ACICIS Development Studies Professional Practicum (DSPP) ran virtually for the first time in January-February 2021. ACICIS Study Indonesia welcomed 28 students onto the Virtual DSPP program. The program combines an academic program consists of virtual seminar series and virtual field trips and integrated with a virtual professional placement within national and international host organisations.

The 28 participants for this cohort were from 14 Australian universities, including Australian National University, La Trobe University, Deakin University, The University of Western Australia, The University of New South Wales, Western Sydney University, RMIT University, Murdoch University, The University of Sydney, The University of Adelaide, Flinders University, The University of Queensland, Monash University, and Curtin University. Of this year’s DSPP students, 25 received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support them on the program.

Returning for the third time as the ACICIS Academic Program Officer (APO), Dr Maharani Hapsari (Rani) did an excellent job overseeing the virtual placements and the academic component this year’s cohort. Along with the in-country staff, she prepared the academic program, provided a set of reading lists and selected a great round of speakers for the virtual DSPP seminars.

DSPP participants (virtually) attended 40 hours of Indonesian language classes hosted by Atma Jaya Catholic 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. This year ACICIS held three plenary seminars and several joint seminars with other professional practicum programs such as LPP, BPP and APP on various topics. The seminar series covered a wide range of development topics within the Indonesian context, e.g. gender, environment, omnibus law, mobility and migration.

The students had the opportunity to visit (virtually) the urban development on the riverbanks of the Kali Code (Code River). During the fieldtrip, DSPP students observed conservation and river management efforts in the area. They participated in discussions with Pemerti Kali Code (individuals involved in urban planning, tourism and development along the Code River).

The second fieldtrip was on rural development, and it was conducted at Desa Wisata Nglanggeran, a community-based sustainable tourism area in the Gunung Kidul Regency. We talked with the sustainable tourism team of Nglanggeran about their efforts in empowering local communities to develop sustainable community-based tourism.

At the end of the first week, the students began their 160 hour virtual professional placements. Our students were hosted by 23 development organisations located in Jakarta, Bogor, Bali, Yogyakarta, and Gresik. The host organisations were Ancora FoundationAngsamerah FoundationAustralia Awards IndonesiaCenter for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS)Center of Reform on Economics (CORE Indonesia)Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF)HIVOSKeanekaragaman Hayati Indonesia (Yayasan KEHATI) / the Indonesian Biodiversity FoundationPlan InternationalThe SMERU Research InstituteTrade and Investment Queensland (TIQ)Yayasan Kesehatan Perempuan (YKP) / Women’s Health FoundationKoalisi Rakyat untuk Kedaulatan Pangan (KRKP)School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP Indonesia)UCP Roda Untuk Kemanusiaan (UCPRUK); Center for Southeast Asian Social Studies (CESASS)/ Pusat Studi Sosial Asia Tenggara (PSSAT) UGM; CfDS – Center for Digital Society UGMMitra Wacana Women Resource Centre (WRC)Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) ; Harapan FianInstitute of International Studies (IIS UGM);  PlastikDetox; and Yayasan Kajian Ekologi dan Konservasi Lahan Basah /Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON).

The virtual professional practicum programs concluded in the second week of February 2021. Despite the new challenges we faced in hosting 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 sector, and extend thanks to our fantastic host organisations.