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

Law Professional Practicum

Anastasia Michalakas was a participant in the 2024 Law Professional Practicum. Anastasia is studying Bachelor of Laws at The University of Adelaide. Anastasia received a $4000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support her participation on this program.

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

Australia and Indonesia are geographically very close, yet are politically and legally very different. ACICIS helps to strengthen this connection in spite of these differences by allowing Australian students to live, study and work in Jakarta. I think it is important for Australia to maintain good relations with Indonesia, particularly so we can learn more about our next door neighbour. It is also a very cost effective place to travel for students who may only work part-time and a great place to meet like-minded people!

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative? If yes, why? The NCP is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates on experiences such as the Professional Practica.

The NCP grant was extremely helpful in preparation to live in Indonesia. Flights, accommodation, and other expenses can count up quite quickly. The NCP grant gave me more mobility to prepare myself overseas.

Q: Where did you live in Indonesia (Kos, homestay, hotel, rental etc.)? Any tips for prospective students on finding accommodation?

I lived in a Japanese style loft called Sakura Terrace and it was fantastic! Daily cleaning, 24/hr security, and two cats that live in the lobby! I’ll miss Oyen and Sapi!

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

Albeit very long, they were some of the most interesting and engaging seminars I have undertaken throughout my entire undergraduate degree. The content was mostly delivered by two guest speakers who had relevant expertise in that days’ module. It’s a completely different way of gaining knowledge on a matter as there is usually more insight. The language classes were a life saver! Without them, I would have been incredibly lost in Jakarta. Thankfully Bahasa is a language you can pick up quickly, but it is still learning a whole other language! The language classes are essential for ACICIS.

Q: What organisation are you interning with? (Explain your role and responsibilities)

I interned with the Indonesian Centre for Environmental Law. I was flying solo in my internship, but my workplace and my mentor made me feel included and gave me great insight into environmental law works in Indonesia. I was primarily tasked with researching the international principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) so it can be implemented in the upcoming Global Plastics Treaty to which Indonesia is a party. I have never worked so closely on a project that was about international environmental law, so it was an amazing experience!

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

It was very laid back – working hours were flexible so long as you work at least 7 hours. There are a few things that Indonesian workplaces have that Australian workplaces simply do not have – mainly that of in-house servants. That was the biggest and most obvious difference for me! It felt strange having someone wash my dishes when I could very easily do it myself, but I understand that is largely the culture in South East Asia.

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

Writing skills! I had to conceptualise my thoughts and translate them from thoughts to a coherent report.

Q: What did you get up in your free-time?i.e. in the evenings and on the weekends.

I travelled all over Indonesia. A group of girlfriends and I went away to 1000 islands and stayed on a private island with our own private beach! I went on a mountain hike in Bandung, and having met some cool locals, I spent every Tuesday night at an underground jazz bar!

Q: What surprised you about Indonesia? Any new insights?

What surprised me the most was the congruence of the Muslim population and non-Muslim population. I had only learned a few months prior to coming to Indonesia that it is the largest Muslim populated state on earth, but what surprised me most was seeing how harmonious it seems to be, despite religious differences. The Mosques play their call to prayer at seemingly any hour of the day or night, and there does not seem to be any difficulties with them doing so! I thought it was beautiful.

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

Coming home and reflecting that I participated in such a unique study tour where I not only studied but interned at an amazing workplace. It’s rewarding knowing I have international experience!

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

Making our own Batik was cool.

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

I’ve now realised I want a career that will take me anywhere and will be international. I no longer have an interest in living or staying in one country anymore, and I hope the connections I made with my internship can fast track this for me!

Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?

YES! I personally had an amazing time – I made friends from all over Australia (so I know someone from every state now), I connected with so many locals who now want to come visit me in Australia, and I learned so much about the Indonesian legal system. Put yourself out there!

Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase: