Indonesian Business, Law and Society

Rose Matthews is a 2017 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from The University of Western Australia. Rose completed ACICIS’ Indonesian Business, Law and Society Program at the Islamic University of Indonesia in August-December 2017.

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

I decided to undertake the ACICIS program because I knew that it would be unlike any other exchange experience and I was right. I have always wanted to do a student exchange but I didn’t know where. Once I looked into ACICIS I saw how immersed the exchange students were and also how affordable the program was. After researching this I knew that I wanted to engage in the ACICIS program. The program allows for students to completely immerse themselves in Indonesian society through engaging in internships, language classes and cultural sessions. The ACICIS program is a life changing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is considering it.

Q: What classes are you currently enrolled in?

I am currently enrolled in three classes at UII and an internship at LKBH

– Islamic family law, this class looks at how Islamic values are incorporated into the Indonesian legal system, the values surrounding Islamic family law and how family law has been altered throughout history.

– Islamic thoughts and civilisation, this class is very interesting as it teaches about Islam not only in Indonesia, but all over the world. We study Islamic era’s and the evolution of Islamic practices and civilisation. I am also asked to examine how compatible these values are within Australia.

– Anthropology of law, in this class I study the evolution of law, from traditional tribal values to the modern-day system. It is also very interesting to study this class from an Islamic perspective.

– LKBH = a legal aid firm that works mostly in Islamic family and inheritance law. However, interning here I have also had the opportunity to observe criminal and civil cases. My tasks generally include observing consultations and court hearings and then writing reports on these. I also give presentations about a topic of my choice, for example family law in Australia compared to Indonesia.

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

Unfortunately, I am quite busy with my university classes, internship and language classes that I don’t really have the time for university clubs. However, I still complete activities such as basketball, outdoor adventures and meeting new Indonesian friends independently, in a time that suits me better.

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

Undertaking the IBLS program has given me life experience that I could have never of got staying at my home university. I can experience how another legal system works and see things from another perspective. It is very important for me to understand Indonesian legal values as they are a neighbour of Australia and our friendship is vital. This program will help me with my study as I can give a well-rounded and experienced response to tasks that I am given. This program has also increased my initiative, as much of the time I must find information and tasks for myself. Lastly this program will assist in my future career as it shows my prospective employers that I have experience and am ready to face any challenges that come my way.

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?

Australia is a very secular society, so all study I have undertaken has been focused around this. However, in Indonesia there is a policy of legal pluralism, meaning that religion and cultural values are incorporated into the law. It has been very interesting for me to study this as I now understand how beneficial this can be in terms of accommodating all people in society. I have previously understood law as a strict mechanism that applies equally to all people, however since being in Indonesia I have observed how fluid it can be. This experience has given me knowledge and motivation to alter some laws in Australia, to make them more accommodating for all people.

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

I love the city of Yogyakarta as everyone in it is so friendly, whether it is the laundry lady, a person from a food stall or just someone you met on the street. Everybody is ready to welcome you and have a conversation, this is why I love just walking around the city.

I often have dinner or coffee with other ACICIS students and Indonesian friends that I have made, food is very cheap so this is an easy way to catch up with friends.

Yogyakarta is the cultural hub in Java so there is always an event on. When possible, I love to watch the gamelan players and the traditional Javanese dancers.

However, if I have lots of spare time I love to go on trips outside of the city, for example to the beach, a waterfall or caves. The scenery is amazing and it is great to see how people live in the villages outside of the city.

Q: Are you undertaking an internship while in Indonesia?

I am undertaking an internship at LKBH, this is a legal aid firm that deals with several types of cases, from criminal law, civil law, family law and inheritance law. At this internship I usually observe consultations and court hearings and then write reports about them. Nearly every week I give a presentation on a topic of my choice, for example family law in Australia compared to Indonesia.

Q: What is your favourite food/place to eat? 

I love so much of Indonesian food but my favourite is probably fried tempe with green sambal! I often go to a restaurant called special sambal to get this, it is so cheap and delicious.

Every day I will also eat ‘bungkus’ which is just rice and toppings of your choice, e.g tofu, vegetables, egg. It is so cheap, for bungkus and an iced tea I pay 90c Australian!

Q: What is your favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

One of my favourite phrases is tidak apa apa, which means don’t worry about it.

I also love how Indonesians always ask you if you’ve already showered and ate, ‘Sudah makan?’ ‘Sudah mandi?’

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

So far in Indonesia I have visited Borobudur and Prambanan temples, along with many waterfalls, caves and beaches that are close to Jogja city. I have also visited Bali for a quick weekend trip to relax when I had some time off. There are so many places in Indonesia that I still want to go to, Java itself has so many places such as Bogor and Bangdung. I also would love to get to some other islands and experience their culture such as Sulawesi and Papua. Studying Indonesian has given me so much freedom as it is the universal language of Indonesia, meaning that I can travel to remote areas and still be able to find my way and also interact with people.