Noah Abelman was a participant in the 2021 Virtual Law Professional Practicum. Noah is studying a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce at Monash University. Noah received a $3000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support his participation on this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I decided to undertake the ACICIS program because I am fascinated by any opportunity to learn about another nation’s legal and political environment, especially in comparison to Australia’s. In fact, I did not know much at all about Indonesia, and I am thrilled by how much I have learned throughout the program about one of our closest and most important neighbours.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
I was very grateful to receive an NCP grant. I believe the NCP is an important initiative as it is a direct way for the government to invest in the future of our relationships with our close neighbours. Indeed, during this program I poke to students who planned to work in diplomacy and thus saw directly how NCP grants will enrich our diplomatic relations in the future.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
The language classes and seminars were all fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the language classes as I feel this is an excellent way to become connected to a new culture. Further, the seminars provided exactly what I wanted in terms of a detailed briefing on Indonesia’s legal and political history. The seminars that were more closely related to culture, such as the Movie Q&As were also enjoyable.
Q: What organisation are you interning with?
I was interning with Okusi Associates. My main tasks were to research different aspects of the Indonesian commercial regulatory environment each week. This was sometimes purely for my benefit, but I also was able to provide my host organisation with comparisons to Australian law and resources which could be used to explain topics to English-speaking customers.
Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
Unfortunately, I do feel very unequipped to answer this question having only experienced the culture virtually. The social aspect of Indonesian work culture was essentially missing entirely and the more professional aspects were mostly the same as my work experience in Australia. Though, I certainly experienced Indonesians’ jam karet on several occasions.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
As I had hoped, the internship provided me with the opportunity to sharpen many of the skills related to legal research. This includes things such as distilling useful information from long bodies of text and synthesising and presenting that information in a readable form.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
The most rewarding part of this virtual experience was probably the placement aspect. Having so much time to engage in generally undirected research was incredibly rewarding.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
There were plenary sessions that were directed towards Indonesian culture specifically and thus I was able to learn some things about Indonesian culture in an academic way. Further, my language teacher integrated a lot of discussion about Indonesian culture into our classes. However, the virtual program obviously lacked the immersive cultural experience which I’m sure usually adds a great deal of depth to the program.
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your future career?
I am hoping that the virtual internship will have a great benefit to my future career. I believe employers will find some limited international experience with the law quite advantageous. Further, I am committed to continuing by Indonesian language studies and this is sure to create opportunities for me in the future considering Indonesia’s growing importance.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
I would certainly recommend this program to anyone who wishes to learn more about Indonesia or engage in an exercise of comparative law generally.
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
This isn’t a particularly meaningful answer but sama-sama is a fun way to say you’re welcome.
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Fascinating, fun, rewarding