Ag students urged to take advantage of Indonesia funding boost

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Sugarcane cultivation in Glanmore, Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia Sugarcane cultivation in Glanmore, Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia Sugarcane cultivation in Glanmore, Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia

Australian agriculture students are being encouraged to spend a semester of their undergraduate studies in Indonesia, helped by funding from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan – a Commonwealth initiative which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific among Australian undergraduates.

"There has never been better time – from the perspective of the financial assistance available – for Australian agriculture students to head up to Indonesia for a semester," Australian Consortium for InCountry Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) director Professor David Hill says.

"The New Colombo Plan provides students with up to $7000 to subsidise a student’s program expenses."

ACICIS has secured over $400,000 in New Colombo Plan funding to support 68 science and agriculture students from across the consortium’s 24 Australian member universities to study in agriculture in Bogor, West Java, between 2016 and 2019.

This year undergraduates from the University of Western Australia, La Trobe University and Western Sydney University have enrolled alongside their Indonesian peers at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

The ACICIS Agriculture Semester Program (ASP) allows students to take subjects – taught in English – alongside Indonesian students in areas of agribusiness, food technology, plant protection, conservation, forestry and environmental science for academic credit towards an Australian undergraduate degree.

The not-for-profit consortium says that, with Australian agricultural exports to Indonesia totalling nearly $2 billion in 2015, an expanding Indonesian consumer-class increasingly hungry for Australian agricultural products, and collaborative research between the two countries on the rise, agriculture is set to remain a key component of the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship.

"As near neighbours and the two largest regional economies, Australia and Indonesia each stand to play a vital role in ensuring food security and environmental conservation in the Indo-Pacific in the 21st century," it adds.

Besides their formal university studies in Indonesia, students also have the opportunity to intern at a variety of Indonesian and international agribusiness and food technology companies, government agencies, and non-government research institutes.

Student applications for the second semester of 2017 are now open and close 15 April.


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