Kaela Calimbayan was a participant in the 2020 Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum from RMIT University. Kaela is studying a Bachelor of Environment and Society. Kaela received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake this ACICIS Professional Practicum?
Being given the opportunity to visit Bali through the context of studying was an exciting concept for me, as I never thought I’d ever visit Bali as a tourist. Being able to learn about different cultures and learning languages is also something I really value in my personal development, so I couldn’t think of a more perfect opportunity when I heard about the Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum! Tourism is an extremely important issue globally, so I found it important to see and learn about how Australia’s neighbour deals with the immensity of it. I also value the numerous opportunities that university offers to you, and really wanted to take advantage of this. I think I made a great decision!
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
Yes, I was granted a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant of $3000. This financially helped me immensely leading up to my arrival in Bali. Knowing that I had the encouragement from this initiative to study in my neighbouring country made me a lot more motivated to take up this opportunity, and definitely alleviated a lot of the financial costs involved with the program. Even without the Grant, the STPP is definitely worth it – I have gotten to see Bali in a whole different light and learn from so many incredible, like-minded people!
Q: How will the Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?
This program definitely helped me develop important skills that I can apply to everyday life and any field I go into in the future. Since you are working and learning in a country with a completely different culture and way of life, I’ve been able to enhance my cross-cultural communication skills and cultural intelligence, and fine-tune these skills over the weeks.
Given that, as a part of the STPP you have to undertake Bahasa Indonesia language classes, I’ve also been able to learn the important conversational aspects of the Indonesian language! I am definitely grateful for this skill, as I find it important to be able to communicate with other people and avoid language barriers.
As I mentioned, you are working in a country that differs greatly to Australia in terms of work life and attitude. With this being said, this program relies on your initiative and consistent work ethic to ensure you get the most out of your placement, given that you are placed in a country with a predominantly ‘relaxed’ work culture. However, having Bali as my classroom for 6 weeks has already taught me so much in a different way that you would get in a tutorial classroom. The hands-on learning you get through the STPP has given me the chance to develop all these skills and retain the knowledge I’ve gained, which will definitely be useful in my future career!
Q: Which organisation are you interning with? What are your roles and responsibilities?
My internship has taken place in North Bali’s Munduk village, at Puri Lumbung Eco-Cottages. This internship experience for me is extremely flexible, as I’ve been able to tailor my roles and responsibilities around my skillset, and what I can ultimately offer to Puri Lumbung. I have also been able to learn deeply about Indonesia’s ‘Tri Hita Karana’ belief system through this internship, and how this is central to Balinese culture and also Indonesia’s relationship with sustainable tourism.
Learning about Indonesian culture has been just as enriching as my role here as an English teacher, and an all-rounder assistant at Puri Lumbung’s restaurant. As an English teacher, I was responsible for creating adequate and efficient content for Puri Lumbung staff to learn, and tailoring lesson content to their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, I had to ensure I was engaging to them so that my teaching could make a lasting impact. In the restaurant, I helped with English translations where I could, and also with daily Front of House tasks that occur in any Hospitality scene.
I personally love to teach, and I work in the Hospitality industry at home in Australia – therefore, it was a perfect fit for me to be able to educate the Puri Lumbung staff on Western culture and develop their English language skills, and be a helping hand around the restaurant’s Front of House when they needed a little extra help.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
Working in Indonesia’s quieter side definitely has its differences to work life in Australia. However, getting to familiarise myself over the weeks so far has also shown many similarities. Diligence, hard work and consistency definitely does not fall short in the work culture here. The staff are talented in their fields, and I have truly found them as role models.
The concept of time here is definitely the greatest difference in terms of workplace culture, where I guess everything feels a bit slower, and time is not a strict guideline to be followed. But, this definitely doesn’t impact workplace flow here!
Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?
Absolutely! Being able to develop my cultural intelligence and Bahasa Indonesian skills is definitely a motivating factor to come back to Indonesia one day. The STPP has definitely opened up many doors for me, and introduced me to heaps of opportunities. Learning Bahasa Indonesia, as well as hearing the experiences and stories from speakers in the seminars, has definitely shown how much support is offered to work and learn in Indonesia, and how exciting it can be no matter what your disciplinary backgrounds are. I’ve already reaped many rewards from being in this program so far, so I can’t imagine what would come if I were to return!
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?
The STPP has definitely been jam-packed with learning, but spare time has definitely been generous! After class at Udayana University I enjoyed grabbing dinner with my friends, going to the mall and markets in Kuta, and honestly, I loved just relaxing in my guesthouse, watching Netflix (Indonesia has the American version!) and ordering GrabFood – think super duper cheap Uber Eats for literally anything you want.
When I haven’t been busy during my internship, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the familiar faces around Puri Lumbung and making friendships I can treasure with them. We’ve also been given weekends free for our internship, so I enjoyed a weekend away in Seminyak meeting up with friends interning at different locations! There is an endless amount of things to do and see in Bali, so definitely take advantage of that.
Q: Favourite place to eat? Favourite Indonesian food?
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you my favourite place to eat – Indonesia offers so many wonderful delicacies and there are plenty of great warungs (restaurants) and cafes. A few recommendations are:
Fat Chow Temple Hill in Jimbaran is right around the corner from Udayana University. It’s situated on a hill, so you can see a nice panoramic view as you eat. It has a great Asian-food menu with plenty of options, and is pretty cheap! I’d gather a few friends and have a nice lunch or dinner there.
When you have spare time on weekends or if you ever find yourself in Canggu, you must visit Crate Café! I’m talking huge, very generous servings of your favourite breakfast/brunch dishes for no more than $6AUD! (Look up the place on Instagram – it’s definitely worth the visit).
As for my favourite Indonesian food, it’s definitely Nasi Goreng! I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered this on GrabFood.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
‘Bagus sekali!’ means ‘Very good!’. It’s just a handy phrase to pump the mood for anything.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit plenty of beautiful places so far. In and around Munduk village, I’ve been trekking to many waterfalls, and the gorgeous Lake Tamblingan. The quieter side of Bali definitely has its scenic perks!
Given that studies took place at Udayana University, I’ve gotten familiar with Jimbaran, its surrounding beaches and great restaurants (which there are plenty of)! Seminyak and Canggu are also great weekend hangout places to relax and have fun, I’d suggest Petitenget beach if you want to soak up some sun.