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

Virtual Law Professional Practicum

Joshua Devonshire was a participant in the 2022 Virtual Law Professional Practicum. Joshua is studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Law at Monash University. Joshua 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 would never pass up an opportunity to gain practical experience in a new environment! I am interested in pursuing a career in commercial law and Indonesia will be of increasing importance to Australia’s business community in the coming years. I knew the program would be a great way to learn about Indonesia and have something unique on my resume.

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

I did receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant. This initiative is important to ensure access to the program. The program fees are high and since the program is five days per week, it may cause some participants to reduce work hours. NCP is a brilliant initiative that certainly incentivised me to undertake the program.

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

The academic components were brilliant. The workload is heavy but manageable if you work consistently. The more effort you put into preparing for seminars and language classes the greater the reward you receive.

I had not learnt any Indonesian prior to the program. I would recommend doing some pre-study if you are in this position. The language classes provide excellent cultural insights that you cannot achieve with the readings or internship meetings alone.  The staff are supportive and it is surprising just how much I learnt by the end of the program.

Q: What organisation did you intern with? 

I interned with the corporate law firm Muhtar Halim & Partners (MHP). I was given two tasks for the program. The first was to write an article on the intersection between Australian Constitutional Law and pandemic restrictions. The second task was to create a two-part presentation on how Australia has regulated cryptocurrency. My mentor, Pak Dzulyan, was very nice. He always responded to my queries and the tasks he set were very enjoyable.

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

In many ways, the work culture was similar to Australia. I am used to my managers giving me a lot of freedom to complete work. This is good because it shows that my host-organisation trusted me to work to a high standard without much intervention. There were strict deadlines and a sense of formality when I did my presentation, which is similar to Australia.

The culture felt more laid-back. It is common for staff members to arrive late to meetings. My advice is to move with your host-organisation. Identify the work culture and stick with it.

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

Self-direction; the host organisation did not know the Australian law that I presented on. I needed to ensure that I was thorough in my explanations and that my research was accurate.

Cross-cultural competence; whilst there are many similarities between Indonesian and Australian culture one must be aware of the subtle differences. This program allowed me to develop techniques to identify differences in how Indonesians and Australians approach work and adapt my behaviour to suit the host-organisation.

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

The most rewarding part was presenting to my host-organisation. The staff asked me many questions. They seemed so engaged and it felt rewarding that they were genuinely interested in the work I produced.

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

The diversity of materials and cultural exchange opportunities really helped me learn Indonesian culture. It was good that the program did not just stick with one method rather provided many materials such as, virtual excursions, language classes, readings and guest speakers. It is important to go beyond the materials and ask the guest speakers questions because they have so much useful insight.

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

It will make me more willing to do things beyond my comfort zone. I never thought I would do a virtual internship in a foreign country. I am so grateful I took it on because it has given me the confidence to seek out other unique opportunities. If in future I can work abroad, I will certainly do so.

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

I would recommend this program to my friends. It is definitely worthwhile because it has a good combination of theoretical learning and practical activities. If you are interested in learning about Indonesia and international law the program will definitely suit you.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Kucing (pronounce the ‘c’ like ‘ch’) it means cat and it is such a beautiful word.

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

Informative, challenging, rewarding