A blanket of hot and humid air welcomed six Melbourne Polytechnic students as they arrived in bustling Jakarta on a mobility study tour of Indonesia.
The students, studying accounting, business administration (education, legal), and international trade came on a mission to build cross-cultural understanding and a bridge for Indonesian students to study accounting in Melbourne.
It was a whirlwind 11 day tour taking the students and two teachers from Jakarta to Bandung, and Medan (with a couple of days respite in Seminyak, Bali tacked on the end). In each city the groups visited various LP3I polytechnic’s and spent their days getting to know local students and staff.
While the main purpose of the trip was to encourage more Indonesian students into accounting and business administration courses at Melbourne Polytechnic, according to teacher, Kiriaki Hamilton, one of the best moments was a 5-a-side futsal match, Australia vs Indonesia.
“The absolute highlight was the futsal match against an Indonesian team.”
She says everyone got pretty into it: “It was very ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi’ — all that stuff.”
“They did their full on national anthem, and so I was given the mic and started singing the Australian national anthem, until I realised I don’t know most of the words!”
For students on both sides, the game was crucial in building cross-cultural understanding, particularly as student, Zara and teacher, Tanya Harrowell took to the field.
“[The Indonesians] had never seen females play, so Tanya and Zara felt they wanted to play to show that females could also do these things.”
But, perhaps the richest experience for the 18-21 year old Australian students was the time spent with their homestay families.
“The younger students grew in Indonesia, they saw how some locals live, and it is a bit tough in some circumstances. I think it made them appreciate home a little bit more.”
“One girl even went to a wedding and they dressed her up in traditional clothing.”
As the Australian students visited the LP3I schools they shared stories about their life in Melbourne and time at Melbourne Polytechnic. They talked about culture, the polytechnic’s campuses and even about the convenience of the public transport system.
The teachers were also asked to speak about the various courses available to international students, but in particular a new pathway for Indonesian students to study in Australia:
“It's the first time we’ve been over to Indonesia, and it was partly to put forward this Certificate in Accounts,” says Kiriaki.
“It’s a pathway for Indonesian students if they want to study at Melbourne Polytechnic. The course teaches Australian tax law, MYOB and when they finish, they can enrol into a Bachelor of Accounts at Melbourne Polytechnic.”
The accounting course is offered at the LP3I polytechnic’s and opens the door for further study in Australia — Let the cross-cultural relationship bloom!
Some of the biggest problems Indonesia is facing at the moment are unemployment, poverty and social inequality. The LP3I schools are looking to address the balance and global partnerships, such as the one with Melbourne Polytechnic, are a way to help fix these issues.
If you’d like to find out more about studying business, accounting and finance at Melbourne Polytechnic, please get in touch or read more here.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.