ACICIS was pleased to host 14 students on the first ever Winter ACICIS Development Studies Professional Practicum (DSPP) from June to September 2021. The program was successfully run with the cohort coming from various universities across Australia, such as Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT University, The University of Western Australia, The Australian National University, and Murdoch University. 12 students received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support them on the program and overseeing the winter program was the ACICIS Academic Program Officer (APO), Dr Ella Prihatini

DSPP participants virtually attended 40 hours of Indonesian language classes hosted by Atma Jaya University and a series of 30 hours’ seminars, tutorials and virtual fieldtrips designed to equip students with an understanding of the development sector in Indonesia. ACICIS held four plenary seminars and several joint seminars with other professional practicum programs such as the Law Professional Practicum (LPP), Business Professional Practicum (BPP), and Agriculture Professional Practicum (APP) on various topics. The seminar series covered a wide range of development topics within the Indonesian context such as gender, COVID-19 issues, environment, sustainable development, human rights, omnibus law, and CSR and Philanthropic organisations. We invited high calibre speakers from various background such as academics, researchers, development practitioners, and representatives from Government departments.

The students had the opportunity to virtually visit the urban development on the riverbanks of the Kali Code (Code River). During the first fieldtrip, DSPP students observed the conservation and river management efforts in the area. They also participated in discussions with Pemerti Kali Code (individuals involved in urban planning, tourism and development along the Code River). The second trip was on sustainable tourism with Divers Clean Action (DCA). The students joined this trip along with Agriculture Professional Practicum (APP) and Journalism Professional Practicum (JPP) students. They virtually visited Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands) to learn about the eco trip practices and sustainable tourism programs that DCA initiated with the local tourism providers and organisations on the islands. DCA team successfully delivered this virtual fieldtrip in an interactive and insightful way and brought the ‘island vibes’ into the homes of our students.

The students were also invited to watch two movies as part of the program and ACICIS also organised a Q&A discussion with representatives from the film makers. The first movie session showed Asimetris (Watchdoc Documentary) in which students had an opportunity to chat with the movie producer, Indra Jati. The second film was The Staging Post (2017). Jolyon Hoff, the director, and one of the cast and former refugees at Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre (CRLC), Muzafar, virtually attended the second discussion session. These discussions brought a glimpse of environmental and refugees advocacy issues in the Indonesian contexts to our students.

In the fourth week, the students began their 160 hour virtual professional placements within the flexible nine-weeks of the program. Our students were hosted by 11 development organisations located in Jakarta, Bali, Yogyakarta, and East Java. These included Amnesty International Indonesia; Center of Reform on Economics (CORE Indonesia); The National Commission on Violence Against Women (KOMNAS Perempuan); Yayasan Humanis dan Inovasi Sosial (HIVOS); The SMERU Research Institute; Yayasan IDEP Selaras Alam (IDEP Foundation); UCP Roda Untuk Kemanusiaan (UCPRUK); Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies (CESASS); Harapan Fian; Project Child Indonesia (PCI) and Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON).

The virtual DSPP concluded in mid-September 2021. Despite the challenges we faced in hosting the virtual programs, ACICIS received positive feedback from the students and the host organisations. ACICIS would like to congratulate all the students for undertaking a challenging opportunity to gain professional experience in Indonesia’s vibrant development sectors, and extend thanks to our fantastic host organisations that always provide tremendous support and assistance for our students in these challenging times. We wish students all the best in their future endeavours!