[TimorLesteStudies] Information about ANU's In-Country Tetum Language Tuition

Jennifer Drysdale jenster at cres10.anu.edu.au
Wed Oct 17 14:43:37 EST 2007

Please direct enquiries regarding this post to 
George Quinn: George.Quinn at anu.edu.au

Studying Tetum in East Timor
  The ANU’s In-Country Tetum Language Courses
Basic Information on the Program.

Venue and Teaching Staff
Course Content
How to Enrol
Accommodation and Food
Travel to and from Dili
Costs and Financial Assistance
More Information

The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) has 
approved two new courses in Tetum (the indigenous 
national language of East Timor). They are 
TETM2002 Tetum 2A In-Country and TETM2003 Tetum 
2B In-Country. Both courses are conducted 
in-country in Dili, East Timor and will be 
available beginning in 2008. If you are eligible, you can enrol now
The first intake (TETM2002 Tetum 2A In-Country 
only) runs from Monday January 7th 2008 to Friday 
February 1st 2008. The dates of later intakes 
will be announced as they are finalised.
Tetum courses can be counted towards an 
Indonesian major provided you have completed 
Indonesian 3B. In certain circumstances, and with 
the approval of the Sub-Dean in the Faculty of 
Asian Studies, Tetum courses may also be counted 
towards completion of other language majors 
offered in the Faculty. Otherwise they may be taken as ordinary electives.

Venue and Teaching Staff
Tetum 2A In-Country and Tetum 2B In-Country are 
conducted at the Dili Institute of Technology in 
Dili, East Timor. The teachers and tutors are all 
East Timorese with the exception of the head of 
the teaching team, Dr Catharina Williams-van 
Klinken. Dr Williams-van Klinken is Language Unit 
Coordinator at the Dili Institute of Technology. 
She is co-author of Tetun Dili: A Grammar of an 
East Timorese Language, as well as Tetun Language 
Course, a practical coursebook for the study of 
Tetum. The in-country program will be supervised 
by Dr George Quinn, Head of the Southeast Asia 
Centre at the ANU, and Ms Adelaide Lopes, Tetum lecturer at the ANU.

Course Content
The courses offer the equivalent of a 
one-semester ANU course (about 70 class contact 
hours), but are conducted in intensive mode over 
three weeks of classes and one week of rural 
practicum (held in about the third week).

The set text for TETM2002 Tetum 2A In-Country is 
Peace Corps East Timor Tetun Language Manual 
Course by Catharina Williams-van Klinken. This 
text will be made available to you on arrival in 
Dili at a cost of around US$20.

The course focuses primarily on oral 
communication, ranging from conversational to 
more formal settings. It will include grammar and 
vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, appropriate 
terms of address, strategies for language 
learning in-country, pronunciation correction if 
required, and language for meetings and presentations.

The three weeks of classes focus primarily on 
oral communication, ranging from conversational 
to more formal settings. It will include grammar 
and vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, 
appropriate terms of address, strategies for 
language learning in-country, pronunciation 
correction if required, and language for meetings 
and presentations. Lessons will mostly be 
conducted monolingually in Tetum. Since the focus 
is on communication about a wide range of issues, 
students will also learn much about East Timor.

During the one-week rural practicum, students 
will travel to rural areas with students from the 
Dili Institute of Technology, travelling on local 
transport, and staying with host families. You 
will have the opportunity for a wide range of 
local experiences, depending on your own 
interests and the local environment. This could 
include visiting farms, schools, clinics, 
churches, youth groups, and historical sites. You 
may get the opportunity to listen to good 
story-tellers, learn to cook traditional dishes, 
participate in house-building, or attend local 
ceremonies if they happen to be on.

The course emphasises oral communicative skills. 
Hence all of the assessment involves a major 
element of listening or speaking or both. 75% 
also involves an element of reading or writing. 
All assessment activities give scope for students 
to use their creativity in response to open 
questions, and most allow the students to choose 
the topic on which they wish to communicate. This 
reflects the fact that this is an 
intermediate-level course, in which you are 
expected to use the grammar and general 
vocabulary you have learned, but in which it is 
appropriate to start focusing on more specialised 
vocabulary on your own areas of interest.

There are five main assessment tasks. The first 
three are presented before the field visit, and the last two afterwards.

·       20%: Reading/listening/speaking: Read a 
newspaper article on any event or issue, ask at 
least two people for their comments on it, and 
from this present a five-minute oral report to 
the class, before answering questions from the class and teachers.

