Marko Younan was a participant in the 2021 Virtual Agriculture Professional Practicum. Marko is a Bachelor of Agriculture student from The University of Melbourne. Marko received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support his participation in this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS virtual internship program?
I wanted to further my knowledge in my area of study. As we are becoming more globalised, I feel like it was very important for me to understand those countries around me. It was so insightful to be able to study about a country that is so different, yet so close to where I call home. It’s so important to become a global learner.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
I did receive the New Colombo Mobility Grant. I think the NCP is extremely important as it makes learning much more accessible. For many, finances may turn people away from such a good opportunity. I believe that the NCP makes opportunities like this much more accessible to everyone. It gives opportunity to all and helps shape futures by creating global learners.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program?
I found them very educational and very eye opening. The language classes showed me new ways of communication and made me realise how beautiful the language really is. It has got me interested in wanting to learn more about the culture. The seminars were amazing. It showed me just how many different perspectives there can be on one topic. The academic components taught me a lot about culture and contemporary issues in Indonesia and the world.
Q: Which organisation did you intern with?
I was interning with Mitra Sejahtera Membangun Bangsa (MSMB). My roles and responsibilities included beta app testing, compiling data on soils across Indonesia, interviewing farmers and livestock breeders, as well as identifying diseases on plants. I was able to help in the testing of new apps created by the organisation and also compile new data to make the apps function in different ways. I had the opportunity to interview farmers and breeders that MSMB helps and really identify where their issues in agriculture come from. I was responsible for ensuring all my data was correct and that I was contributing fairly to the organisation.
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 is a lot more laidback in Indonesia. There is this friendliness that everybody seems to have. I felt this extend to me, even while in an online context. In Australia, I feel like the workplace can often be much more fast paced than Indonesia. My host organisation was great in welcoming me into their laidback culture and taught me how to finish my work in such a calm way.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
I have learnt to become adaptable and how to think outside of the box. The virtual internship has taught me many transferable skills that I can use in any workplace. I have learnt to become multi-faceted, understanding, problem solving and efficient.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
The relationships and connections made. These extend beyond the virtual internship. The virtual experience was new, fun, stressful but rewarding. I felt fully integrated into the Indonesian culture and I am more aware of just how special our neighbouring countries really are.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program?
I was able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this program. This was achieved through the language classes, the phrases taught to us and the music played throughout the classes. As much as possible, we were taught about the Indonesian culture. We also had the opportunity to have open sessions where we could just discuss Indonesian pop culture. We also did a very famous TikTok dance to a popular Indonesian song which is something I will always remember.
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your future career?
It has made me want to travel and work overseas. It showed me just how global of a learner I can become and how important it is. I want to take my career overseas and it was ACICIS that showed me this. I want to be able to help solve global issues as well as those back home. It also benefited me in making me aware of how small changes and creations can be so beneficial, and that positive change isn’t hard at all.
Q. Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
I would highly recommend this virtual program to my friends.
Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Q. Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Rewarding, fun, memorable