In January-February 2023, we welcomed 17 students onto ACICIS Development Studies Professional Practicum (DSPP) and 1 student onto ACICIS Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum (STPP) which eventually held offline for the first time after the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants for this cohort were from 8 Australian universities, including Australian National University, Murdoch University, RMIT University, The University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, Western Sydney University, UNSW Sydney and University of Queensland. Most DSPP-STPP students received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to assist them during the program.

On this cohort, Dr Maharani Hapsari (Rani) returning as the DSPP and STPP Academic Program Officer to oversee the academic aspects of these programs. She worked together with ACICIS in-country staffs to prepare the academic program such as tailoring seminar series, managing and monitoring professional placement (internship), and pastoral care.

Students attended 40 hours of Indonesian language class hosted by  Atma Jaya Catholic University and a series of 30 hours’ seminars, tutorials and field trips designed to equip students with a better understanding of the contemporary development issues in Indonesia and sustainable tourism practices in Indonesia. ACICIS held one plenary seminar which attended by all seven Professional Practicum programs and five joint seminars between Development Professional Practicum and Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum. The plenary seminar brought up a topic of Introduction to Indonesia while the other five joint seminars covered a wide range of development and tourism topics within the Indonesian context, e.g. Gender in Indonesia, Climate Change and Sustainable Tourism in Indonesia, Human Rights for Development, Community Development in Indonesia, and Employment and Human Resources in Development Sector.

Besides the academic sessions, the students were also invited to do Batik painting organised by Rumah Batik Palbatu. They were so excited joining the cultural activity given and found that this activity can be such a healing activity or a sweet short escape in the middle of their business in the academic week.

During the academic program, DSPP-STPP students had the opportunity to visit Kampung Akuarium, an urban residential area located in Penjaringan Sub District, North Jakarta. We talked with local communities about their efforts in engaging with the government policy implementation and identify some collective actions associated with urban development struggles. The second trip was visiting Kampung Samtama, a model of community-based climate resiliency located in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta District. The students learnt about how to build a sustainable Kampung in the Age of Climate Change. They also learnt about how the residents develop prototype of village tourism that facilitates both domestic and international tourists by collaborating with accommodation providers around the Kampung.

This year, we also collaborated with Atma Jaya University and some universities in Jakarta to invite some of their students as ACICIS Student Counterparts. They joined our seminar and tutorials, as well as interacted with ACICIS students during informal catch ups and cultural activities.

Completed 2-weeks of academic program, DSPP-STPP students then undertook four-weeks of professional placement within national and international host organisations. Our students were hosted by  development and tourism organisations located in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, and Bogor. The host organisations were Center of Reform on Economics (CORE Indonesia); Harapan Fian; Humanitarian Forum Indonesia; PRIK-KT; Samudera Indonesia; Institut DIAN/Interfidei; Project Child; Habitat for Humanity; Koalisi Rakyat untuk Kedaulatan Pangan (KRKP); Travelxism.

Every Thursday, the students had their weekly catch up with Academic Program Officer and Program Assistant from ACICIS to share their difficulties in adjusting their life in Indonesia and the obstacles during their placement. This moment can also be the opportunities to bond with other students and enjoy Indonesian food.

Though DSPP-STPP students were busy doing their placement and submitting weekly assignments, they still got time to explore Indonesia on their weekend.

The DSPP-STPP was brought to a close in the second week of February 2023, where students attended the closing ceremony attended by Atma Jaya Catholic University staffs, Host Organisation mentors, and ACICIS team members.

We would like to congratulate our students on their achievements and contributions, as well as extend thanks to our wonderful Host Organisations and mentors for providing tremendous support and assistance for our students in these challenging times! A big congratulations to all DSPP-STPP participants! Terima kasih banyak and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!