New Colombo Plan - Connect to Australia’s future - study in the region.

Virtual Law Professional Practicum

Haris Aziz was a participant in the 2021 Virtual Law Professional Practicum. Haris is studying a Bachelor of Security Studies with the degree of Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University. Haris received a $3000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support his participation on this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?

I have always been interested in the Asia-Pacific region and have tried to gain as much exposure to the region as possible. I decided upon the virtual program, due to the fact that I knew this sort of experience would be unrivalled, it isn’t just an internship, the virtual program also includes language classes as well as a deep dive into the Indonesian legal system and institutions. The ACICIS program, even virtually, is so useful for people who want to gain professional experience as well exposure to the Indonesian legal system.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative? 

Yes, I did benefit from an NCP mobility grant, the NCP is a very important program, not only does it offer Australian students the ability to study abroad, but it also enables Australian Students to make relationships with people from the wider Indo-Pacific region and to learn cross-cultural skills. Considering the importance of the region and the economic powerhouse of the Asia-Pacific region and role it’ll play in Australia’s future; future leaders must understand the region and those who live in it. The NCP facilitates this transfer of ideas and skills at a university level.

Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?

The language classes and seminar components of the ACICIS virtual program are of the highest standard. The language classes alone have given me a beginner understanding of Bahasa Indonesia, I started understanding nothing, and now I believe I have a basic handle of the language, I am hoping to continue learning the language in the future.

The Seminars, were very well run and covered a variety of topics from introducing us to Indonesia to doing deep dives on topical matters like the Omnibus Law and the role of media in Indonesian societies. The seminars were also valuable as we were Australian students learning the Common Law, however Indonesia follows the Civil Law, as well having an addition of religious law, so the Seminars were very useful is teaching us all about Indonesia’s legal environment. The speakers chosen by ACICIS were all very knowledgeable but also very willing to discuss the matters with students, they were open to listening and debating certain issues with us.

Q: What organisation are you interning with? 

I had the opportunity to intern with the Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM), or the Investment Coordinating Board. Its primary role is to formulate and enforce government policy in regards to Investment in Indonesia, due to us being Australian students many of the tasks were in regards to Australia and Indonesia Foreign Direct Investment frameworks. We, as interns, would research the matter and then create a presentation, comparison matrix as well as a companion report and then present to the supervisor and team and discuss the particulars of the research. There were three main projects:

  • Comparison of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board framework with the BKPM Negative Investment List to compare how the two countries limit foreign investment.
  • Comparison of the Ease of Doing Business Reports for Indonesia and Australia and suggesting how the EODB rankings could be improved.
  • Analysis and presentation on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and how Australia is using this agreement to invest in the education sector of Indonesia.

Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?

I have had friends who completed the program in country last year, and despite this being a virtual program, the warm and welcoming nature of the workplaces still existed. The Indonesian supervisors and host organisation were happy to help and direct us and worked collaboratively with us. During the first week, my supervisor said to us, “we will learn from each other over the next 5 weeks,” and now that the program is done, I believe wholeheartedly that we have learnt from each other. I learnt a lot about Indonesia’s foreign investment framework as well as Australia’s foreign investment framework among other things.

The Indonesian workplace is slightly different to the Australian workplace, early on we were put into a WhatsApp group and were told that if we ever had any questions or issues, we could message the group, regardless of time. This sort of commitment was also seen in our last presentation, it was on the last day of the program which happened to be the Lunar New Year, and yet we still presented even though our host organisation was closed that day.

Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?

  • Research analysis skills
  • Presentation Skills
  • Cross-cultural understanding
  • Understanding of Indonesia’s legal system

Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?

The relationships gained through this program were probably the most rewarding part of this experience, the ability to listen and learn from others with a different perspective have allowed me to further understand Indonesia and myself. These relationships range from those employed by my Host Organisation, the ACICIS staff and other students. I hope to one day visit Indonesia and meet everyone in person.

Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?

Indonesian culture is exceptionally warm and welcoming and often are willing to talk about anything if that be professional matters or personal matters. It is honestly a very interesting culture made up of many people and beliefs, there is definitely strength in the diversity of Indonesia. Most of our understanding of Indonesia culture came from the Seminars on Indonesia, however the best insight into Indonesian culture is by meeting Indonesians.

Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your future career?

I believe this virtual internship will greatly benefit and influence my future Career, not only has it allowed me to gain vital professional experience in the legal sector and allowed me to work in an investment law sector but it has also allowed me to experience a workplace outside Australia. In regards to the future, it has exposed me to the possibility of working abroad and this internship has driven me to want to work abroad and gain further experience in Indonesia and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?

I would absolutely recommend this program to my friends, it was a great experience and did not only allow me to gain some professional development but also personal development.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Terima Kasih, saying thanks in a very useful phrase regardless, if it’s in class or during the internship.

Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:

Exciting, Valuable, Baik.