Julia James is a private participant in the 2020 Law Professional Practicum from University of Cincinnati.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS practicum?
I choose the ACICIS LPP because of its focus on integrating foreign students in the greater Indonesian legal system. Many study abroad programs are only that, studying, but the ACICIS professional practicums gives students a first hand experience in a foreign work culture. You are able to learn directly from your mentors about operating in the legal sphere, proper work place etiquette, and the fine details of the Indonesian legal framework.
Q: How will the Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?
The LPP showed me all the joys of working in Indonesia. In America, work place culture can be incredibly stressful, with little to no breaks, overwhelming amounts of paperwork, and a generally cold atmosphere amongst coworkers. With my placement in Jakarta, the workplace was anything but. I remember laughing and chatting with my mentors, walking with other coworkers to order ikan goreng at the local warungs, and being comfortable to ask for assistance on my work. This experience encouraged me to look into working in Indonesia in the future, whether it be in the legal sector or with governmental affairs.
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
I interned with the Human Rights Working Group, a coalition of Indonesian NGOs that fight for human rights domestically and internationally, specifically in the Southeast Asia sphere. My job was researching the progress of freedom of religion and beliefs in Southeast Asia. In addition, I helped them prepare for the annual Southeast Asian Freedom of Religion and Belief forum, which this year will be hosted in Indonesia. Working in both a researching and planning capacity allowed me to make the most of my time at HRWG.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in America?
As I stated, I found the work culture at HRWG very relaxed and welcoming. My coworkers felt like friends and we treated each other with respect, but never took each other too seriously. In America, it can sometimes feel as if you are competing with your coworkers. I felt much more comfortable going to work in Jakarta.
Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?
During my spare time, it was a mixture of self care and exploring the city. Massages and cream baths were a common after work treat me and my roommate would indulge in, and on the weekends we would go out on the town and explore the city at night. Jakarta has an amazing nightlife, it’s so much better than nightlife in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio! I also took a weekend trip to Bogor, a town about two hours outside of the city. Its amazing how much lush greenery can be found so close to the concrete jungle of Jakarta.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
“Nggak apapa, Santai aja” Which translates to “Don’t worry, just relax” I can’t count how many times I heard this from my teachers and mentors!
Q: Favourite place to eat? Favourite Indonesian food?
Hmm… Either the small collections of Warungs behind my office, that served some of the best Ikan goreng in the city, or at Sushi Tei, and amazing sushi restaurant that can be found in most of the malls across Jakarta.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?
Musuem Macam, Textile Museum (you can make your own batik here!), Alun-Alun Indonesia (the best place for souvenirs), Bogor, MONAS, nearly every mall, Jakarta Aquarium, and many, many massage parlors.