Previous participants of the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program
See what some of our AIYEP 2011/12 participants say about the program
Philip De Zylva (Group co-leader and cultural performance coordinator)
Taking part in AIYEP 2011-2012 has been a positive life changing experience. I have developed a greater understanding and appreciation of Indonesian people and their culture. Living with my host family in Muara Nikum, Rokan Hulu, Riau, was an amazing experience of love, nurture and understanding. We built relationships I feel will never be broken. I now consider them my family and look forward to keeping in touch and visiting them in the future. The community development in our villages across Rokan Hulu was also a highlight. As a member of the sport group I took great enjoyment in working with the locals in achieving common goals. Spending time with children through sport and games was also a highlight. Aside from developing strong relationships with Indonesians and Australians from all over their countries and therefore granting a lifetime of travel, I found that growing a cultural understanding of both countries was a significant aspect. Finally, this exchange has taught me a lot about myself. I have learnt of new passions, strengths and weaknesses. I have learnt how to better my group skills, communication and understanding of others. I look forward to becoming ALUMNI, meeting next year’s intake and spending a lot more time in Indonesia in the future.
AIYEP 2011/12 was an unforgettable experience. Living with Indonesian families gave me access to see and participate in Indonesian life which would have been impossible to replicate otherwise. During the rural phase I was particularly lucky because I lived in a small dusun called Aur Betung with 8 other participants. All our houses were within walking distance, all the families knew each other and all the kids played with one another. I got on well with all the locals in the village and was particularly close to a warung owner called Mass Teguh, and his three kids. I spent many hours at the end of the day ‘nonkronging’ in front of his warung. We drank coffee, played cards and talked about everything from the Spanish soccer league to local politics. Although the rural stay was memorable, meeting and spending 2 months with 17 other Australians and 18 Indonesians was the true highlight of the program. I feel I have made lifelong friends from both groups and also, and perhaps more importantly, I now have the offer of free accommodation around both Indonesia and Australia! I definitely recommend AIYEP to any young person looking to broaden their mind.
Alison Youssef (Community development coordinator)
The Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program has for me proven to provide far more than what's included in the program's synopsis on the AII website. Whether it be sharing wonderful experiences with an Indonesian counterpart or learning to adapt to a completely different environment, AIYEP pushes participants beyond their comfort zone. You become so much more aware and confident of your personal capabilities, while at the same time feel supported by the ‘AIYEP family'. AIYEP also has enabled me to see a side of Indonesia which is impossible to gain from a holiday or even study. The program allows you to see a completely different side to the country – beyond any generalisations that international media have constructed. After only a short time in the country, you begin to see its challenges as complex and real, and it's achievements as vast and great. Most importantly, AIYEP taught me that understanding Indonesian culture and history is paramount if we are to strengthen our relationship with them, and that gaining this insight merely requires an open mind and respect. I recommend AIYEP to anyone interested in gaining insight into the Indonesian way of life. Completing the program will leave you with some lifelong friends, vast networking opportunities and, most importantly, a feeling of wanting more!