Swinburne University of Technology recently hosted nine Indonesian students as part of the prestigious Indonesian International Student Mobility Awards Vocational Edition (IISMAVO) scholarship program.
As part of this program, undergraduate students from higher education institutions across Indonesia are given the opportunity to study overseas for a semester.
Learning that extends beyond the classroom
IISMAVO scholar, Muammar Alfien Zaidan said that his Swinburne experience was more than learning in the classroom, it was also about growing as a person.
“I love the abundance of study spaces at Swinburne, it feels like I can study in almost every single corner of the campus and the courses are super interesting as well. Being a study abroad student gave me a whole new perspective on life, and Melbourne's vibe is just something else, the mix of cultures, the stunning scenery—it's a one-of-a-kind experience. My time at Swinburne, and the memories and friendships I made here will stay with me forever,” he says.
Fellow scholar, Shyaren Yohana shares Muammar’s views.
“My classes have been enjoyable and the tutors are very informative and engaging. My Business and Entrepreneurship course gave me an in-depth understanding of Entrepreneurship because it was really structured and covered all the necessary materials. I gained a lot of new skills that would support me as an entrepreneur such as creative thinking, taking risks and finding opportunities in the entrepreneurial world,” she says.
Making lifelong friends
During their five months at Swinburne, these students participated in various activities, including a trip to Mount Buller and industry visits to Melbourne-based digital marketing agency, Verve Innovation, as well as Melbourne Fashion Week.
To enhance their cross-cultural understanding and help them assimilate to a new country, a buddy program was set up, where local Swinburne students volunteered to show the IISMAVO scholars around Melbourne. The Swinburne Abroad team also organised social networking events to give students opportunities to meet other students.
IISMAVO scholar, Terry Surya said that while he initially found the study abroad experience daunting, the program of activities and the hospitality helped him feel more at home.
“At the social mixer, we were assigned random tables, which allowed us to socialise and meet new friends. I would not have been able to meet the amazing people I get to call best friends now if it wasn’t for this - it was truly a night to remember,” he says.
For some of the IISMAVO scholars, their trip to Mount Buller was their first experience with snow.
“The Mount Buller trip gave me a once-in-a-lifetime experience! That first experience of seeing and touching snow will always be a joyous moment to remember. The thrill of going down a mountain on a snowboard, nothing has given me more adrenaline than that,” he adds.
Swinburne student, James Pappalardo who volunteered for the buddy program, believes that building relationships between Swinburne students and IISMAVO scholars will continue to deepen the connection between Australia and Indonesia.
The buddy program helped the IISMAVO scholars assimilate to a new city and has created lifelong friendships.
“Being a part of the IISMAVO buddy program was an amazing experience. Throughout the program, we took the opportunity to take the students to places they had not previously seen before, including Philip Island and Queen Victoria Market.”
“I was really fortunate to have met a large group of engaged students, who have taught me so much about Indonesian culture through our time together. I hope all the IISMAVO students have the opportunity return to Swinburne and Melbourne soon, as they have barely scratched the surface of what we have to offer here,” he says.
About the IISMAVO program
The IISMAVO scholarship is a new program designed to prepare students for their future careers by providing them the opportunity to deepen multi-disciplinary understanding by gaining knowledge and skills from world renowned universities.
The program also seeks to increase cross-cultural understanding by studying alongside local students at the host university and developing international networks through university environment and industry visits.