Friday 14 November 2019 marked a special day for the 150 students of the Indonesian Navy’s Command and Staff Course, and in particular it marked the end of a two-year journey for Lieutenant Commander Ian Jackson, the Australian student on the course.
He was joined by 142 Indonesian students, as well as students from India, Pakistan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea in graduating from the Indonesian Navy’s premier Training College.
As one of only eight students from outside Indonesia, Lieutenant Commander Jackson started this odyssey in 2018 with language training at the Defence Force School of Languages in Melbourne.
This was followed by further training at the Indonesian Military Language School in Jakarta, before his staff course journey began in January this year.
The language courses were a critical component of the Royal Australian Navy officer’s pre-course work, with the entire Command and Staff Course taught and assessed in Indonesian.
“The course has been a fantastic journey into the Indonesian lifestyle and a great opportunity to learn about the Indonesian Navy (TNIAL),” Lieutenant Commander Jackson said.
The course started with a team building weekend in the jungle around the city of Bogor, where the students got to know each other before moving onto the academic phases, which examined many aspects of Indonesian politics, economics and foreign policy.
The course also conducted a study tour to the Philippines, as well as visits to other areas within Indonesia.
Other modules included lectures from the Seapower Centre - Australia, the University of Wollongong, the US Navy War College and the US Navy Post Graduate School.
This was also the first year the course has run a Master’s degree program, which required each student to write a lengthy thesis, again in Indonesian.
“Many potential staff course students would not consider an overseas staff course, and the challenges are demanding.
“But I would certainly commend my Indonesian experience to anyone,” Lieutenant Commander Jackson said.
“The opportunity to learn a new language and live in a foreign country should not be missed, as it broadens your thinking and allows you to see how Australia is regarded by our regional neighbours,” he said.
Following the course Lieutenant Commander Jackson will return to Australia for his next posting.