‘Midwifery in Bali’ Reflection

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I applied for this experience. Was I going to be delivering babies in rural areas with little resources? Was I going to spend the day with a Balinese midwife? Was I going to see and learn midwifery in a different culture that would change my approach in my practice? Well, this trip was certainly not what I expected however was filled with valuable and memorable moments and below are my thoughts and reflections.

Day one we arrived at Rumah Sehat Madani Clinic, a local birth centre in Denpasar. The midwives were warm and welcoming. We were given a presentation on the centre and some key aspects of midwifery including gentle birth. We then had a tour of the facilities there. I love that this clinic are practicing ‘grass roots’ midwifery and it reminded me of the power of birth and to have as little intervention as possible with women in labour. The facilities were basic, however, they had all the essential resources they needed and it had a very ‘home-like’ environment for women to birth in which I believe we need more of in Australia.

We continued on to visit Yayasan Rama Sesana, a not-for-profit reproductive health clinic based in the heart of the local markets in Denpasar, which has been operating for 11 years. When we arrived we had a presentation of the work that the clinic do and how they serve their local community. We then had a tour of the markets and saw their volunteers in action. I was so impressed by their work. They are educating women in their workplace to change health outcomes. It reminded me again of how important education is and how it empowers women and changes a community.

On day one we visited a private hospital, Kasih Ibu General Hospital and the next morning we saw a provincial public hospital, RSUP Sanglah Hospital. We were given presentations on their facilities and services as well as a tour. The standard of these hospitals was far greater than I had expected. They had all the resources that we have access to in Australian hospitals. We discussed midwifery care that was provided which was not dissimilar to the care we provide in Australian hospitals. They had a huge focus on breastfeeding however the mother did not always room in with her newborn. They had high rates of natural birth and low rates of caesarean and instrumental births. Sadly, they are striving to become ‘more like Australia’ however my fear is that perhaps this means higher intervention rates. They need to embrace the ‘natural birth’ culture that is present in Bali. I loved seeing the neonatal intensive care units in these hospitals. Again, I was impressed with the resources and level of care. It was evident that they deal with many different diseases and abnormalities than we would in Australia, mainly HIV/AIDS.

Day two we also visited the Midwifery Academy of Kartini Bali, the university where midwives are educated. This was a huge cultural experience. We walked into an ‘International Seminar’ with traditional Balinese music, dancing and dress. Here, the head of the university as well as the head of Midwifery in Bali spoke. Our own, Dr. Christine Catling was the guest speaker. Again, education is quite similar to Australia however you must be under the age of 25 to be eligible for the course.

My favourite place we visited was on day four where we went to the Bumi Sehat Foundation (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) in Ubud. Ms Robin Lim, a midwife and founder of the organization, is an amazing and inspiring woman. The clinic offers free medical services to the local community. This was probably the closest experience to ‘my expectations’ of the trip. It was raw, rural and down to earth midwifery in action. No glamour, just the bare essentials and a whole lot of love to offer these women. We sat with Robin for hours, hearing her stories and asking questions about the centre which has been operating for 20 years and relies on the generosity of many people around the world. It is a place where you can have a traditional Balinese birth with all its beliefs and rituals if you wish to do so. Bali is a very spiritual place and birth is seen as a very spiritual event. This place left an impression on my heart to use my skill for the greater good wherever I choose to practice. This place was one of empowerment and embrace.

Day five, we arrived at the YogaBarn Ubud. This was a great, fun experience to do as a group. We had a private yoga class, presentation about yoga during pregnancy and a tour of the facilities. This was interesting and got me thinking how I could include this in my practice and encourage movement during pregnancy. I often think about the alternative approaches that we can offer women who may not want conventional ideas.

Our last official engagement was on day nine at the Senang Hati Foundation, which assists people living with physical disabilities. In Bali, disabled people are seen as outcasts so this is a really important organization that provides an accepting environment where they can improve the quality of life for these people. We had a presentation, tour and got to talk with the residents. This was not related to midwifery but was still a good experience.

