Neza Palar



Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other
Languages (MTESOL)


Melbourne Burwood

Graduation year


Deakin Young Alumni of the Year Award


Current position

Teacher and university lecturer, Aceh, Indonesia


Neza Palar is an inspirational leader who oversees a large team of Deakin Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MTESOL) and Master of Education graduates from Aceh, Indonesia. Working as part of a partnership between Deakin University and the Indonesian Government, Neza's team is helping to rebuild the tsunami-shattered Aceh Province. Her work is focused on running community development programs for teachers and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Career path and highlights

Since completing her MTESOL and returning to her homeland in Indonesia, Neza has been a dedicated leader in local rebuilding efforts. Her work has been particularly focused on the badly affected educational sector of Aceh, where over 3500 educators lost their lives in the 2004 natural disaster.

Neza also teaches at a junior high school, is a lecturer at two local universities, teaches in various teacher training development centres and conducts professional development courses for mid-career teachers in the region.

Q&A with Neza Palar

What are you doing now?

Leading a team of Deakin alumni who work as part of a partnership between Deakin and the Indonesian Government to help rebuild the tsunami-shattered Aceh Province. We do this through a program of community development projects, including providing English language classes for teachers and students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the devastated Langsa region.

Why did you choose Deakin?

I wanted the opportunity to rebuild the Aceh education system after the 2004 Tsunami that saw over 3500 educators perish. My government was working with Deakin on the reconstruction project and I just had to be part of this.

What were you inspired by at university?

I was inspired by the great experiences and opportunities presented to me as a result of studying at Deakin. Like the chance to provide leadership in the rebuilding of my homeland and to further my skills as an educator in the process. The MTESOL program inspired and motivated me in so many ways and it changed the way that I saw myself, my profession and my environment. There were many times I found my 'ah-ha' moment at Deakin.

What motivates you?

My students! They motivate me to be a better teacher and person. My life and education background have taught me that I have a personal responsibility to do my best and inspire my students. I want to teach my students, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, to never give up and to pursue their dreams and that nothing is impossible.

What has been your proudest professional achievement?

Graduating with my master's and hopefully being an inspiration to my students.

What is important in your profession?

To be dedicated and to love your work. Teaching in the Aceh Province currently presents many challenges that stem from an environment with complex economic and social-cultural problems. Motivating students to study poverty, geography and other cultural issues all combine to make my job very challenging at times.

What would you like to do in the future?

Continue to work as a teacher and pursue further study in a different major area. I would also like the opportunity to undertake a PhD at some stage.