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Business Professional Practicum

Mitch Fernando was a participant in the 2019 Business Professional Practicum from Curtin University. Mitch is studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Event Management and Public Relations. Mitch received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support his participation in this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Business Professional Practicum?

I had always wanted to study abroad and the ACICIS practicum was really attractive for a number of reasons: it was super organised, had great reviews, I knew people that had already done it (and loved it) and I’d always wanted to go to Indonesia. It seemed like a very good balance of language classes/seminars and an internship. This allowed me to develop skills specific to Indonesia but also academic and professional skills at the same time.

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

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant helped me a lot and I’m not sure I would have gone without this grant. It changed a maybe into a definite yes, it helped me feel comfortable financially and confident the choice was the right one.

Q: How will the Business Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?

It opened my eyes up to how business is done internationally. Having reflected on my experience in Indonesia, I can compare that to my experiences in Australia and it enables me to bring a new perspective to the workplace. I worked with a diverse range of people and this also challenged my own preconceptions and boundaries, having to work with people I’d never met and who were very different from me.

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

I interned with the Australian Mining Chamber of Indonesia. My role was in public relations/marketing (I was the only person in this field at the organisation) and my responsibilities were to create and update promotional material for the organisation, research potential Australian mining companies who may be interested in doing business in Indonesia, create videos for the website and plan an event (a webinar).

Q: How did you find the work culture of your host organisation? How was it different to work experience in Australia?

My host organisation was a typical Indonesian one. I experienced jam karet (rubber time, which means time is flexible i.e. coming to meetings late is normal), language barriers and typical Indonesian etiquette such as your boss (mentor) taking you out for lunch and paying. In my role, I was left to be autonomous and meet deadlines, I checked in with my mentor over WhatsApp often but would control my work for the most part. In Australia, my experience so far is that there are much higher expectations,and sometimes it feels like you are working for free rather than interning.

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

I would certainly return to Indonesia to work, the people were amazing, the place is beautiful and there are many perks to living in Indonesia.

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

In my spare time, I often polished my language skills, went swimming, read books, explored and found new foods/items and hung out with friends. I think the biggest way I spent my spare time (on weekends) was travelling with friends. For me this was the most valuable part of the program as I got to go off the beaten track and experience the more rural areas of Indonesia.

Q: Favourite Indonesian food?

Golden Lamian’s fried chicken noodles were amazing but Pagi Sore (a Padang restaurant) was the best. Can’t beat a good beef rendang.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

“Tolong, tidak sambal”

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

The places I visited in Indonesia were: Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bali and Bandung.