Moving from the town of Lamongan on the Indonesia island of Java, IMAS student Muhammad Arif Rahman wasn’t really sure what to expect of Tasmania.
“To be honest, I didn’t know that much about Tasmania because it is a small island under Australia.”
“I didn’t know things like what the weather would be like. When I arrived in winter it was very cold, it took me about a month to adjust, but I got to see my first snow. We don’t have it in Indonesia!”
Although Arif wasn't expecting the chilly weather, he was well versed in the courses and teaching staff at the University of Tasmania.
“I researched universities in Australia for options, and read the units that they offered. I wanted to continue to study fisheries and the specific units offered in this course are not offered elsewhere. I developed my skills in areas like responsible fishing and fisheries population dynamics."
Plus, when I Googled the lecturers here they had a good reputation in journals and had so many publications, which is important to me.
“I also searched for courses in the Netherlands, Canada, Japan and Thailand, but I was lucky enough to receive an Australia Award Scholarship which was financially very important for me, and it helped to get me to the University of Tasmania.”
Tasmania is thousands of kilometres away from home for Arif, but he did notice some similarities.
One of the things I liked about Tasmania is that that it is quiet. At night time there are no cars or vehicles disturbing my studies, which is similar to Malang, a town in Indonesia where I studied my bachelor degree.
“The lecturers are very helpful, I found they have an open door when I want to discuss topics I need help with, even though they are well regarded and well published.”
“During summer I got to go to beautiful beaches and see the natural scenery. The national parks are well managed and they have parks and wildlife officers that you can ask about the parks."
Tasmania is very beautiful. It is very easy to get to places in Tasmania. In Indonesia there are beautiful places, but to get there sometimes you have to use a motorcycle or even walk. In Tasmania all you need is a car.
As part of his study Arif also undertook a research project, supervised by IMAS lecturer Nick Rawlinson, to see whether magnets can be used to deter draughtboard sharks from entering lobster pots.
“The results show there is a significant difference in the behaviour of the draughtboard shark when they are around the magnets.”
“Sharks have special organs which help them to detect geomagnetic fields, a strong magnet can overstimulate this organ and repel the sharks.”
Arif is considering conducting further studies in the Indonesian fishing industry.
“These studies would probably be with longlining because sharks also get caught on tuna longlines and are unwanted bycatch. This is becoming an issue in Indonesia as awareness of sustainable fishery starts to rise.”
But there is one goal which Arif has in mind when he returns home.
When I return home, the things I have learned at the University of Tasmania will help me to achieve my dream, to be a lecturer. In addition to all of the knowledge I have gained, the different way of thinking will help me.
“I would recommend the University of Tasmania, but the one thing to say is to buy a good winter jacket before you arrive!"