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Vicki Richardson’s Struggle to Introduce Indonesian Culture and Language


SURABAYA, – Indonesian culture and language have their own charm in the eyes of the world. One of them, a teacher from Australia, Vicki Richardson, has kept herself busy to and from Australia and Indonesia to become an education volunteer for Indonesia for up to 40 years.

Starting from her love for the culture of the archipelago, especially the Indonesian language, Vicki was motivated to inaugurate the Australia-Indonesia Building Relations through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (BRIDGE) program, a program that connects schools in Indonesia with schools in Australia through cooperation between SMAN 5 (State High School 5) Surabaya and Tranby College, Perth Australia.

Her love for Indonesian culture and language has continued since she first came to Indonesia until now.

When she was 39 years old, Vicki decided to seriously study to continue her studies at a well-known University in Yogyakarta with an Anthropology and Indonesian Language study program. Since then, Vicki has been interested in becoming an Indonesian language teacher and being able to introduce Indonesian culture and language to her home country.

Pondok Inspiration founder, Rico Juni Artanto had the opportunity to meet this inspiring figure in person, in Surabaya, last Thursday, March 23, 2023.

President of the Indonesia Institute, Vicki (right) with Pondok Inspiration Founder, Rico Juni Artanto (left), in Surabaya, on Thursday (23/03/2023). Photo: Pondok Inspiration doc Rico and the Ruber Academy team conducted interviews and participated in Vicki’s activities by attending invitations from several schools and education offices in Surabaya.

“The first time I came to Indonesia, I fell in love with Indonesian language and culture. Since then I have wanted Australian children to get to know their neighboring country, both in terms of culture and language. But the most important thing is the good relations between Australia and Indonesia. That was the reason I started with the BRIDGE program, so there was a collaboration with SMAN 5 (State High School 5) Surabaya for 10 years by conducting student exchanges between SMAN 5 (State High School 5) Surabaya and Tranby College, Perth Australia,” said Vicki.

Vicki teaches Indonesian using mother tongue teaching techniques, starting with having to listen, repeat, and get to know the vocabulary used in everyday life before introducing Indonesian grammar.

According to Vicki, what makes it interesting as a teacher is when children are willing and eager to continue learning.

The first time she decided to live in Surabaya, Vicki was welcomed by the people of Surabaya. Vicki had the opportunity to collaborate with the East Java Provincial Education Office and now Vicki is supporting the Indonesian language curriculum at the SMK level.

“At that time I was asked by a relative in Surabaya, ‘What do you want to do in Surabaya?’ Then I said I wanted to work with street children. It turns out that many of them have a high will and enthusiasm to learn but have to be hampered because they are not capable enough,” added Vicki.

The best teacher who supports Vicki to continue to maintain her mission is her experience from childhood until now.

Reportedly, Vicki came from a family that did not give women the freedom to continue their education, at that time Vicki could only graduate at the junior high school level.

At a young age, Vicki experienced many challenges in life. Since she was 16 years old, Vicki had to be abandoned by her grandmother, who had supported her a lot. Since then, Vicki has had to start living independently, enrolling in school and finding her own job. It was from that childhood experience that Vicki felt empathy for people who wanted to succeed.

The Australia-Indonesia trip did not make Vicki feel tired. Her participation as a director of an institution that supports bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia (Indonesia Institute) makes Vicki more enthusiastic about continuing her mission to dignify Indonesian in Australia and the world.

According to Vicki, her current activities have made her healthier, have positive thoughts because she can meet and share happiness with children. For 40 years, it has been reported that Vicki has purely used her own funds for Indonesia and Australia, because according to Vicki this has been her plan for a long time and she has prepared savings for it.

Until now, Vicki has never felt sorry for her choice because Vicki admits that she is happy to be able to help Indonesian children, especially in Surabaya, to continue to receive a proper education.

“I was amazed. It is very proven that he educates patiently, diligently, painstakingly, making the confidence level of students rise sharply,” said Rico, giving an impression after his meeting with Vicki.

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