Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
Undertaking this program was a great way for me to reconnect with Indonesia after I stopped learning Indonesian when I graduated high school. I’ve always been incredibly fascinated by Indonesia and all aspects of Indonesian life, and this program was the perfect way for me to further explore this fascination. The virtual program was also a way for me to experience learning in a foreign country, within the limits of the current COVID-19 circumstances.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
I received an NCP grant for this program. The grant is an extremely important component of the virtual program, as it allows more students to participate in the program. It also removes the financial burden of undertaking extra study and makes the program more accessible.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
Having already acquired some Indonesian language skill, the language classes were a perfect next step in my Indonesian learning journey. The classes built upon my already existing knowledge and challenged me further, in a fun and engaging environment. The seminars were also outstanding, as they gave me a better understanding of the Indonesian business environment and provided insights from experts involved in various industries in Indonesia. They also gave me an adequate understanding of Indonesia’s economy that helped me throughout my internship.
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
I interned at INDEF (Institute for Developing Economics and Finance). My role as a research assistant was to research various topics within Indonesia’s digital economy and write opinion articles, construct policy briefs, or create digital content based on my research. I was also fortunate enough to speak at an online talk on digital banking during my internship.
Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
Despite working remotely at home, I was still able to experience the Indonesian work culture. The helpful and dependable nature of my host organisation was always present. Indonesians are incredibly passionate about their work and were always willing to provide me with feedback or support when I was working on a piece of writing. Something that I found particularly different was that Indonesians apologise for any mistakes, even if there were none, at the end of a presentation, something we tend not to do in Australia.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
My time management skills have improved immensely during this internship, as finding the time to work around uni and my other commitments was very challenging at first. I have learnt how to self-motivate myself when working at home, which can sometimes be a bit of a struggle. Through my internship work and general program participation, my research, presentation, and communication skills have improved dramatically.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
The most rewarding part was making connections with people from all over Indonesia, despite not being able to visit the country. Although I never got to meet anyone involved in the program in person, the relationships I have developed still feel incredibly real.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
I was able to gain an amazing insight into Indonesian culture. Through movies, seminars and guest speakers, I was able to gain a first-hand experience of Indonesia’s diverse and intriguing culture. The interactions you have with so many Indonesians during the program also contributes to learning about Indonesia’s unique culture.
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your career?
The virtual internship has opened many doors for my future career. With solid Indonesian language skills and some professional experience under my belt, I have the foundations to pursue a career in Indonesia. I also have developed the ability to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, a skill that will significantly benefit me in my future career. I have also grown my Indonesian business and economics expertise, something that I’m sure I will draw upon at some point in my future career.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
Provided that they have the time in their schedule to complete the program, I would 100% recommend this program to anyone interested in learning more about Indonesia.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
‘Nongkrong’ meaning hanging out
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Fascinating, engaging and outstanding