Believe in The Power of Language

Believe in The Power of Language - For David Hill, Professor of the Faculty of Arts and Culture Murdoch University, Australia, is the language of soft power ("soft power ') owned by a nation. How do other nations respect the language of a country is a measure of the influence of the country to the other nations of the world.

In Indonesian Language Teaching International Conference for Foreign Speakers (KIPBIPA) Satya Christian University Discourse Salatiga, Central Java, in early October, expressed interest in learning Indonesian in Australia continues to decline. Statistics show interest in Indonesian studies program in Australia universities dropped 37 percent. Indonesian language in schools from kindergarten through high school in Australia lost 10,000 students each year.
the power of language

The founder of the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) was paying attention to it. Since 1995, the agency facilitates students from various universities in Australia to study in Indonesia on average sends about 50 students each semester. However, after the first Bali bombing in 2002, sending students plunged, only about 12 students each semester.

Afterwards, the Australian Government issued a travel advisory that urged citizens to reconsider if they want to visit Indonesia. The call is then often translated as the ban, and many universities or schools prohibit students and their students to go to Indonesia.

Hill founded ACICIS since 1994 to make it easier for students who wish to study in Indonesia. ACICIS connects universities in Australia and in Indonesia, and manage a variety of requirements, including visas. Institutions that received financial assistance from the government, and began to send students for the first time in 1995.

Ordinary Citizens

After completing the doctoral program at the Australian National University, Hill was called to teach at Murdoch University and simultaneously create a program in country studies. He felt compelled to set up a program ACICIS to realize it. Because, when he was studying at the ANU occurred budget cuts from the government which then have an impact on reduced hours earned college students.

"In three years time and with reduced hours from seven hours to just three hours for Indonesian, making our students and faculty, frustrated. Three years is simply not enough and we did not get anything, "he said.

Since then emerged the idea that it would be optimal if the students are learning about the language or culture of a particular country studying in the countries concerned. For that program in country studies begun, by adding one year of his college career for three years. Thus, students studying for four years.

"By learning directly to the relevant country more easily developed because students firsthand experience living in the country being studied. They are not just a guest, but take on the role as a private citizen, "he said.

ACICIS has offices in Yogyakarta. Australia, where the students can obtain information about boarding places, public transport, and how to dress and etiquette that should be upheld. On the way, Hill said, is not all smooth sailing.

"Every semester there are always students who became victims of the accident, subject to dengue hemorrhagic fever, to theft. That's it. Students so not only look beautiful Indonesia through colored glasses, but they have really to bad things, "he said laughing.

The power of language

In Indonesia, Hill deplores the events which led to the Australian people think twice to visit this country. In fact, many Australians then assume their unwanted presence in Indonesia. In fact, the Indonesian language is still the language of strategic (strategic national language) in Australia, which means it opens the possibility of cooperation in various fields.

"Rise and fall of interest in learning the language is really a barometer of the relationship between us. This includes one soft power in international relations between countries. If the interest of the Australian people goes up, it means that Indonesia has to be taken seriously. Conversely, if the decline means that Indonesia is not important anymore, "said Hill.

It was, said Hill, not only applies to Australian states, but also with other countries. If the decline in interest in learning the language of a country, the Indonesian soft power declined. Actually it is very unfortunate because many cooperation opportunities were lost.

However, the fact it did not dampen the spirit of Hill to continue to send students through ACICIS to college in Indonesia. Until now there are 25 universities in Australia which sends students to Indonesia through ACICIS. In Indonesia, there are six ACICIS partner universities, namely the University of Gadjah Mada, University of Malang, Indonesia Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia Islamic University, Sanata Dharma University, and Catholic University of Atma Jaya Jakarta.

How to convince the students that visit to Indonesia, according to Hill, not just a role ACICIS. "The dosenlah which has a very large role. They are spearheading a convincing students that Indonesia was not as bad as reported so far, "said Hill.

However, he recommended the state government to take a second look for solutions to these problems. One way is to extend the scholarship studies, through the Directorate General of Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia as well as scholarships from the Australian Government for the citizens of Indonesia. From his three-year scholarship to plus two more years to practice teach Indonesian in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Government of Indonesia, Hill advised to begin to open up in the presence of Australian citizens, for example by not complicate Australian citizen get a work visa in Indonesia.

"People who are fluent in Australia Indonesia Indonesia's hard work, the reverse is also in Australia. I think that labor migration opportunities can be more easily perhaps it could be a driving force for the citizens of Australia to study Indonesia, "said Hill.


David Hill

• Born: New South Wales, 27 September 1954

• Education:
- Australian National University (S-1, in 1977)
- Australian National University (PhD, 1989)

• Employment:
- Professor Murdoch University
- Founder and Director of the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS)