Canberra, January 24, 2024 — The Indonesian Embassy in Canberra continues to promote the Indonesian Language for Foreign Speakers (BIPA) in the Australian region. To facilitate BIPA learners in practicing Indonesian conversations, the Education and Cultural Attaché (Atdikbud) of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra has launched the ‘Kawan Ngobrol’ (Chatting Friends) program. The launch took place at the Indonesian Cultural Center in Canberra on Tuesday (23/1).
‘Kawan Ngobrol’ is a monthly program that brings together BIPA learners in Canberra with native Indonesian speakers. During these meetings, they can casually converse in Indonesian, helping to enhance the conversational skills of BIPA learners. The program is open to all BIPA learners who wish to develop their Indonesian language proficiency.
According to Atdikbud of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Mukhamad Najib, this program aims to provide space and companionship to the Canberra community interested in learning Indonesian. “Like friends, the ‘Kawan Ngobrol’ program provides comfort for BIPA learners to chat without feeling pressured, as they might feel in a classroom,” explained Najib.
Currently, there are 16 schools and 2 universities in Canberra offering Indonesian language lessons. The two universities are the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales Canberra campus. Additionally, non-school institutions and campuses also provide Indonesian language classes for adults, such as the Australia-Indonesia Association ACT. Therefore, in terms of numbers, there is a considerable number of BIPA learners in Canberra.
Despite having a significant number of Indonesian language learners, it doesn’t mean there are no challenges in learning Indonesian in Canberra. One of the challenges is finding a community that can help BIPA learners practice what they have learned in school or on campus. The ‘Kawan Ngobrol’ program is intended to create an Indonesian language community in Canberra, aiding learners in practicing conversational skills.
In addition to being attended by students and university students, the program is also open to Australian citizens who have served or lived in Indonesia and want to maintain their previously acquired proficiency in the Indonesian language. Steve, who served for two years in Indonesia, expressed his joy at the existence of the ‘Kawan Ngobrol’ program and promised to attend frequently if informed of its regular schedule.
Meanwhile, Phil Domaschenz, who served in Jakarta for a year, misses the Indonesian language and culture. Phil hopes that the presence of ‘Kawan Ngobrol’ can alleviate his longing for Indonesia. For Phil, the existence of ‘Kawan Ngobrol’ is excellent. It’s not just about learning the language, but Phil can also meet Indonesians and, of course, enjoy delicious Indonesian food.