Seeing the butterfly collection Photographer: Stan Florek

People often call me Yoza or Prima. Both my parents are educators – my father is the Commissioner of an elementary school and kindergarten, and mother is a teacher. I am studying English Education (major) at Padang State University, West Sumatera, Indonesia. This year, I am concentrating on my thesis, but the opportunity to participate in the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program 2017 in Australia was irresistible and it gave me a chance to practice my English abroad. One of my passions is debating, as it complements my preparation for work as a teacher. Debating helps me to develop confidence in public speaking and critical thinking. It also helps me to broaden my understanding of other subjects such as politics, religions and economics. I often read the nonfiction article from CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC and other platforms, expanding my knowledge – one article at a time. Most importantly, debating helps me to appreciate different perspectives on every issue, different values that people hold and ultimately consider and respect other opinions and beliefs. I am so glad to participate in the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program just before my graduation early next year. This is also totally challenging at every single step. I went through a very demanding selection process, including an administration test, pre-interview test, essay test, deep interview, physiology test, religion test, group discussion, presentation test, and the last interview with the Head of the Youth and Sport Institution of West Sumatera Province. I was luckily selected from a sizeable group of 238 applicants from my province. Our group of 18 people, from 18 provinces in Indonesia, underwent an intensive week-long pre-departure training in Jakarta, conducted by The Ministry of Youth and Sport, alumnae as well. In Australia, the program is under the authority of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), coordinated by the Australia-Indonesia Institute and operated by AFS Intercultural Program. This program aims at cross-cultural understanding and people-to-people contact.

Balinese paintings at the Australian Museum Photographer: Stan Florek

We arrived in Australia on Saturday 21 October. I am amazed by the scenery, environment, lifestyle, people and the workplace. I was placed on a three-week internship at  the Australian Museum. It is an awesome Museum; the most magnificent I have seen in my life. I got an opportunity to do research about Minangkabau, aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander, database of collection and writing article. All things are well organized and structured. How lucky I am to be an intern here. I have so much to observe, to learn and I hope to contribute a little.

Yoza & her supervisor. Photographer: Chris Reid