Overall, we had many engagements and cultural activities, which were thought provoking and eye opening. I really enjoyed getting to know the other students and sharing this experience with them. I had been to Bali before so the culture was not a shock for me however I was surprised by how similar midwifery in Bali is to Australia. As a result, this trip was not as challenging as I expected it to be and I feel I did not learn as much as I thought I would. It was truly a fantastic experience and I feel that it will make me a better midwife. I have a new appreciation for the resources and standard of care we do have in Australia and that we are leading by example on a global platform.

BMids in Bali

January 2015 saw a team of 26 from the University of Technology, Sydney, head over to Bali to develop their understanding of midwifery from an international perspective. We spent twelve days across a variety of locations including urban Denpasar, rural Ubud, and tourist centres such as Sanur and Kuta.

Over the twelve days we visited Kasih Ibu General Hospital (a private hospital), RSUP Sanglah hospital (a public hospital) and two birth centres – Rumah Sehat Madani and Bumi Sehat. This allowed us to consider the contrasts and inequalities that exist in the Balinese maternity care system – from the private hospital’s pride in their technical equipment, to the crowded postnatal ward at the public hospital, to the blow up paddle pool that substituted for a birth pool at a birth centre run by midwives.

Students were moved by the passion and commitment of midwives in the face of many challenges, and by the way they incorporated tradition and spirituality into birthing practices. They were affected by specific encounters such as that with a 4 month old orphaned baby still at the hospital whose mother died of an HIV related condition, and a mother caring for her premature baby using kangaroo care. Many found Robin Lim at Bumi Sehat inspirational in her holistic approach to birth and commitment to women and babies.

We visited an outstanding example of primary health care – a health clinic in the largest market in Denpasar called Yayasan Rama Sesana. This clinic provided onsite general and sexual health care and education to the women of the market, overcoming issues of accessibility and pressures of time and finances for women who work very long hours for minimal return. They trained peer educators to provide education within the market on general sexual and reproductive health. We saw this in action – and met the women in the market who did this work.

Perhaps the most beneficial visit was to Kartini Academy, a midwifery training school named after a Balinese woman who died unnecessarily from PPH. Unexpectedly, this was touted as an International seminar with talks from the president of the Balinese College of Midwives, a leading midwife from RSUP Sanglah Hospital, and Dr Christine Catling from UTS. The whole event was lavish, with music and dancing for entertainment, and food provided. This visit was so helpful because it gave us an insight as to how midwives are trained in Bali and allowed us to talk at length with Balinese student midwives. It built international relationships with many who will be involved in hosting the ICM conference which is to be in Bali in 2020. On behalf of Caroline Homer and the ACM, Christine was able to offer our support and help for this conference, which was gratefully accepted.

Other visits were made to less specifically midwifery related projects, such as schools and a disability support organization. Although these were not midwifery based, they were a helpful tool for understanding the cultural context in which the Bali maternity system operates. Other cultural events and visits including temples, traditional dances and music, cycling through villages and visiting significant landmarks also helped round out our cultural understanding. We attended a Yoga class and learned more about the benefits of antenatal yoga. This was so popular that many students returned for more classes while we stayed in that area.

As in any cross cultural experience, there were some challenges. Students found the poverty and lack of access to basic health care and education distressing at times. The pride in the medicialisation of childbirth and a set of stirrups standard on every bed was disappointing. The sad state of many of the street animals was upsetting to some. A number of the team faced a variety of minor health challenges, and those missing children starting school were particularly home sick. Many were embarrassed at the constant show of hospitality and gratitude in the form of food and gifts. Tiredness, busyness, the constant presence of other people and lack of privacy, the language barrier and the ongoing demand for cultural sensitivity were draining. The size of the group was challenging to accommodate at some visits. And of course the nagging question of what we do with what we have learned? Having seen the needs, is it enough just to go home and incorporate a few useful ideas into our own practice?

