ACICIS started the year delightfully by welcoming 10 students from 8 Australian universities and 1 New Zealand university, all ready to embark on an immersive cultural and learning experience as part of ACICIS Journalism Professional Practicum (JPP) program in Indonesia. This year’s JPP participants were students coming from media and journalism backgrounds, and out of 10 students who participated in the program, 8 students obtained New Colombo Plan (NCP) mobility grants from the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Professional Practicum program lasted for 6 weeks, with the opening ceremony starting on 2nd of January 2024, and the closing ceremony on the 9th of February 2024. This program consisted of two substantial events, such as: 2 weeks of academic week and 4 weeks of placement in host organisations (HO). The opening ceremony which was held on January 2nd provided students with orientation sessions, an overall introduction to Indonesia, its history and culture and a brief meeting with the Academic Program Officer (APO) to explain the structure and mechanism of the program. Furthermore, this opening ceremony also featured the Faculty of Business Administration and Communication Science Atma Jaya Catholic University (FIABIKOM UAJ) as one of ACICIS’ partner universities in Indonesia.

Throughout the first two weeks, students were designed to attend seminars, tutorials and field trips, alongside attending Kelas Bahasa (Language Class) to sharpen their language skills of Bahasa Indonesia. There were 6 seminars in total with a variety of topics in the field of journalism, ranging from: Indonesian Media Landscape, Chances and Challenges in Foreign Correspondence, The Impact of Social Media, Mobile Journalism Workshop, and The Future of Journalism in Indonesia. In these seminars, ACICIS JPP staffs had the privilege to invite speakers with related expertise, namely former TEMPO journalist, former senior news anchor for Kompas and MetroTV, foreign correspondents, as well as journalists from, Katadata, SEA Today, and Republika.

To enhance students’ cultural immersion in Indonesia, JPP students also had the opportunity to visit Kompas headquarter (the oldest running media in Indonesia) and Kota Tua (Old Town, known as a historic site in the colonial period). From this field trip, students were able to discover the evolution of Indonesian media from traditional era to digital era, as well as explore Indonesian richness of cultural heritage by visiting Museum Fatahillah in Kota Tua. Moreover, students are also engaged in extracurricular activities, such as Batik Painting which they hand-painted with careful guidance from our vendor, and also took home as part of Indonesian souvenirs.

After the academic week ended, students began their placement in the respective Host Organisations (HO), in which this year we collaborated with: Al-Jazeera, Amnesty International Indonesia, Jakarta Globe, Voice of Indonesia (VOI), InClover, Project Multatuli, and Indonesia Expat. ACICIS also allocated a day in a week where the students have the opportunity to catch up with ACICIS’ Academic Program Officer and Program Assistant to discuss their concerns and challenges faced during the placement.

Most of the students finished their placement satisfactorily and they all obtained an insightful and eye-opening experience from their time in Indonesia. The Professional Practicum program officially ended with the closing ceremony, featuring a performance of Balinese dance from Atma Jaya’s traditional dancers. Moreover, the event also features HO and student representatives to give a brief speech regarding their placement experience. ACICIS wishes everyone a wonderful time in Indonesia and may this experience become a memory that will always be treasured and cherished dearly.