In January-February 2022, we welcomed 20 students onto ACICIS Development Studies Professional Practicum (DSPP) which ran virtually for the third time. This cohort’s participants were from 11 Australian universities, including The Australian National University, Curtin University, Deakin University, La Trobe University, Murdoch University, RMIT University, The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Australia, The University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, and The University of New South Wales. Of this year’s DSPP students, 17 received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support them on the program.

Dr Maharani Hapsari (Rani) returned as the DSPP and STPP Academic Program Officer to oversee the academic aspects of these programs. She worked together with the in-country staff to prepare the academic program such as tailoring seminar series, managing and monitoring the professional placements (internships), and pastoral care.

Students attended 40 hours of Indonesian language class hosted by  Atma Jaya Catholic University and a series of seminars, tutorials and virtual fieldtrips designed to equip students with a better understanding of the contemporary development issues in Indonesia. The seminar series covered a wide range of development topics within the Indonesian context, such as: gender, COVID-19, green and circular economy, equitable development, post-natural disaster development and tourism policy and strategy, human rights, and the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

As part of the program, the students were invited to watch a movie and participate in a Q&A discussion with the movie producer. Students watched ‘Kinipan’ (Watchdoc Documentary) and had the opportunity to chat with the movie producer, Indra Jati.

During the academic program, DSPP students had the opportunity to go on several virtual fieldtrips. One of the filedtrips included virtually visiting Desa Wisata Nglanggeran, a community-based sustainable tourism area in the Gunung Kidul Regency. During the visit, students talked with the sustainable tourism team of Nglanggeran about their efforts in empowering local communities to develop sustainable community-based tourism. The second filedtrip was to Divers Clean Action (DCA) where students virtually visited Bone Bolango District of Gorontalo Province to learn about the community development and sustainable tourism programs that DCA initiated with the community and government agencies.

What makes this year different from last year was the cultural activities. The Virtual Professional Practica students on this cohort were invited to participate in an optional cultural activity. Students were able to choose from four different cultural classes: a cooking class hosted by Atma Jaya University, a batik drawing class, a jamu making session hosted by Sanata Dharma University, and a shadow puppet creation class by Desa Timun.

This year, we also collaborated with Atma Jaya University and invited some of their students as ACICIS Student Counterparts. There were 8 Atma Jaya students who joined our seminars and tutorials, and interacted with ACICIS students during the informal catch ups and extracurricular activities.

In the second week of the academic program, DSPP students undertook a 5 week virtual professional placement within national and international host organisations. Our students were hosted by 14 development organisations located in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bali, and Gresik. The host organisations were: Amnesty International Indonesia (AII); Angsamerah Foundation; Bali Women Crisis Centre Legal Aid (LBH BWCC); Center of Reform on Economics (CORE Indonesia)Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies (CESASS)/ Pusat Studi Sosial Asia Tenggara (PSSAT) UGM; Center for World Trade Studies (CWTS) UGM; Harapan Fian; KEMITRAAN (The Partnership for Governance Reform); Komisi Nasional Anti Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan – The National Commission on Violence Against Women (KOMNAS Perempuan); Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center (MDMC); PT Adaro Energy, Tbk (Adaro); The SMERU Research Institute; UCP Roda Untuk Kemanusiaan (UCPRUK);  and Yayasan Kajian Ekologi dan Konservasi Lahan Basah /Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON).

The DSPP was brought to a close in the second week of February 2022 at the closing ceremony attended by all students, Atma Jaya Catholic University staff, 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 participants! Terima kasih banyak and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!