Aside from a developed understanding of international midwifery, the other big advantage of the trip was the experience of collegiality. The team consisted of a mix of 2014 1st, 2nd and 3rd year BMid students, supervised by lecturer Dr Christine Catling, with ages ranging from 18 to early 50s. This varied range of life and midwifery experience created a dynamic team that benefitted greatly from the mix of unbridled enthusiasm and the grounding voice of experience and wisdom. Students identified this as a highlight of the trip. There was a natural camaraderie built between a group of women who share similar passions, and it was wonderful to be able to “talk shop” without feeling that we were boring others in our lives with yet another birth related story! Within year groups students will now go back to study together with a new passion for midwifery and depth of relationship that the joint experience afforded. Across year groups, friendships were built that will support students through hospital placements over the next few years, and be rekindled at conferences and training days for years to come. We are indebted to Christine for her gracious leadership and guidance, and to UTS for envisioning and organising such an amazing experience for us. Most of all we are grateful to the beautiful midwives and mothers of Bali for their wisdom, and allowing us a small insight into their practice and experience of birth.

Nicola Morley
Student Midwife/Registered Midwife

‘Modern Medicine, Holistic Health Care’

Our recent trip to Bali as part of the Midwifery in Indonesia has left me reflecting on a concept suggested by Robin Lim of the Bumi Sehat Birthing Centre, that birth revolves around three aspects: spiritual, nature and science. And indeed the more that this concept is thought about the more it can be seen in everyday life of Bali and the Hindu culture, as well as our own.

The spiritual aspect of birth seems to revolve around the act and rituals involved in the process itself. For instance, at Bumi Sehat Birthing Centre, the idea of ‘Gentle Birth’ is practiced, respect is shown for the new individual and the change in roles of the soon to be mother by keeping interventions to a minimum, lights dimmed, and noises soft. When the newborn arrives, all those who witnessed the birth sing a spiritual or religious song from the culture that the newborn will be raised in, usually Hindu, Islam or Christianity.

This spiritual aspect seems to resonate highly with the work of midwives, even in Australia, as we act to provide the rituals, routines and practices that women associate with birth. In the broader Balinese society, spirituality plays a large part of everyday life, as almost all actions and objects have a sacred meaning and associated ritual, making life in general a spiritual journey. To reflect on my own practice in line with spirituality, I feel that more emphasis should be put on the woman’s wishes during labour and birth. As midwives, it is our opportunity to create the spiritual space and experience, which many women crave in this life event.

If the spiritual aspect of birth can be viewed as a midwife’s domain, than nature is most definitely that of the woman. This trip has taught me many things on what is often included in a birthing room, compared to the necessities in a birthing room. In comparison to many of the hospitals visited on this trip, the two birthing centres visited concentrated and respected the instincts of the mothers. Their practice seemed to revolve around allowing nature to take it’s course, and monitoring in order to provide interventions only when necessary. This was in stark contrast to both the public and private hospitals visited, whose focus involved care based on technology, distancing themselves from the idea of ‘normal birth’.

The final aspect of birth suggested in this model is science, a domain traditionally held by doctors, but with the rise in technology, has become more available to both midwives and women. This was particularly evident in the presentations by the hospitals visited in that questions were usually half answered by Obstetricians and other doctors, and then answered in full by midwives, often accompanied by evidence in the literature.

It became clear early on that women in Indonesia have numerous choices when it comes to birth, whether that is hospitals or birthing centres, similar to what is found in Australia. And likewise, women are often uninformed of the choices available in both countries. This educational experience has made me re-examine my views on hospital-care and come to the conclusion that as midwives, as long as we allow spirituality, nature and science to shine through in our practice, it does not matter what establishment we provide care in. Furthermore, experiencing many cultural activities as well as those related to midwifery has shown me that these three aspects can be related to everyday life beyond the world of maternity.

