under immense pressure. But the virtual programs could not have happened without the efforts of the ACICIS staff across Indonesia and Australia. They have had to constantly adapt to shifting circumstances and uncertainty, in order to deliver high quality study programs for Australian students. But with international travel slowly resuming, ACICIS is slowly reintroducing in-person programs. Now, is an ideal opportunity to consider taking part in an ACICIS program.

Recap: What is ACICIS?

Unlike exchanges in other countries, the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) is uniquely designed for Australian university students to directly access study opportunities in Indonesia through a non-for-profit consortium of universities. The programs are tailored to meet the needs of students interested in Indonesia. By way of illustration, ACICIS offers a range of field studies including agriculture, development, creative arts, law, Indonesian language, and many more! These programs are offered throughout the year either as semester-long programs, short programs (summer/winter), virtual programs and intensive courses. Keeping in mind, virtual programs are still available if your interested in pursuing one of the fields but are not able to travel.

To find out more about ACICIS history and program structure, make sure to check out this ACICIS introduction post from Asia Options.

Aligning ACICIS with Your University Degree

ACICIS has a lot to offer Australian university students. The most obvious benefit is that students can expand on their field of study by gaining international experience. Which is valuable in an increasingly globalised world. Depending on your eligibility, you can receive grants that can help cover program expenses. For example, the New Colombo Plan mobility grant and or New Colombo Plan scholarship program. There are also university-based scholarships/grants that you can access through your own university. It is worth checking in with ACICIS and your university about such grant options, to ensure you are can get the most out of your study abroad. You may also be eligible to receive credit for the courses you take abroad.

Finally, you do not have to be fluent in Indonesian to complete an ACICIS program. You can complete any ACICIS program at whatever language level you are most comfortable with. Check out my previous article, which explores the most update educational resources for Indonesian language learning. It’s worth reading especially if you are still thinking about learning Indonesian or want to establish the basics.

Online/ Offline Program Options

We can be excited that international travel is resuming, yet we still have to be cautious and consider changing advice as it may come. Therefore, I recommend regularly checking ACICIS’s website and staying up-to-date on the latest travel advice. You can always ask for information about any program with one of the ACICIS staff online, via phone or email. After you finish your program, you automatically became part of the ACICIS alumnus platform. This is a great way to meet other alumnus, receive the latest on ACICIS and opportunities across in Australia and Indonesia.

If your thinking about completing an ACICIS program, check out their website. In addition, get in contact with your university study abroad office. Now is the best time to consider studying through ACICIS and build an interest in one of Australia’s closest neighbors.

Looking for further insight on the ACICIS in-country program experience? Have a read of this post from a student of the ACICIS Flexible Language Immersion Program at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Lotte Troost.

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Katherine Durban

Indonesia Correspondent at Asia Options
Katherine is studying a Bachelor of International Relations and Diploma of Languages (Indonesian) at La Trobe University. She plans to study Honors later this year. Katherine has participated in a number of programs aimed at strengthening Australia-Indonesia relations including the virtual Indonesian Language Short Course and Campus Ambassador program run by the Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). She aspires to work in international development and will continue searching for professional opportunities in Asia.

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