A sense of home for Indonesian students
As neighbours in the south Pacific, Indonesia and Australia share a close relationship and cultural heritage. This relationship includes education, with Australian universities being a destination of choice for post-secondary students from Indonesia. Deakin University is one of the institutions that welcomes students from Indonesia on a regular basis.
‘It isn’t just the diversity. It is the respect for that diversity. It’s been very welcoming.’
One of the things that makes Deakin popular is the location. Deakin’s largest campus is located in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood, where students from around the world come to study in a multicultural environment. One of these students is Adzra, who came to Deakin from Jakarta. ‘What I like most about Melbourne is the people and the diversity,’ she says. ‘I’ve made friends from Australia, from India, from Colombia, from all over!’
‘But,’ Adzra continues, ‘it isn’t just the diversity – you can get that anywhere. It is the respect for that diversity. It’s been very welcoming.’
With residents from approximately 200 nationalities speaking more than 230 languages, Melbourne is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. This diversity makes it easy for students like Adzra to keep a bit of the familiarity of home in their Australian experience. ‘There are so many Asian markets with authentic products. I still drink my favorite brand of coffee, and I just found my favorite massage oil that I always used at home.’ And then she laughs: ‘It’s a lot more expensive here but I can still get it’.
Adzra started her university studies at Universitas Indonesia pursuing a Bachelor of Social Studies and transferred to Deakin to complete her Bachelor of Arts in public relations. COVID-19 restrictions meant she started studying at Deakin online. She finally got to come to Australia in early 2022.
‘I got here in January and I was nervous about the idea of living alone. However, Deakin has many informal platforms to make friends. My first encounter was with a masters student from Pakistan who has been living here for years and he was kind enough to help me settle down.’ After the first month of living off campus, Adzra moved into student accommodation on the Burwood Campus. ‘This has been a great experience. The people. The social events. I’d recommend it to everyone because I was able to expand my network.’
'This has been a great experience. I’d recommend it to everyone.'
Melbourne is a multicultural city that welcomes people from all over the world.
Adzra also stays well connected with family and friends in Indonesia thanks to technology. She talks to her parents every couple of days and keeps friends back home amused with ‘fun Instagram posts about things in Australia.’
Another important part of Adzra’s Deakin experience has been her involvement with the Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia Australia (PPIA), the Indonesian Students’ Association of Australia. ‘I started studying online in Indonesia and joined the PPIA to connect and try to have an Australian experience,’ she says.
Adzra started out doing public relations for central PPIA and she is now the president to the 140-member Deakin chapter of PPIA. ‘It provides a sense of home for Indonesian students’, she explains of the PPIA’s mandate, ‘It helps us feel connected.’ At a local and national level, ‘The PPIA is also a platform for non-Indonesian students to learn more about Indonesia and help connect better with and understand Indonesia.’
PPIA also has a good relationship with the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia for Melbourne. ‘They are very welcoming to students and invite us to come sometimes,’ Adzra says. ‘I’ve been there for events such as prayers during Eid and other PPIA initiatives.’
If you are interested in studying in this welcoming environment, contact Deakin’s Indonesia Office for more information.