10 photos of the trip

afSexual health education in the market place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

adMidwife holding pot in which the placenta is placed before being buried under the family home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aeThird year midwifery students at Kartini School performing a dance based on the international understanding of midwifery, in traditional Balinese style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

azSymbol of Bumi Sehat Birthing Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

acRobin Lim discussing international midwifery issues with the group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

avSmall temple next to Tanah Lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

abTanah Lot temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

anPreschoolers associated with the Bali Children’s Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aySchool children associated with the Bali Children’s Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

auDrum circle with Senang Hati Foundation

 

 

 

Bali High Vlog

Firstly I’d like to congratulate and thank those responsible for organising the program for midwifery students in Bali! It was so well organised and provided such a comprehensive look at Public Health in Bali, and I learnt, not only about the amazing work being done in the various organisations to better the lives and health of the population, but also learnt so much about myself and the other students. It has refocused my drive to earn my degree and use it to exact change and growth.

I have simply put together a short film of images. Hope you enjoy!

Indonesia CommTECH 2015 – Oh The Fun

There’s no better bonding than that over a meal. On the first night we were taken to a welcome dinner where we were given a range of traditional Indonesian dishes to share amongst our table. These included oriental noodle dishes, seafood and rice. We were also provided with live entertainment in the form of a musical band and singer, which was made entirely of the volunteers who were to show us around for the next 10 days.

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We also had to present skits in groups we had made earlier in front of the entirety of the CommTECH participants and volunteers. This was an exciting and nervous occasion, where 15 minutes of preparation was all we were given before being shafted onto a stage and told to entertain the audience.

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My group decided to adopt my idea of playing ‘The Macarena’ (free styling of course) and pulling everyone up onto the dance floor. Coincidentally enough, we were the last group to present and, with some coaxing, everyone got up and I lead the audience in The Macarena. This was an amazing experience to ignite an entire room of people into the same dance with barely any organisation and was considered by all attending a huge success.

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Not much is more difficult than learning a language. I myself can speak a small amount of Arabic, my home language, aside from English, and find this difficult enough. As you can tell from our puzzled faces, learning Bahasa was not an easy task.

We were taught, and by ‘taught’ I mean repeated once or twice, the pronunciation of some greetings, numbers, colours and shapes. Some people picked it up faster than others, of course those from Malaysian and other students with Asian backgrounds found learning Bahasa much easier than the majority of the Anglo-Saxon and otherwise Western participants. I personally forgot how to say ‘thank you’, even after many repetitions. It was then that I decided to stick to English and simply nod or smile when greeted in Bahasa. I was however fond of repeating ‘Apa Kabar’ or ‘how are you’, as I enjoyed hearing the response ‘baik baik saja’ [phonetically pronounced: bike – bike –sa- ja] which I found hilarious.

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During one of our many days on the university campus, we were shown around the extensive farming facilities the university refers to as its ‘eco-farming’ initiatives. ITS makes the most of its open space by conducing ecologically sustainable farming and distributing the organic produce grown for sale to locals. This was an amazing experience to see the importance placed on the use of sustainable agriculture, even in the heart of the city, within the university itself.

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By far one of the most ‘traditional’ things we did on the trip was play the angklung. This is a historical Indonesian instrument made of hollow bamboo shafts which are shaken creating a musical key.

I’m by no means musically talented, but with very minimal practice (and very good conducting) we were able to orchestrate ourselves and form a band intended to perform in front of the mayor of Surabaya. This was an amazing experience as well as team building exercise as learning something new and intimidating with great success brought the group closer as a whole.

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We were invited to dinner at the Mayors Residence, where we were asked to dress in clothes traditional to our country – or formal, for those of us who didn’t want to wear boardies and singlets.

As there were participants from Nepal, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and China, this was an eye opening experience to witness firsthand the traditional dress of so many nationalities in one place.

Unfortunately due to her duties, the Mayor regrettably could not be present with us for the dinner, but we were able to perform the music we had learnt on the angklung before the vice-mayor and other university officials.

