Prima in her own words - a participant in the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program.

My name is Prima Hidayoza. People often call me Yoza or Prima. Both my parents are educators - father is a Commissioner of elementary schools and kindergartens, and mother is a teacher.

I am studying English Education (major) at Padang State University, West Sumatra, Indonesia. This year, I am concentrating on my thesis, but the opportunity to participate in the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program 2017 in Australia was irresistible and it gave me a chance to practice my English abroad.

One of my passions is debating, as it complements my preparation for work as a teacher. Debating helps me to develop confidence in public speaking and critical thinking. It also helps me to broaden my understanding of other subjects such as politics, religions and economics. I often read the nonfiction article from CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC and other platforms, expanding my knowledge – one article at a time. Most importantly, debating helps me to appreciate different perspectives on every issue, different values that people hold and ultimately consider and respect other opinions and beliefs.

I love volunteering. For a few years now I have worked as a volunteer (the secretary) for Rumah 1000 Mimpi - the non-government charitable organisation, helping disadvantaged children to get on a path of constructive social participation via education, environmental care and self-improvement. Our organisation does some work in orphanages as well. We do charity projects, learning sessions and educative games in West Sumatra. Our work is always guided by values such as self-reflection, helping each other, sharing and inspiring people around us.

I am so glad to participate in the Australia-Indonesia Youth Exchange Program, just before my graduation early next year. This is also totally challenging at every single step. I went through a very demanding selection process, including an administration test, pre-interview test, essay test, deep interview, physiology test, religion test, group discussion, presentation test, and the last interview with the Head of the Youth and Sport Institution of West Sumatra Province. I was luckily selected from a sizeable group of 238 applicants from my province.

Our group of 18 people, from 18 provinces in Indonesia, underwent an intensive week-long pre-departure training in Jakarta, conducted by The Ministry of Youth and Sport, alumnae as well. In Australia, the program is under the authority of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), coordinated by the Australia-Indonesia Institute and operated by AFS Intercultural Program. This program aims at cross-cultural understanding and people-to-people contact.

We arrived in Australia on Saturday 21 October. I am amazed by the scenery, environment, lifestyle, people and the workplace. I was placed on a three-week internship at the Australian Museum. It is an awesome Museum; the most magnificent I have seen in my life. All things are well organised and structured. How lucky I am to be an intern here. I have so much to observe, to learn and I hope to contribute a little.