Ashleigh Seach was a participant of the Agriculture Professional Practicum (APP), in 2023. Ashleigh is studying Bachelor of Agriculture from The University of Melbourne.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS internship program?
I received an email from my university encouraging us to apply for the ACICIS internship program and thought it sounded like a great opportunity to advance my knowledge in the agricultural sector in an international setting.
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.
Yes I did!I believe the NCP is a very beneficial initiative as it provides more students with the opportunity to travel to Indonesia to increase their knowledge of the relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
Q: Where did you live in Indonesia (Kos, homestay, hotel, rental etc.)? Any tips for prospective students on finding accommodation?
I lived in a Kos during my 2 weeks in Jakarta and a Homestay for 4 weeks during my internship in Kintamani, Bali. I would suggest looking for accommodation early if living in a more isolated area as I was during my internship.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
I found the language classes very fun and interactive, I really enjoyed learning with my peers and watching us progress together. I found the seminars very informative and the tutorials helpful to fully understand the information presented to us.
Q: What organisation are you interning with? (Explain your role and responsibilities)
Environment Institute. My role was to conduct research in the field of sustainable agriculture and the links agriculture has to Balinese culture. I produced two research articles, a short video and 4 informative Instagram posts.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
I found the work culture at Environment Institute very enjoyable and flexible yet still productive. I feel like the work culture in Bali is very relaxed compared to Australia as they really care about their work life balance.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your internship?
The skills I gained during my internship were having greater cultural awareness, conducting analyses of the productivity and sustainability of farms and improving my research and writing skills.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this experience?
The most rewarding part of the experience was being able to advise farmers of more productive yet sustainable agricultural practices to improve their farms. An example of this was advising a farmer that planting legumes would improve the nitrogen levels in his soil.
Q. Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this program? If yes, how was this achieved?
Yea, I learnt about Javanese culture and Balinese culture during my stay in Indonesia. I found it really interesting to see the cultural differences between different islands within Indonesia.
Q. How will the internship benefit or influence your future career?
I believe this internship will allow myself to be one step ahead in terms of future career prospects. As I have done this internship as a first-year university student I have been able to gain real industry experience before most of my peers.
Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?
Yes I would! I think this program is so valuable to broaden your view of both the world and agricultural industry as it is vastly different from what we know in Australia.
Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Sedikit. I used this word a lot for spice and sugar.