Geography Immersion Program in Indonesia

The School of Geosciences, in partnership with the Department of Indonesian Studies and the University of Indonesia, has developed a geography immersion program for undergraduate students intending to major in geography. The program involves a semester-long immersion at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, with credit towards degrees at Sydney.

Why study geography in Indonesia?

Geography is a predominantly field-based discipline, and the University of Sydney has a long tradition of facilitating in-country student experiences and research opportunities in Southeast Asia for geography students. Many professional geographers develop language skills and expertise about particular world regions, and students in this program will develop a sophisticated level of Indonesian cultural and geographic literacy that will significantly enhance their long-term career prospects in the Asian century.

The University of Indonesia, located within a leafy campus on the outskirts of Jakarta, is Indonesia’s leading university and hosts the immersion program. The University of Sydney has collaborated with the Geography Department at the University of Indonesia since 2011 to offer student experiences for undergraduates from Sydney, and the immersion program has been offered since 2015.

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2015 Geography Immersion students

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Field School students work with counterparts at the Department of Geography, University of Indonesia

Academic Credit

Under the program, students will be eligible for up to 42 units of academic credit at the University of Sydney spread across the July intensive, Semester 2 and Summer Semesters. This is an integrated program of four complementary, yet discrete, credit-bearing activities:


  1. Enrolment and participation in the GEOS3053 Southeast Asia Field School (July 2018) directly coordinated by University of Sydney academic staff, 6 cps towards Geography or Asian Studies major, or as a senior elective.
  2. Enrolment in the highly-regarded BIPA program of Indonesian language at the University of Indonesia (August-December 2018), 24 cps towards Indonesian Language study (INMS2650, INMS2651, INMS2652, INMS2653).
  3. Participation in a unit of study jointly delivered with the University of Indonesia suring September through to December 2018, 6 cps of study in geography (GEOS3055).
  4. An internship at an Indonesian-based company, NGO, international development agency or research organisation (December 2018-Feburay 2019), 6 cps of Asian Studies (INMS2654).

Indonesian Language Learning

The study of Indonesian language opens up a world of professional and career possibilities. Students can either take the Indonesian language units as part of their current degree or enrol in the Diploma of Language Studies (http://sydney.edu.au/courses/Diploma-of-Language-Studies), which provides an excellent opportunity for students to obtain an additional qualification to their current degree through concurrent enrolment. Students are expected to enrol in INMS1101 (Indonesian 1A) in Semester 1 2018.

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Immersion students are well-placed to undertake an Indonesia-based Honours project

Costs and Scholarships

Tuition costs for the program will be covered through your enrolment in the relevant units of study at the University of Sydney. A rough estimate of additional costs for the program is: i) return airfares between Sydney and Jakarta ($1000); ii) visa costs ($400); iii) logistical costs of participating in the two in-country field schools ($1500); iv) accommodation ($250/month); v) living costs / food ($300/month); and vi) short UI-Creates courses ($300).

For 2016-2018, four (4) student scholarships valued at $8000 each are available under the New Colombo Plan for the Program. In addition, costs can usually be offset through obtaining an OS-HELP loan, which is then added to your existing HECS debt.

Mentoring Support and Pastoral Care

Students in the program will have regular contact with Dr Jeff Neilson, from the University of Sydney, who will join them in-country for part of their program. Jeff has collaborated with the University of Indonesia for 20 years and has been coordinating student field schools in Indonesia since 2011. When he is not in the country, pastoral care will be provided by the Department of Geography and staff at the BIPA program at the University of Indonesia. These facilities at the University of Indonesia are experienced providers of support to international students, and will provide support to Sydney students settling in to campus life and ensuring appropriate care in the event of illness or accident while in Indonesia.

Duration of the program

Students will commence the overseas program in July 2018 and will remain in Indonesia for seven to eight months. In preparation for the overseas immersion, students are expected to enrol in GEOS3524 (Global Development and Livelihoods) and INMS1101 (Indonesia 1A) in Semester 1 2018.

Application Process

To apply, please send your application via email to before October 30, 2017.

You should include:

1. A 300 word statement on why your participation in the program is important to your study plan at University and for your future career plans, and what additional skills and experience you can contribute to the program.

2. A copy of your academic transcript from the University showing your results so far.
Please contact jeffrey.neilson@sydney.edu.au for further information about this opportunity and for consultation regarding degree planning.