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

Virtual Journalism Professional Practicum

Laura Adolphus was a participant on the 2021 Virtual Journalism Professional Practicum. Laura is studying a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Western Australia. She received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?

I had always wanted to study overseas but with Covid-19, my plans for an exchange year were cancelled. I was looking at other options when I came across the ACICIS program. I liked the idea of multiple aspects of the program; academic, language and work experience all rolled into one immersive, cultural experience.

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

The NCP is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates on experiences such as the Virtual Professional Practica.

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

The academic side has been fascinating. With the ACICIS program being online this year, the academic component has become an integral way of learning about Indonesian heritage and culture. The language component too has bridged the gap between not being in Indonesia but still experiencing Indonesian culture. I’ve loved the language classes too, they’ve been so much fun because of our great teacher, Ibu Theresia.

Q: What organisation did you intern with? 

I worked with the Centre of Reform on Economics, CORE. Which is a Jakarta based Think Tank specialising in socio-economic research. Initially, I was nervous as I don’t have a background in economics, my background is in marketing. My project was to research the effects of Financial Technologies (FinTech) on small enterprises in Indonesia, with a focus on small enterprises trading on Super-App platforms Gojek and Grab and eCommerce site Tokopeadia. I was responsible for secondary data collection and analysis in order to create a report explaining my findings at the end of the program.

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

The work culture has been hard to gauge online as you’re not sitting directly near to your co-workers. However, I’ve found the work culture online to be authentic and relaxed. I’ve had a lot of autonomy with my research but have been able to develop a good working relationship with my colleagues too.

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

I’ve definitely developed my research and presenting information skills through my work with CORE. Taking part in the program has also greatly developed my ability to work remotely with a team in a different time zone. I know this is a skill which will be highly valuable in future workplaces.

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

I have been able to learn a lot about Indonesian culture and I think this has come from all aspects of the program but for different reasons. With CORE, I’ve gained direct knowledge of the work culture and the FinTech landscape in Indonesia, through the academic element I’ve gained first-hand knowledge about Indonesia culture from a variety of thought provoking speakers. The language component has helped me develop my knowledge of the Indonesia language. I’m just looking forward to visiting to be able to test out my new language skills!!

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

The role of FinTech in eCommerce is one I had vastly overlooked given the industry I work in. FinTech plays an important role in ecommerce checkout conversion rates. As a result of the program, I’m learning more about FinTechs role in eCommerce and how digital wallets are changing the future of web based stores checkouts. I’ve also gained valuable insight into working with a remote team in a different time zone with a very different work culture – this is a skill which will be highly valuable in the future of online work.

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

I would highly recommend this program to a friend or fellow student.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase: 

Apa Kabar? – I love the way it sounds.

Q: Describe your experience of this program in three words: 

Authentic, Immersive and Rewarding