Lombok 2011 was an experience that will stay with me for the whole of my life. It not only reinforced why I love the country but it made me want to pursue my dreams that are connected with Indonesia even more.


I started studying Indonesian through High School and decided to continue this through my study at University. It was not until the last year or so that my course enabled me to undertake Indonesian A. I was apprehensive beginning the language again, although I had studied it for two years during school, the dreaded thought of not remembering anything at all and not being able to take on the language entered my mind on a regular basis. Not only to begin a language from scratch but to begin this language in the home country made it even more daunting for me.


This apprehension and trepidation soon left me after Day One. The Orientation was simple and laid back and the teachers instantly made you feel at ease. I came to Lombok not knowing anyone but I immediately felt relaxed after meeting other students. By the end of the three weeks I had numerous close friends.


I began Indonesian A and it was just myself and one other wonderful lady, Maureen. In many ways I enjoyed this small class, it allowed us to get to know each other well. There were some days where one of us would not be able to handle the language (homesickness, tiredness, Bali Belly all played a part) and we were always there for one another. I remember shedding a tear or two on Maureenís shoulder. However, with this aside, these moments just added to the experience. Our teachers Ibu Nina and Ibu Eka were gorgeous women. They too went out of their way to help with any problem and quickly learnt that incorporating humour into the class was a big success.


The hotel in which I stayed at was about twenty minutes or so from UNRAM. Although it was further out than where most students were staying, I quite enjoyed this as it allowed me to notice rituals and routines of the local people each morning and afternoon. I had a regular taxi driver, Pak Maun, who was ever so friendly. He would test me each afternoon on what I was taught that day on the way home to the hotel. He is missed and will definitely be called upon when I return next year.


The staff at where I was staying became like a second family to me. They all knew me by first name and I would frequently hear them call out ĎJení whenever I was around. The staff became close friends who helped with homework, answered my questions and invited me to their house for local meals, their friendís house and their familyís house. It was like one big support group; everyone wanted to know you and everyone wanted to help you. The Lombok and local Sasak people are the friendliest and will go out of their way to help you.


At the end of the three weeks I was excited to return home and tell the stories of the past month; however, I could have easily stayed on for another three to complete Level B.


Overall, this has been one of the most enjoyable and challenging experiences of my lifeÖ and I canít wait to do it all over again. †††††††






This is a photo of our classroom



















and the second image is of the local icecream man... he used to come to the campus every day on the exact minute that we broke for lunch. He became a regular friend to many of the students and many students were left penniless at the end of lunch because of him (: