Indonesian Business, Law and Society

Demi Thackrah is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from Murdoch University. Demi completed ACICIS’ Indonesian Business, Law and Society Program at the Islamic University of Indonesia in January-June 2018, and also received a New Colombo Plan Internship Grant to support her throughout her international internship.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Indonesian Business, Law and Society program?

I had always wanted to do an overseas exchange but had always been a bit daunted by all the options. One day I actually read into the ACICIS program more and I liked the idea of being part of a program that helped you to organise your exchange and provided you with some great opportunities; it was both supportive but also allowed you to immerse yourself in Indonesian life in whatever ways you wanted.

Q: What classes are you currently enrolled in at UII?

I currently take:

  • International Environmental Law – examines the international legal instruments that have been developed to protect and conserve the environment, and their implementation at a domestic level in Indonesia and other countries.
  • International Law of the Sea – is similarly about the development of international legal principles and legal instruments to govern the use and interaction of nations on the Oceans.
  • Human Rights and Law – explores the basis and principles of Human rights, and is about the main Human Rights laws and how they are (or aren’t) upheld.

Q: Are you involved in any clubs/societies at the university? 

Unfortunately, between university classes and work and my internship I have not had the time to do many more extracurricular activities, but I’ve still managed to experience a new lifestyle here in Jogja and meet many new people through all sorts of activities I’ve taken part in.

Q: How has your understanding of business, law or society changed as a result of your experience on the Indonesian Business, Law and Society Program?

The biggest difference I have noticed has been the incorporation of religious values into the law here, which is such a stark contrast to the system in Australia. Indonesia also has many different sources of law, from indigenous law, to Dutch law, and religious law all applied together and with a lot less conflict than I expected. This has taught me that the law can exist successfully in many different shapes and styles, and I think this is a really important concept to understand and appreciate.

Q: How will the knowledge and experience of Indonesian business, law, or society gained through this program influence your future career or study?

It has been so interesting to see a completely different legal system at work, and I have noticed the differences, and perhaps the strengths and weaknesses of both systems, which I think gives me a wider knowledge of the application of the law. Plus working in and studying law overseas, as well as learning a new language, obviously makes you a more attractive candidate if I choose to one day work overseas.

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

There is always something happening in Jogja, so there’s always something to do. Everything is also so cheap, which is just great. In my spare time I like to check out some of the museums or one of the many attractions in the city, go out for dinner with friends, or go shopping and exploring. On the weekends it is nice to get out of the city and see the beautiful natural landscapes here in Java.

Q: Are you undertaking an internship or volunteering while in Indonesia?

I have been undertaking an internship at LKBH which is a legal-aid type organisation that has connections with my university. Here I get to observe an Indonesian law firm at work and compare to the Australian legal system. I get to sit in on consultations and go to court, which is very interesting and very different to home.

Q: What is your favourite food? 

It’s hard to pick just one! I really like Lotek and Gado-Gado for a delicious healthier dish, and when I feel like a treat Martabak is the best. I’ll really miss Martabak when I’m back in Australia!

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

It always makes me smile when I leave my internship office or a dinner or anything really and my Indonesian friends and colleagues say ‘hati-hati’ which means ‘be careful’. I think this is such a sweet thing to say as a parting.

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

I have visited a few great tourist attractions in the city such as the Kraton, Taman Sari, the Vredeburg Fort and many markets and other activities. I have watched the traditional puppet show and traditional dance performances. I have also made some great day trips to see Borobudur temple, some of the beautiful national parks, and also visited the Dieng Plateu and climbed the mountains for sunrise which was incredible.