Increased educational cooperation between Indonesia and its partner countries is marked by the increasing number of students studying in each country, both full-time and part-time. This is no exception for students from Australia, one of the opportunities they can take is the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies Program or ACICIS.
Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar) is one of ten host universities in Indonesia for students who follow the ACICIS program. Unpar is highly in demand by students from the “kangaroo country” who wish to immerse themselves in the lives of people, especially in West Java. On the Parahyangan campus, ACICIS students can interact with other students through regular lectures, as well as gain basic knowledge about Indonesian and local culture typical of West Java.
Inviting students from abroad, such as Australia, certainly presents a challenge for the host universities. Therefore, ACICIS regularly conducts ACICIS Partner Universities Meeting . This year, it was Unpar’s turn to host the meeting which took place on Thursday and Friday, 3 to May 4, 2018. The series of events centered on the Operation Room of Unpar Rectorate filled by the sharing of experience and group discussions. The topics covered ranged from services for ACICIS students to preparing plans in the face of crises such as natural disasters.
Welcoming the presence of ACICIS partners at a dinner at Harris Hotel and Convention Bandung, Unpar Rector Mangadar Situmorang expressed his gratitude to ACICIS’s trust to select Unpar as the host for this meeting. Through the ACICIS program, he continued, Australian students studying at Unpar can gain new experiences. “Of course not only the learning process in the classroom, but especially when it comes to the introduction of culture and society,” he said. The Rector also appreciated the cooperation among universities that is expected to improve the quality of ACICIS programs in the future.
A Vessel for sharing experience
Participants from various universities responded positively to this meeting. Dr. Bernadine Ria Lestari as representative of Sanata Dharma University Language Institution (USD) Yogyakarta, for example, welcomed the results and the implementation of this activity. “We know exactly what they do, what we do, what we lack, what advantages they have,” he explained, so the quality of the program can be improved. The USD, which has joined the ACICIS consortium since the 1990s, is now one of Australia’s top university destinations looking to deepen its culture and knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia.
On the other hand, the Director of Udayana University’s Center for International Programs (CIP) of Bali, Ni Putu Sri Harta Mimba, was impressed with the meetings and discussions, especially in preparing for the ACICIS program. As a new partner in the ACICIS program, Udayana University’s team hopes to improve international networking, particularly with Australian universities. “This is a wonderful opportunity,” he said.
ACICIS Indonesia Resident Director Adrian Budiman explained that this routine activity is a forum to unite the perceptions of the member universities. In addition, the participants are looking for the best solution for the problems that occur in the implementation of ACICIS program. “We are studying with knowledge sharing from other universities so we know what proper handling is like.” Through the ACICIS Partner Meeting, it is expected that partner universities can improve the quality of the managed programs, attracting more Australian students who want to gain a learning experience in Indonesia.