Maise Cunningham is a participant in the 2019 Journalism Professional Practicum from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Maise is studying a Bachelor of Journalism. 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?
Having previously travelled to South Africa on a university-based internship, I knew just how valuable overseas study programs were – not only for my degree and career aspirations but, most importantly, for my personal development. I relished the opportunity to transition my studies from an Australian classroom to the sprawling city of Jakarta.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
I sure did and thank goodness for that! Like many students, I wouldn’t have been in the position to afford the invaluable experience ACICIS provided without the financial assistance of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant. In no uncertain terms, the grant was the reason I was able to enjoy the opportunity.
Q: How will the Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?
I strongly believe travel, of any type, contributes to a person’s character. Beyond shaping my sense of self and my world view, the practical experience of working in a foreign news outlet developed my journalism skills, contributed to my cross-cultural knowledge and fostered both professional and personal relationships.
Q: What organisation did you intern with? (Explain your roles and responsibilities)
I worked alongside the multimedia team of Jakarta Globe, an online news company. During my time there, the Globe’s sister magazine GlobeAsia was compiling profiles for their “99 Most Influential Women” campaign and wanted video footage to release alongside their written pieces. I was deemed a “production assistant”, which entailed filming, transcribing and scripting over 30 short videos across three weeks. On a number of occasions, I was also called on to conduct some interviews of my own. While this project formed the majority of my work, the occasional side task did arise, which saw me interact with all matters of people, from diplomats to whiskey collectors!
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
Throughout our internship, we were encouraged to reflect on the cultural differences between Australian and Indonesian workplaces, but I much prefer to highlight the similarities. Indonesia is one of our closest neighbours and beyond the slight differences in approach (which vary from workplace to workplace, anyway), the central values of journalism were common. I felt very much at home and at ease among my Indonesian counterparts.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?
As much as I fell in love with Jakarta, each week I excitedly waited for the weekend retreats I had organised to neighbouring regions. If Jakarta-bound, however, I enjoyed wandering the streets aimlessly and observing the city away from the tourist hotspots, as well as socialising with new friends.
Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?
Work? Potentially. Visit? Without a doubt! There are so many pockets of the world I would like to visit, but returning to Indonesia would certainly make the list.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
Da da! Da da is an informal way to say “goodbye” so locals didn’t expect a bule (foreigner) to know the phrase. It simultaneously elicited giggles and a certain amount of respect with each use.
Q: Favourite place to eat? Favourite Indonesian food?
I didn’t come to call any one eatery my “favourite”, but the Indonesian food I rate the highest has to be gado-gado. Peanut sauce with literally anything (in this case, fresh vegies and tofu)? Yes please!
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?
Aside from Jakarta, I explored motorbike tracks and waterfalls in Bogor, organic farmlands in Bandung and seaside eco retreats on Pulau Macan, Thousand Islands. I would highly recommend all three destinations and have my sights set on Yogyakarta for next time.