During the dinner we were once again presented with many types of traditional Indonesian food, including a type of noodle/meatball soup, which I assume is the national dish as I had eaten it served out of a cart on the streets just the day before, and it tasted exactly the same.

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Batik: a method (originally used in Java) of producing coloured designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed.

In Surabaya we got a chance to make our own batik, it was on a piece of cotton cloth approximately 30cm x 30cm. This was a great insight into their culture of arts and patience, as a full sized batik could take months to create.

However at a tourists market we found multiple batik-like patterned shirts (the difference is they were made with machines as opposed to hand made with wax and dye). We then decided it was a good idea to wear them around the streets at the same time and run around like hooligans taking selfies at random locations. This was great fun through, and simply walking the streets of Indonesia was so different to walking around in Australia. You could feel the different air around you and all the different sights and sounds and smells made you truly feel submerged in a different culture.

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During a cultural tour of the city we were taken on, we had the opportunity to explore a museum which portrayed Surabaya’s struggle for independence against Dutch, French and Belgian forces who tried to rule the city in recent centuries. This tour of the museum and city gave us great insight into the strong sense of patriotism held by its citizens – who were willing to sacrifice everything for their homes, culture and sense of nationalism.

The museum displayed artefacts such as weapons, documents and famous figures during their war for independence.

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The last weekend of the trip we had the pleasure of taking a bus-ride approximately 4 hours to a campsite, where we had a campfire, fireworks and midnight shenanigans walking through the woods. We woke up early the next morning to file into our predetermined 4-wheel-drives to take us to the plains surrounding Mount Bromo, a famous active volcano in East Java explored by tourists all year round. This was all a surreal experience as the adrenalin and fear of the night time activities had not shaken off by 3am when we were taken on a rollercoaster ride around steep slopes to the base of the volcano.

From here we were all mounted on horseback and proceeded up the mountain track, guided casually by the horses’ owner. Despite its small appearance in the above photo, Milo, my horse, can only be described as a glorious beast, as it hauled me up the mountainside with all due caution and excitement.

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This photo depicts the breathtaking view at the lip of the volcano of Mt. Bromo.

There are few experiences that compare with riding a horse up a volcano. The view was amazing, the cool air was brisk and the sensation of having reached the top was dizzying. This moment was by far the highlight of the trip for me, and although the sense of vertigo I felt looking into the volcano itself stopped me from walking as far around as some other participants, I was equally awe-inspired.

There was an amazing sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountain, possibly due to the many sleep deprived days and night full of activities, all in anticipation for this moment. This was a point in the trip where many of us were exhausted (not just a little from the shenanigans in the woods the night before) and reaching the top of the stairs only to feel on top of the world brought about a sense of rejuvenation that is difficult to describe.

I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read my reflection on the CommTECH journey, with the above photos, experiences and memories that they’ve left me with.

I’d also like to thank very much the entire UTS BUILD team who provided us the means to enter this amazing program, as well as nonstop assistance leading up until out departure.

ITS University Summer Program Reflection

Before I start my reflection on the BUiLD summer program that I participated in at Indonesia, I would like to thank UTS for providing me this opportunity and allowing me to be part of the BUiLD program.

It is extremely hard to describe the wonderful time that I had during this program. Attending this program was like a life changing experience as it was my first time to visit Indonesia so every day during this program was a new experience for me. I went to Indonesia two days before the program started. Mr Wahyu who is the supervisor of the Commtech program, was with us throughout this program. He organised two people to take us from the airport to the hotel. Mr Wahyu was at the hotel waiting for us where he allocated the room already. He then invited us for dinner, despite it was a bit late the city was so crowded. It was a good opportunity to see what Surabaya is like and I had a great time as well, as I started to know the surrounding places around our hotel. After dinner I went straight back to the hotel because I was so tired.

