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Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum

Madeleine Merzvinskis is a participant in the 2019 Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum from the Swinburne University of Technology. Madeleine is studying a Bachelor of Design with Honours in Communication Design. Madeleine received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum?

I knew that I wanted to gain some international experience whilst studying, and for that to also double as work experience in the industry.  ACICIS offered just that and it was too good to knock back. I thought that the CADPP program sounded very well-rounded, covering aspects like Indonesian language, culture and gave lots of insights into the thriving creative arts scene. I was also interested in learning more about Indonesia and its culture, having travelled to (and fallen in love with) South East Asia in the past.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?

Receiving a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant meant that I was able to make the most of my experience and explore all of the wonderful things that Indonesia has to offer. It also connected me with other NCP students, expanding and strengthening the network I was making in Indonesia.

Q: How will the Creative Arts & Design Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?

Whilst completing the Professional Practicum, I gained a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be in a professional workplace and how to work in a collaborative environment. Throughout my internship, I reflected on the challenges and obstacles I was facing by working in a new and culturally different environment and how I could overcome them. In doing so, I learnt a lot about myself in both a personal and professional sense. These experiences will undoubtedly be beneficial going out into the industry in the future, as I have strengthened my ability to be adaptable and my confidence in tackling unfamiliar or challenging situations.

 Q: Which organisation did you intern with? What were your roles and responsibilities?

I interned with Dagadu Djokdja, an iconic ‘souvenir shop’ in Yogyakarta. I was welcomed into the team within the In-House Creative Unit and tasked with creating a t-shirt design that showcased an aspect of Yogyakarta that interested me. Through this project, I explored the local mythologies and legends, which were such a fascinating and significant part of Javanese culture, and how to depict these stories visually in a way that would be appealing to Dagadu’s customers.

Q: How is the work culture of your host organisation different to work experience you have had in Australia?

The workplace culture at Dagadu is unlike anything I have experienced before. It is so relaxed and laidback, but also incredibly vibrant, social and full of life. This offers an amazing environment to express your creativity in, and made it so much easier to fit in and become friends with the team. I can’t imagine finding a workplace in Australia that is as much fun as Dagadu.

Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?

Absolutely, I love so many things about Indonesia – the people, food, environment and most of all the culture, both in the workplace and everyday life. I can definitely see my connection to this country continuing in the future.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?

My friends and I loved exploring new places to eat in Yogyakarta, even though we set ourselves the challenge to not eat at the same place twice (some places were too hard to resist, however…). Aside from that, one of my favourite things to do was to just walk around and explore  and take in all of the sights, sounds and smells. I learnt that getting lost was all part of the adventure – and very easy to do in some of Yogyakarta’s small winding streets, especially whilst trying to find the entrance to the Palace!!

Q: Favourite place to eat and favourite Indonesian food?

A small warung only a few minutes’ walk from my workplace sold what I’m sure is the best lotek and gado gado in Yogyakarta. Many a lunch break was spent walking down there with my co-workers and enjoying a filling, flavoursome and super cheap meal.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

My co-workers at Dagadu would frequently give me traditional snacks to try, and saying “enak!!” after tasting them would always result in a big cheer and laugh. After learning about “nongkrong” during our academic seminars, it also seemed to become a popular and much-used part of our vocabulary.

Q. What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?

During the academic program in Jakarta I had the opportunity to stay overnight in a village in Baduy. Whilst in Yogyakarta I’ve done some sightseeing at Gereja Ayam, Borobudur and Prambanan Temples – all of which are magnificent in their own right.