Geelong welcomes return of Indonesian students

March 21, 2023 BY

Christian College Geelong students bid farewell to their Indonesian peers this week after a ten day international exchange. Photos: TIM LAMACRAFT

A GROUP of 15 secondary students from Indonesia have been farewelled by their Christian College Geelong (CCG) hosts who have spent ten days introducing them to the country, region and their homes.

Aside from interruptions due to the pandemic, it is the 28th year of CCG’s exchange program with Indonesian students, and for the latest cohort from Lombok it was their first on land experience of Australia’s shores and education system.

Overseeing the program is the schools head of Indonesian exchange Jessica Bijaksono, who learnt the language from her mother and is now following in her footsteps and carrying on the schools intercultural legacy.

A friendly Indonesia vs Australia basketball game was held at the CCG’s Waurn Ponds campus on Tuesday.


“It was something I got to experience when I was a student at Christian College, I hosted a student from Lombok, and now it’s pretty exciting to be the one that’s coordinating and organising the groups trips in and out of Indonesia,” she said.

“There’s so many things our students get out of it besides the obvious like cultural awareness, experiencing another lifestyle, our students get to put their Indonesian language skills to practical use rather than just academic use as a VCE subject, which I think they get the most enjoyment out of.”

A group of 15 secondary students from Indonesia were farewelled by their Christian College Geelong (CCG) hosts.


The exchange students are billeted with families of the schools students like Poppy Smith, who missed out on travelling to Lombok herself due to the pandemic but was pleased she was able to act as host to Ian.

“We’ve been showing her the beach and Torquay, we’ve been down to Lorne and she’s very excited to learn about Australia, she really wants to be part of the culture,” she said.

Having made the connection with Ian and brushing up on her own Indonesian language skills, Ms Smith said she would “love to go over” and repay the visit.

“It’s been great,” student Dhillo Azzam said of his time in Australia.

“It’s a lot cleaner, there’s a lot more discipline on the road, and yeah overall it’s just been different, the temperature has been colder.”

Mr Azzam said he hoped to be able to host students from Christian College Geelong at his home in Lombok one day, where he would show off his own favourite local sites including waterfalls and beaches.

Asked who he thought had the better beaches after his time exploring greater Geelong, Mr Azzam was quick to say “Lombok”.