Next day, I was introduced to new volunteers that will be with us throughout this program, and I was informed that there will be approximately 40 students in this program coming from 15 different countries. For me, this was absolutely a great opportunity to meet new people and learn about their culture, education and lifestyle.

The next day at around 8:30am we went to ITS. There was a welcoming ceremony and we were introduced to the course that we will undertake during this program. My course preference that I chose was Sustainable development in developing countries, therefore attending this course in Indonesia who is a developing country is an advantage its self because I will not only be able to study sustainability about developing countries but I will also have the opportunity to experience the process of sustainability in a developing country physically.

Throughout the week, we attended the classes for sustainable development which was extremely beneficial as we had one of the classes at the city council which was very interesting as they explained to us the new transport system that the government will start it in Surabaya.

During this program we had to read some articles, answer questions, perform a number of presentations and a number of other tasks that we had to do. We did a number of activities throughout this program which I certainly had a good time that I will always remember.

1This is a photo that I took before the session starts at the City Council

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This image shows the water recycling system that one of the villages uses to filter the water. The blue area is where the filtering process occur

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This flower is made out of plastic bottles

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These images shows the system that they use to recycle the waste and generate gas

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This photo was taken during one of the classes

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Mount Bromo

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I also had the opportunity to go rafting, this particular activity was very special for me as this was my first time, it was a really good experience and we had so much fun

The topics that I studied during this program and the knowledge that I gained, will definitely help me in the future. This program allowed me to improve my communication skills because I met so many people and we still communicate until now via Facebook. My knowledge towards sustainable development has significantly increased; I have a deeper understanding about the environmental aspects in developing countries. I had a wonderful time, the Indonesian people were very nice and for me it’s a journey that I will always remember.

I represented UTS in a very well manner, where I ensured that all my actions were appropriate and I followed all the rules and the instructions that were given to us. I also told the people that I met how beautiful UTS is, where I talked about all the great facilities and the opportunities that UTS provide to students. Lastly, I would like to thank UTS for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to represent them overseas.

My Indonesia experience – Shankar Prasad Aryal

I attended community based sanitation in urban areas in Indonesia from 2nd of February to 10th of February 2015. I really enjoyed my time there and learned so many things from that experience. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.

While I was in there I was not only involved in learning community sanitation but I was involved in learning Indonesian culture, Indonesian food and Indonesian food as well.

I communicated with locals and students of ITS about the problems they are facing and found out the negative impacts of poor sanitation in their daily life. Also, we were invited by the Surabaya City mayor for dinner and I found out how government is helping to improve the sanitation facilities and how local leaders are involved to improve the life of Indonesian People. On our site visits, we went to different communities and found their lifestyles as well. Also, we learned to make Tempe which is traditional Indonesian food. We learned bhasa Indonesia as well. Now I can understand simple words. Moreover, we went to different schools and learned to play traditional Indonesia music and songs. I made so many amazing friends from Indonesia and around the world. We also got opportunities to explore the natural beauties of Indonesia for example Bromo Mountain and many rivers.

I gave my presentation about sanitation condition of Nepal as compared to Indonesia and analysed the similar problems these countries are facing in terms of sanitation behavior. Also I talked about University of Technology and the services and the facilities offered by UTS. So, most of the students were really interested to study in UTS as well.

I told them about my wonderful experience in UTS and I recommended UTS for them if they wish to come here in Australia for study. Also I am working as UPASS leader in UTS and I explained them about this wonderful program which helps students to interact socially and form friendships with other students in an informal, collaborative environment.

The biggest challenge for me was to interact freely and effectively with other people. I actively involved myself in as many group activities as possible without any hesitation. The scheduled group discussion sessions were a platform for me to communicate to other students.