·       20%: Listening/writing/speaking: Listen 
to a 10-minute talk by a speaker (on a topic for 
which vocabulary has been studied in advance), 
and write it up as an article. Read it and 
discuss it with at least one Timorese person and 
get their feedback before handing it in.

·       10%: Writing/speaking: Write a speech to 
introduce yourself formally in the village, 
explaining your background and why you are here. 
Present the speech to the class.

·       50%: During the field trip, select one 
area to focus special attention on. (This could 
be anything that is acceptable to the local 
community, from the symbolism of traditional 
houses to formal schooling to agricultural 
methods...) On return, write a single-page report 
on the most interesting things that you have 
learned (25%), and present an oral lesson to the 
rest of the class about it (25%).

If you have passed Tetum 1B or have an equivalent 
mastery of Tetum as assessed in a placement test 
you are eligible to enrol in Tetum 2A In-Country. 
Similarly, a pass in Tetum 2A In-Country, or an 
equivalent mastery as assessed in a placement 
test, is a precondition for admission to Tetum 2B 
In-Country. Please note that, for the moment, 
second year Tetum is not available on-campus at 
the ANU in Canberra. Also, native-speakers of 
Tetum are not eligible to take any of the Tetum courses offered by ANU.

How to Enrol
You cannot enrol in TETM2002 Tetum 2A In-Country 
or TETM2003 Tetum 2B In-Country online. You must 
enrol in person at the Asian Studies Faculty 
office on Level 2 of the Baldessin Precinct 
Building. You can enrol up until the beginning of 
December, but do not leave your enrolment until the last minute.

East Timor currently attracts a Level 4 warning 
from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs 
and Trade. This means that DFAT advises 
travellers to “reconsider your need to travel”. 
DFAT’s Smartraveller web page contains a 
regularly updated summary of information on 
safety and security in East Timor, including 
civil unrest and political tension. You should 
read this advice carefully before enrolling in 
Tetum 2A In-Country or Tetum 2B In-Country. The 
address is: 

If circumstances arise that are beyond the ANU’s 
control, for example the onset of specific 
security concerns or health crises, it may not be 
possible for this program to run, or it might be 
terminated at short notice or without notice.
Students enrolled in the courses must take a 
mobile phone to East Timor. Calling in and out of 
East Timor by mobile phone can be quite 
expensive, so to control costs, we recommend that 
on arrival in Dili students buy a local SIM card 
and number. Pre-payment is the only option for 
mobile phones in East Timor, and phones can be 
“topped up” by buying phone cards in various 
denominations in the shops and streets of Dili. 
You must then report your new phone number to 
your study supervisor at the ANU and to the head 
of the teaching team in Dili. You must also 
register with the Australian Embassy in Dili, and 
with the phone alert service operated by the UN 
police in East Timor. Information on how to do 
this will be provided for you on arrival in Dili.
The course coordinator in the Faculty of Asian 
Studies and the head of the teaching team in Dili 
are both well informed about security issues in 
East Timor and will act with caution and prudence 
to monitor the security situation and ensure the 
safety of ANU students. You will have to sign an 
undertaking that if your ANU supervisor (Dr 
Quinn) instructs you to evacuate from Dili you must leave immediately.

Accommodation and Food
Students will stay in home-stay accommodation 
with Tetum-speaking families in Dili. Depending 
on the circumstances of the family, accommodation 
may be spartan with shared bathroom and toilet 
facilities. The electricity supply is sometimes 
unreliable, so there is no guarantee of 
continuous electricity. The usual voltage is 110V 
to 120V, but in some homes and buildings 240V 
electricity is available. Plugs are the two-pronged European style.
  Food will be local Timorese food with an 
emphasis on rice and vegetables, and very small 
amounts of meat or fish. Water cannot be drunk 
straight from the tap in Dili, but clean bottled 
water can be bought at very reasonable prices in 
the markets and supermarkets of the city, and tap 
water or well water is boiled as a matter of 
course. There are restaurants in Dili where you 
can buy European, Chinese, Thai and Indonesian food.

It is essential for you to consult your doctor 
for advice on health matters and vaccinations 
before your departure. Malaria and dengue fever 
are special problems in East Timor and it is very 
important that adequate precautions are taken. 
Students should seek medical advice on which 
vaccinations are required at least two months 
before departure. Usually vaccinations against 
cholera, typhoid and hepatitis B are advised.

