For the majority of my time on AIYEP I have been focusing on thinking about how sport can play a role in cultivating friendships and relationships between Australian participants in AIYEP and the wider communities we have been involved in. This initial focus stemmed from helping run the football program as part of our community development projects. What I've come to notice is that sport is a very organic medium for people to come together and learn about each other’s cultures.
Whilst in Bulukumba, a lot of us made an effort to play futsal at the local sports clubs and found that we were able to have more meaningful conversations than we were in more formalised settings. Teaching AFL 9’s gave us a platform to talk more about Australian culture and way of life as the participants became genuinely interested in what this foreign sport was and how it was played. Moving to Makassar we have been far more consistent in playing futsal inviting our host siblings to play with us- giving us an opportunity to further bond with our generous host families. The big takeaway for me has been realising how such a simple idea or medium can act as a channel for much more meaningful relationships. What I've also learned is that us Australians have to sharpen our skills a lot more of we’re to be competitive with our Indonesian counterparts on the futsal field!
- Alexander Horton, WA