This program will be very beneficial for my future career. This gave me opportunity to immerse myself in another language and developed my skills in a foreign study environment. It gave me experience what it is like to live and learn in another country. I have huge interest in studying water behavior, sanitation and our environment. This gave me more confidence in studying these areas because I was directly involved with these communities in urban areas. In addition to this, I learned we can improve people’s lives if we have good team and determination even we have limited resources.Apart from that I have developed my communication skills and leadership skills which will be very useful for Civil engineers. Moreover, it has given me the ability to view the world, and its issues, from several perspectives.

Shankar Prasad Aryal – 11436286

Sustainable development in developing countries – Indonesia

Exchange program Reflection by Fadi Faraj

I applied to this program and I was not sure if I will attend or not, because I was doing my internship last semester and my workplace asked me to stay for the summer break. This program was in the city of Surabaya, organised by ITS University.

This exchange program was one of the best experiences in my life. I made new friends from many countries and learned more about my degree. My major is Civil and Environmental Engineering.
After undertaking this program, I became more motivated about my course. I learned so much about the sustainable development in Indonesia. I went to Malaysia in 2014 in another BUiLD exchange program and learned about managing water in tropical countries. I would like to thank BUiLD for giving me this great opportunity for the second time and having the faith in me as a representative
of UTS and Australia. I really appreciate it.

I arrived two days early in Surabaya to have some relaxing time and do some shopping. I did not find it difficult at all to find the ITS volunteers at the airport who drove us to the hotel and invited us for dinner with Mr. Wahyu (program coordinator). I felt welcomed and people were very friendly with me.

Figure 1 Arriving in Surabaya1

In the opening ceremony, volunteers performed the Saman dance, a traditional Indonesian dance that participants of my sub-course had to perform at the end of the program. I found it really fun and enjoyable to watch and perform.

Figure 2 Saman dance in the opening ceremony
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After that, participants and volunteers were grouped in small groups and as an ice breaking activity, we were asked to find something in common between all the members of the group. My group found that everyone was wearing a watch. I had so much fun during these activities as well as the performance that we did during the welcoming dinner. We danced, laughed, had a memorable night and found out more about each other. I felt privileged when I was asked to represent Australia for the newspaper photo session.

Figure 3 Representing Australia for newspaper photo session
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Figure 4 Welcoming Dinner
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Figure 5 my group’s performance
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The traditional games were great. I like how everyone took the games in a serious manner and tried their best to make their team win. I started my team’s first game and won the ‘jumping in a bag’ activity. I was so happy and my team was proud of me. At the end of the day, everyone was happy and we took plenty of pictures as usual and went back to the hotel for dinner.

Figure 6 traditional games and activities
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The city tour was amazing and I found out more about Surabaya. I learned how heroic this city is and how its people freed their city from the Japanese. I also learned that Surabaya means the shark and the crocodile, representing the typical fights between the two animals in the waterways around the city. I enjoyed my time in the museum and took many pictures.

The program was very well organised. The classes were not long and I found the content interesting to learn. The teachers used videos, fun activities and group discussions and presentations to make the sessions more entertaining and beneficial.

I learned some Indonesian words, which were similar to Malaysian. I also learned a traditional song and dance of Surabaya. Participants were given the chance to make their own tempe (a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans). I found it delicious and needs creativity to make as people can add the ingredients they want to make it.

Figure 7 Making Tempe
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Figure 8 City Tour (Museum)
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Figure 9 City Tour (Museum)
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Figure 10 3D image trick at the museum
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Figure 11 Farm visit
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One of the most memorable days of the program was the Mount Bromo visit and water rafting. We had to wake up at 3am, get into jeeps and arrive at a hilly area to watch the sunrise while looking at Mount Bromo from a distance. I forgot how sleepy and tired I was as soon as I saw the spectacular view. The smoke produced by the volcanic actions was visible. I have never been that close from an active volcanic mountain.

Figure 12 Watching the sunrise – Mount Bromo
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Figure 13 Catching the sunrise – Mount Bromo
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After that, we had breakfast and went to the bottom of Mount Bromo where there were many horses to hire souvenirs sellers. My first experience of horseback riding was an unforgettable one. I enjoyed every second of being on top of the horse. The view from the top of Mount Bromo was breath taking.

