Students from partner universities of the Australia-Indonesia Centre recently gathered in Bogor, Indonesia for The Future Researchers of Indonesia Program (FRIP).
The five-day intensive program funded by the Australia-Indonesia Centre aims to enhance the research skills of undergraduate students and encourages discussion, collaboration and problem solving around the future challenges facing Indonesia.
Bringing together forty Indonesian students, ten Australian students and leading experts from multi-disciplinary backgrounds, the conference represented a wide range of faculties, not just the social sciences.
Sophie Hewitt, ANU Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Asia Pacific Studies student said the multi-disciplinary approach gave her a new perspective on challenges facing the archipelago.
“I worked closely with an agriculture student from Indonesia and we discussed the technical aspects of Palm Oil. I’d always looked at Palm Oil from an environmental policy lens but it was interesting to learn about the scientific implications,” says Sophie.
Getting out of the classroom and chatting to leading Indonesia experts over lunch or a cup of coffee was also a welcome experience.
“Particularly as an ANU student who has read the publications of and attended lectures by many of these academics, it was a wonderful experience to be able to talk candidly about their research journeys, and why they’re interested in Indonesia in the first place,” says Sophie.
Sophie, also President of the ACT Australia Indonesia Youth Association, said she was delighted to see lasting cross-cultural friendships form over the week.
“I met a fellow student at the conference and later that week I travelled to Padang in West Sumatera and met her family and she took me sightseeing,” says Sophie.
“Ultimately, the most exciting thing to see was a bunch of Indonesian and Australian youth passionate, challenged and motivated about Indonesia’s future. While we could all admit that Indonesia faces challenges, there was an overarching theme of positivity about overcoming these challenges, and the work which is required to do that. By combining this group of Indonesian and Australian students with the best researchers of Indonesia in the world, the conference created an excited and long-term thinking attitude amongst the participants, and encouraged us to influence change through research.”
Inspired by Sophie’s story? ANU College of Asia & the Pacific offers a huge variety of study opportunities and extra-curricular activities. See for yourself at ANU Open Day.
Image: Students at the The Future Researchers of Indonesia Program, Bogor Indonesia (Sophie Hewitt featured on the right).