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Law Professional Practicum

Yazan Suleiman is a participant in the 2019 Law Professional Practicum from Macquarie University. Yazan is studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting. Yazan 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 Law Professional Practicum?

Prior to undertaking the Law Professional Practicum in Indonesia, I was involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities. Aside from simply attending University and getting involved in class, I also attended Macquarie University Law Society (MULS) events, volunteered with an organisation which supports asylum seekers (Supporting Asylum Seekers Sydney), and the like. Despite keeping my self busy by engaging in all these activities, I felt too comfortable and so I wanted to challenge myself. This is what pushed me to undertake the ACICIS practicum; I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and learn from this experience. I wanted to add to my current experience when it came to studying law, and what better way to enrich oneself than by travelling to an entirely different country?

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

Yes, I was very grateful to receive it. The entire grant was used to fund most of the ACICIS course costs. It made the possibility of being able to go to Indonesia on this program very real!

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

The experiences I gained by taking the Professional Practicum will be something that I will always look back on. I have already found myself relying on my experiences, both technical and general in nature, to support myself. For example, I have referred to my experiences from the Law Professional Practicum (LPP) when attending various job interviews. I believe the LPP is an amazing way for law students to get their foot in the door in their field of interest, whether that is, for example, humanitarian law or commercial law. It equips you with a lot of technical information related to your field of specialisation.

Moreover, something that I found more beneficial is that it definitely increased my social intelligence. I saw myself engaging and conversing with people with very contrasting views in relation to the law and how it should be applied. As a result, I became better at managing complex social changes and developing greater social-awareness.

Q: Which organisation are you interning with? What are your roles and responsibilities?

I completed my internship with KontraS, the Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence. It is a human rights NGO based in Jakarta.

I actively engaged in needs-based projects and assisted with legal research, legal policy drafting & legal reform reviews on various human rights issues in and around Indonesia. I also undertook international and local comparative law analysis (a comparison between the effectiveness of Indonesia and Australia’s legal system).

An interesting fact about KontraS is that the founder, Munir Said Thalib, was assassinated in 2004 for his anti-corruption work. It is fair to say, he left a long lasting legacy for the promotion of equality and fighting for human rights!

Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?

Initially, I was quite nervous because most of my colleagues seemed timid. This was different to the work culture in Australia where everyone from the outset is “laid back” and more than willing to converse with you. However, after breaking that initial barrier, I felt that everyone became relaxed and we would talk to one another as though we were family. In fact, over the course of the program, we became somewhat of a family and we still communicate frequently despite being in different countries!

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

I would love to work in Indonesia someday, preferably in the field of human rights. In fact, I am currently working on improving my Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian) so that this option is on the table in the future.

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

In my spare time, I really took it upon myself to embrace the Indonesian culture. This included trying out the various Indonesian foods, engaging with all the friendly locals, attending live music events with my Indonesian and Australian friends, and travelling to picturesque places throughout Indonesia such as Gua Jomblang!

Q: Favourite place to eat? Favourite Indonesian food?

I didn’t have a favourite place to eat. Instead, I ate from a different place almost every day! It’s fair to say though, my stomach has gotten a lot stronger since then!

One of my favourite Indonesian dishes is Gudeg, a traditional Javanese food from Yogyakarta and Central Java.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

“Maaf, saya berbicara Bahasa Indonesia sedikit-sedikit!” which translates to ‘Sorry I only speak a little Indonesian!’

Looking back though, I found myself relying on this phrase a little too much…

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

If there’s one thing I did throughout my practicum, it was travelling!

Other than exploring Jakarta (so much to see and do in Jakarta itself e.g. Kota Tua, Masjid Istiqlal, National Monument, ONE Championship event, etc), I also went to:

  • Yogyakarta: Borobudur, Prambanan, Ratu Boko, Jomblang Cave, Malioboro Markets
  • Bandung: Kawa Putih (a mystical crater lake in a volcanic crater), various scenic tea plantations, Pinisi Resto
  • Bogor: Bogor Botanical Gardens, Presidential Palace

If there is one thing that’s great about studying in Indonesia, it’s that there’s so many amazing places to explore!