Indonesian Version, click here

Our Operations Coordinator (Australia), Emily Heng, interviewed Acum, an AIYA member, about his involvement in  and his opinions on how language exchange plays a part in strengthening the Australia-Indonesia relations.

E: Can you introduce yourself?

A: Hi, my name is Ahmad Ma’shum and you can call me by my last name (Acum – it’s how I started to pronounce my own name when I was so little.) I am a current member of AIYA Yogyakarta chapter and I am residing in Magelang (with family) during this pandemic. I work as a creative designer and am currently doing freelance work. 

Ahmad Ma’shum (Acum) in Melbourne

E: How did you get involved in AIYA?

I discovered AIYA in the beginning of 2017, after I graduated from RMIT University and started attending AIYA Victoria’s weekly language exchange in early 2018 before returning to Indonesia. I consider myself a dedicated person who always attends every AIYA’s event in the region where I live!

E: In your own words, can you describe what FLEX is?

A: FLEX is an online alternative to Language Exchange, which has been organized by AIYA in almost every chapter. During this pandemic, FLEX is the answer to staying connected with AIYA members from all over the world. Members can practise their Bahasa Indonesia or English through audio or video conference every week. FLEX is the place to exchange your knowledge of cultures, diversity and languages. It is the bridge that builds the connection between two countries, two continents. 

E: What inspired you to join FLEX?

A: I was inspired to join FLEX because I did not want to miss the opportunity to be with my friends despite the pandemic. I wanted to still be able to stay in touch, although we are physically apart. 

E: What sort of activities and games have you participated in on FLEX?

A: I love to participate in any activities and games on FLEX. My favourite game on FLEX is Kahoot. It is a lot fun playing this game. I also like to take part in discussions about particular issues with other AIYA members on FLEX and exchange knowledge. When it comes to food discussions, I usually pay attention to those quite well!

Acum participating in AIYA Victoria’s weekly language exchange back in 2017

E: How has FLEX benefited you?

A: I have learnt so many things through FLEX and reconnected with my long time AIYA friends from Australia (Victoria). Through FLEX, I have learnt and discovered things that I did not know before such as traditional food from other islands in Indonesia and even from Australia.  

E: Do you think language exchange plays a part in strengthening Australia-Indonesia relations?

A: I certainly do think so. Language exchange impacts the relations between two countries by not only strengthening the culture and language sharing, but also through youth bilateral diplomacy. AIYA members represent the “now” youth who immerse and dedicate themselves to uniting differences and bridging two cultures. We speak the languages and embrace various customs. 

E: Do you have any advice for young Indonesians interested in engaging in Australia-Indonesia relations?

A: I would encourage and recommend young Indonesians to attend AIYA’s events and join AIYA. Joining AIYA will broaden your horizons, and enable you to learn many things about the Australia-Indonesia bilateral relationship!

Joining AIYA allows you to engage with the peak body for young people in the Australia-Indonesia relationship. To become an AIYA member, click here. To attend our weekly FLEX sessions, register to become an AIYA member, and then create an account on Unibridge.