Bottled, sterile drinking water is widely 
available. Drinking water in hotels, restaurants 
and family homes is boiled as a matter of course. 
Unboiled water should not be consumed. Note that 
it is often used for washing dishes and preparing 
food. “Stomach trouble” however can be a result 
of a sudden change in diet rather than poor hygiene in food preparation.

Dili has only one public hospital. There are 
clinics in Dili and in the countryside, but these 
are often very basic. There are only two or three 
pharmacies in Dili, and they do not carry the 
same range of medications that pharmacies in 
Australia carry. If you take regular medication, 
bring your own supplies. More important, if you 
have any chronic medical condition (e.g. asthma, 
high/low blood pressure, anaemia etc.) you should not travel to East Timor.

Travel to and from Dili
Booking travel to and from Dili is your 
responsibility and should be done well in advance 
of your dates of travel. As a precaution against 
the necessity to leave East Timor suddenly, you 
should buy a flexible fare, even though such fares are more expensive.
There are two reliable ways to get to East Timor. 
You can travel by way of Darwin. Airnorth runs 
daily return flights from Darwin to Dili in small 
passenger aircraft. You can also fly to Dili from 
Bali on flights operated by Merpati Nusantara 
Airlines. These run every day except Tuesday. 
Either way, you should factor in the cost of 
travel to Darwin or Bali, and the cost of 
overnight accommodation in Darwin or Bali.
You can also enter and leave East Timor overland, 
travelling by bus from Kupang in West Timor and 
crossing into East Timor at the Mota Ain crossing 
point. But you should be aware that the border 
crossing is not always open and there may be 
delays in crossing the land border at Mota Ain, 
so this is not a recommended avenue for entry to East Timor.

Students enrolled in ANU courses off-shore are 
covered by the provisions of the ANU Business 
Travel Insurance Policy covering ANU students 
abroad. Information on this coverage may be found 

Please read carefully the exclusions set out in 
this brochure, especially those relating to 
medical issues. You should consider taking out 
personal insurance for anything not covered in 
the ANU Business Travel Insurance Policy.

Costs and Financial Assistance
Tetum 2A In-Country and Tetum 2B In-Country are 
internal courses of the ANU, so you pay your 
course fee for these courses (or postpone payment 
of it in the normal fashion) to the ANU. Provided 
you have been admitted to the ANU, no further 
course fees are payable in East Timor. But you 
should set aside US$20 - $30 for the purchase of 
the set text and other study materials in Dili.
The cost of travel will vary depending on the 
route you take, the season you travel and the 
deal you get. Bear in mind that you should buy a 
flexible fare, even though such fares are more 
expensive than non-flexible ones. You should 
budget for a minimum cost of around $1500 for 
return air travel – the actual cost may be more.
The cost of homestay accommodation in Dili has 
not been finalised, but it will not be expensive 
– probably in the vicinity of $100 a week, including meals.
The currency used in East Timor is US dollars. 
You can access cash using the facilities of the 
ANZ Bank in Dili. Their ATM machine, however, 
works only intermittently and accepts only Cirrus 
cards. It is more advisable to take your credit 
card with a cash withdrawal facility, and obtain 
cash over the counter at the ANZ Bank. 
Alternatively you can take cash (American 
dollars), though you should be very careful to 
carry it securely, and you should have a back-up 
strategy to access money should you lose your 
cash. There is a branch of Western Union in Dili. 
There are no ATMs or other reliable banking facilities outside Dili.
The ANU offers a subsidy of $500 to assist 
students enrolled in ANU courses that are 
conducted overseas. This money may not 
necessarily be available before departure. For 
information on applying for the subsidy, contact 
Southeast Asia Centre Administrator Karina 
Pelling (email: 
<mailto:karina.pelling at anu.edu.au>karina.pelling at anu.edu.au; phone: 61253163).

More Information
For more information contact the convener of the courses:

Dr George Quinn
Head, Southeast Asia Centre
Faculty of Asian Studies
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
Phone: (62 2) 61253163; Fax: (62 2) 61250745; 
Email: <mailto:george.quinn at anu.edu.au>george.quinn at anu.edu.au

Or Southeast Asia Centre Administrator Ms Karina Pelling
Phone: (62 2) 61253163; Fax: (61 2) 61250745); 
Email: <mailto:karina.pelling at anu.edu.au>karina.pelling at anu.edu.au

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