Jerome Cant was a participant on the 2021 Virtual Business Professional Practicum. Jerome is studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University. Jerome received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support his participation in this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I had always wanted to challenge myself by studying abroad and stepping outside of my comfort zone. However, with Covid-19 affecting the world, that aspiration to travel and learn overseas became near impossible. When I found out about the ACICIS virtual internship program I leaped at the opportunity as it would set myself a part from the rest and enhance my employability.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
Initiatives such as the New Colombo Plan are extremely important for students as it presents them with an opportunity to undertake cross-cultural programs. I was very fortunate to receive this grant as it was comforting to be able to experience and learn about another culture without the worry of any financial burdens. The initiative demonstrates the tremendous support that our Australian Government has towards programs such as the ACICIS program and brings us one step closer to strengthening Indo-Pacific ties with Indonesia-Australia.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
The wealth of knowledge that I had gained from the daily seminars surrounding the Indonesian culture, its history, as well as its current economic climate surpassed my expectations. These classes educated me on current economic issues and provided me with new perspectives and frameworks on topics such as Indonesia’s Omnibus law, the emerging digital & creative markets within its economy, and offered me advice in recruitment/HR. I found it very rewarding to be given the opportunity to listen to well-renowned speakers that were experts in their respective fields and hear about their invaluable insights on the Indonesian economy.
The other academic component included in the program were the early morning language classes offered by Atma Jaya University. I must admit, it was rather challenging having to practice each day (I even utilised some of my weekends if I felt like I was falling behind). However, it was a fulfilling experience to be able to learn a completely new language in such a short period of time.
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
I interned with Fischer and Partners Recruitment based in Jakarta. My core task during my placement was to assist the company in achieving and maintaining multiple cross-cultural relationships with clients within the Indo-Pacific region. The organisations objective was to penetrate these markets so that they could hopefully grow their client-base and ultimately become a global recruitment firm. As a Client Relations Intern, I discovered how invaluable it was for recruitment firms such as Fischer and Partners to maintain and build upon these relationships as it strengthens the company’s opportunities to grow and positions the organisation to have a competitive edge within the recruitment market. One of the key approaches which I implemented in my search for likely candidates was mainly towards Australian companies within the Indonesian economy. I felt that focussing on companies that were familiar to me would play to my strengths as I would have far superior market knowledge.
Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
The experience that I had with my host organisation was such a memorable one. Even though the internship was delivered online, I was still able to distinguish the lively and friendly work culture that they effortlessly displayed. I was welcomed to the organisation with open arms as if I were one of their own. My superiors, Ibu Gail, Ibu Ayu, and Ibu Erin hosted an online Zoom Party one Friday afternoon to celebrate Chinese New Year and to also introduce myself and Youseng (another intern from the program) to the other employees at the company. We played a few fun interactive games/icebreakers, one of which I was asked to conduct. Since I had learnt so much about their culture, I would return the favour and introduce them to my Australian culture in the form of a fun quiz about common phrases of “Aussie Slang”. They all seemed to really enjoy the quiz and that was reflected through there ability to have a fun time in a work setting. On the very last day of the internship, they surprised me by delivering a food platter (from a nearby Indonesian restaurant in Perth) as well as a farewell card with messages from all the team at F&P. I am truly grateful for such a rewarding and pleasant experience, something I will never forget.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
I have learnt how to be more efficient with my time, being able to think critically by applying the cultural knowledge gained from the ACICIS classes and adapting to the challenge of working from home and interacting through virtual means.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
I would say that the most rewarding part of this experience was meeting new friends and having the ability to build on these relationships in the future.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
Absolutely! Overall, the program taught me so much about Indonesian culture. At Fischer and Partners, I was able to work alongside people that were native to Indonesia. From working with these people, I got to get a glimpse of how friendly and selfless Indonesians can be. An example that comes to mind was when I told an employee at the company, Erin, that I was struggling with learning the Indonesian language and I was worried that I might fail the language test. She then offered to help me over the weeks and by the end of it I was very confident with the way I performed in the final test.
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your career?
The host organisation that I worked with was in the exact industry that I strive to be in. I have gained vast experience by working remotely as a team that was in an entirely different time zone and had a completely different culture. I hope that this holistic experience will differentiate myself as a graduate for my future employers.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
Of course! The ACICIS team have clearly worked very hard in putting this program together and I am incredibly appreciative for that.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Challenging, Interactive, Rewarding.