Ross Taspell AIYEP 2006-2007

  • Lecturer in Asian Studies, author and academic, Australian National University

Experiencing village life for a month is both a highlight and a challenge.

I worked with the Lombok Post for a month, writing stories on local issues, sometimes with a local journalist, sometime alone. It was a great insight into how local journalism works which has helped my future career in researching the issue.

The broader AIYEP family has been central to my life since. My parents hosted an Indonesian the following year. He has visited them since, and they have visited him in Indonesia. Those of us AIYEP alumni in Canberra have regular dinners. In my job I have often traveled to different provinces in Indonesia and have regularly called upon AIYEP people to meet up and help me out. I have since stayed with my counterpart’s family in Ambon and seen his life there.

 The AIYEP program is the epitome of what the Australia-Indonesia relationship should look like: it is run equally by the Australian and Indonesian governments, partners and families, and fosters people-to-people links through youth development. Participants need to work together to find solutions to problems, and develop lifelong friends.