Figure 14 Horseback riding to Mount Bromo
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Figure 15 View from the top of Mount Bromo
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Figure 16 Trip to Mount Bromo
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Right after that, we went back to the bus and slept for 3 hours before we arrived at the water-rafting place. Again, as a first time experience, I had a great time in the waves of the river.

Figure 17 Water Rafting
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The visit to the city mayor’s house was unforgettable. Even though the mayor was busy at that night and could not attend, the service and welcoming of the coordinators and the people from the government reflect their generosity and values.

Figure 18 Dinner in Surabaya city mayor’s house
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Figure 19 UTS participants and representative (Joanne Taylor)
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Towards the final days of the program, participants had to prepare a presentation highlighting the sustainable aspects of their universities and countries. Every student was allocated in a different
faculty. I was allocated in the business management faculty and the students of the class were very well behaved, good listeners and showed interest about UTS and Australia.

The closing ceremony followed with some good food, speeches and videos about our journey that had ended. I liked the idea that every participant received a CD with all the pictures taken throughout the program. We also received appreciation certificates.

Right after the closing ceremony, I went shopping with some friends for the last time and took many photos. At night, all participants and volunteers went to a karaoke place and made the last night of the program a very entertaining and memorable one.

Figure 20 Fun photo-shoot session after the closing ceremony
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I always felt a sense of belonging being in this program. People called me brother and I really felt that I have formed a second family in Indonesia. Staff and volunteers always made sure that participants are fine and making the most out of the program. I will never forget how friendly, simple and welcoming Indonesians are. I will never forget Surabaya, its history and great people. It is not a tourism city like Bali or Jakarta, so people used to stare at me all the time because they are not used to seeing foreigners. Some people even asked to take pictures with me, which made me feel like a celebrity.

Thank you Indonesia & ITS for having me. Thank you BUiLD for this great experience.

I am glad I took this opportunity.

Fadi Faraj – 11380817

BUiLD Trip To India

My first time in India was an experience I will most likely never forget. The places I saw, the travel I did every day and the people I met while over there made my experience in India as part of the BUILD program a better one. I got to see some very interesting and beautiful places during the program and experienced things I have never done before.

Initially, on the first day, I saw some similarities between China and India which I didn’t think would be so similar. The way people drove, the roads, the intersections all made me think back to the cities in China and how chaotic it can get. As the program progressed, I could see some differences between the two countries which I wouldn’t have known without experiencing it first-hand.

Our guest houses were located in an area a few hours out from Mumbai, in the countryside, which was nice since there was little traffic noise and a great place to relax after the long days that were rescheduled on the itinerary. It was also a decent location in regards to public transport with the train station being only a 10-15 minute walk. The staffs that were in charge of the group and making sure that everything was alright were brilliant. I could say the same about the food since everyone was catered for and those with dietary needs were never left out. The food was so nice and delicious that we even got a chance to make our last dinner before we left to come home.

Traveling by public transport in India can be a nightmare, especially during peak hours. The trains were packed and the way people got on and off the trains is an experience that you can really only get to experience in India, getting off the train as it comes into the station and getting on as it is leaving, while the train is still moving. Sometimes it was difficult getting on and off the train since the train would be packed and people are trying to get on and off the train, especially since the train only stops for a few seconds.

Overall, the experience was a fun one, especially with the group of friends that went as well. Some we didn’t know until the trip and are now friends that share the experience I felt while on this program in India. I learnt many things and saw and experienced things for the first time. I do wish that the program was a bit longer since there are still things I would like to see and do as well as learn over in India. If all international programs run by BUILD allow us this much exposure to the cultures of the different countries, I would love to go on more to learn and experience more. Besides the itinerary being a little packed and tiring sometimes, the exposure that was given to us in regards to Indian Traditional Medicine was brilliant and I do hope it gets better and better.