Jason Valusaga was a participant in the 2018 Business Professional Practicum from The University of the Sunshine Coast. Jason is studying a Bachelor of Business Honours majoring in International Business. Jason received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support his participation in this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Business Professional Practicum?
I decided to join the ACICIS practicum for two main reasons:
- I wanted to learn more about our closest neighbours – food, culture, lifestyle, government policies, education, employment, etc. Too often we forget that geographically, Indonesia is much closer to Australia than New Zealand is. This is a common misconception by Australians and there are many underlying factors here. Like many of the other University students who joined the ACICIS program, I wanted firsthand experience and didn’t want to rely on what people back home were telling me – which I have now learned is mostly an incorrect and incomplete portrayal of Indonesia.
- I wanted to conduct case study research in Indonesia towards my thesis. This was an awesome opportunity and it presented itself at the perfect time.
Q: How will the Business Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?
Securing a placement with Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ) Indonesia was perfect! I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with. International trade and business is the industry I hope to work in for my future career, so to be surrounded by professionals in this field who have decades of experience between them, all in different sectors, was invaluable. I learned a tonne about all of the background work and effort that goes into strengthening business between our countries, which most people never see – it’s something you can’t learn in a textbook or a University lecture, you have to be there experiencing it.
Q: Which organisation did you intern with? What were your responsibilities?
I interned at TIQ Indonesia. My role was mainly research based, focusing on two sectors: Agriculture and Education & Training. I spent 2 weeks working for each sector, which gave me the opportunity to learn more about the industry rather than just one small aspect of it. I was also lucky enough to be invited to join in on meetings with various stakeholders, which provided me with more insight into the type of negotiations, planning, and teamwork needed to better support business and investment between Indonesia and Queensland and Australia.
Q: How did you find the work culture of your host organisation? How was it different to work experience in Australia?
The work culture in Indonesia is very friendly and can be seen as very laid back compared to Australia. Lunch breaks are always a social event and everyone has lunch together around the boardroom table. I enjoyed the laughs and the stories shared. Don’t be surprised if lunch goes for and hour or a little longer some days. It was awesome getting to know everyone. I was asked several questions about Australia and life back home and had the opportunity to ask many questions about Indonesian culture and things to do and see.
Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?
Yes, definitely. I plan on returning in a few years to see how much the infrastructure has changed. There are currently many plans in the pipeline for improvements and it will be interesting to see them come into fruition.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?
I’m all about the food. OMG Indonesian food is the best! Just remember, the scale of spicy here is a totally different scale to back home in Australia. What is mild here could be extremely hot back home – I learned the hard way.
The best thing to do here is go to the mall. There are a tonne of shopping malls everywhere, especially in Jakarta, and these malls aren’t small either. All of them are massive. I enjoyed meeting up with friends from the ACICIS program, catching a movie, and grabbing a bite to eat. A must do is: GO-Food and GO-Ride. Use the GO-JEK app – it’s awesome!
Q: Favourite Indonesian food?
I went to the same warung in BenHil almost every afternoon after work. I became good mates with the owner and it was a great way to practice my Bahasa Indonesia. My favourite place to eat is a place called, Sedrehana. They make Padang food and rendang – it’s amazing. When I was feeling lazy, I’d just use GO-Food.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
Some of my favourite phrases here are:
- “Mau ke” = I want to go to
- “Jam karet” = Rubber time
- “Macet” = Traffic
- “Berapa?” = How much? or How many?
- “Ada diskon?” = Discount?
- “Terima kasih” = Thank you
- “… Di mana?” = … Where?
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?
I saw as much of Jakarta as possible and also flew to Bali with a group of friends where we went white water rafting and ate at some cool places like Motel Mexicola. I also visited Yogyakarta with friends, which is really an awesome place if you want to get out of the busy city for a bit.