New Colombo Plan - Connect to Australia’s future - study in the region.

Virtual Law Professional Practicum

Rafia Islam was a participant in the 2021 Virtual Law Professional Practicum. Rafia is studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Law at University of New South Wales. Rafia received a $3000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support her participation on this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?

I decided to join the ACICIS Virtual Internship because I thought it would be a wonderful way to finish off my last year at university. The Practicum really appealed to me because it was an opportunity to challenge myself and learn new things beyond what is taught in my degree. I loved that the program blended language classes, seminars, and the internship at the host organisation, as one holistic experience.


Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative? If yes, why?

I did receive the NCP Grant for participating in the Practicum and I am so grateful that this initiative was available because it gave me and other students the financial support to go on this incredible learning experience. I often believe many students including myself may decide not to participate in certain programs due to financial burden, the NCP initiative is great for giving students that support to take on new opportunities.

Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?

The language classes, seminars and tutorials were really interesting, and I learned so many different things during that intensive period of the program. Every morning in the language classes, I learned new words and phrases and in the afternoon during the seminar and tutorials I would learn new things about the Indonesian legal system and it’s history.

Q: What organisation did you intern with? 

I interned with MHP Law Office which is a law firm based in Jakarta and specialises in a number of different service areas. My main tasks were undertaking in-depth research into different legal issues and presenting my findings to the Associates in the firm. I was able to learn about many areas of both Australian and Indonesian law and look into interesting case law in those areas.

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 with my HO was quite unique and the tasks I conducted were self-paced and required more independent working. In my workplace in Australia, I experience more collaboration with my team when it comes to completing certain tasks or projects. Although this was definitely driven by the online setting!

Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?

During my virtual internship I developed a number of technical legal skills and soft skills which I will take with me into the future. I developed a high competency in legal research and analysis skills which I know will benefit me both in my current degree and in my future workplace. I was also able to gain greater communication, time-management and presentation skills which are important in any professional setting,

Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?

The most rewarding part of the program for me was being able to learn a new language and immerse myself in a new culture. This is something I’ve always wanted to do however didn’t have the time or opportunity to do so. The program allowed me to push myself outside my comfort zone and become more culturally aware of Indonesian practices and become familiar with the dialogue. While I’m still a beginner in Bahasa Indonesia, I am now excited to continue my learning. I also have a collection of words and phrases I can use when I’m travelling in Indonesia once the borders open!

Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?

I was able to learn about the Indonesian culture, through the language classes and seminars. At the end of some of our language classes, our teach Ibu Fitri would introduce us to different food, places to visit and even teach us about the diverse Native Indonesian groups that live in different regions of the country.

Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your future career?

The virtual internship gave me a steppingstone into my legal career, and I know that I will always remember and reflect on my time with MHP Law Office. I believe my virtual internship helped me gain several technical skills that I will built on into the future. My experience with the HO and participation in the overall program was so unique, that I believe it will definitely be a talking point for future opportunities I take on and an interesting experience that I can share with colleagues and employers.

Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?

I would definitely recommend the virtual program to my friends and anyone else who’s interested in learning about a new culture and gaining an incredible experience to add to their time in university. I’d recommend students, no matter which degree they are doing, to take a chance on this opportunity!

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

saya suka minum kopi.

Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:

Exciting, Eye-opening, Memorable