New Colombo Plan opens eyes to Indonesia’s potential

13 April 2017

New Colombo Plan mobility student Bethany Woodstock travelled to Indonesia to experience the reality of international business and trade, not just the theory.

The commerce graduate, who took part in the inaugural year of the mobility program, wanted to learn about another culture “from the inside out” and headed to Indonesia with 13 of her fellow University of Adelaide students to do just that.

“I learnt so much about Indonesia, its people and its culture, and had a wonderful time getting to know the other students and the university staff and academics accompanying us,” Bethany said.

She found the program provided first-hand insights into what an emerging economy looked and felt like, about its different phases of growth; the way the economy operated and which industries were underpinning its development.

Despite the disparity in wealth – shopping malls selling designer goods alongside slum communities – Bethany noticed the entrepreneurial nature of Indonesians regardless of how much money they had.

“Indonesia is often overlooked on a global scale but there is so much going on and so much growth,” she said.

“Everyone has inventive ways to make money. Many people own their own business, even if it is just a backpack full of food and newspapers, which they sell to people stuck in the enormous Jakarta traffic jams.

“It seemed to be me nearly everyone was working hard and wanting to do their family proud.”

The cultural differences also opened her eyes, such as the widespread religious observance in daily life.

The scholarship proved to be life changing and was instrumental in Bethany’s decision to pursue a Masters in International Business and undertake further volunteer and internship work.

“It made such a difference to my understanding of the world,” she said. “I would highly recommend it to other people as it adds so much to your degree and your overall understanding of the world.”

Four people smiling with the temple behind them
Adelaide University students (L-R) Adam Mezhvinsky, Michael Haddad, Bethany Woodstock and Kate Richards wearing traditional hats at the Borobudur Temple. CREDIT: Bethany Woodstock

Last Updated: 13 April 2017