Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
When I first applied to ACICIS, I was not even done with my first semester of university. As a first-year student with no college credits completed, my options for getting accepted into a prestigious internship was limited. I wanted to set my foot in the door of the working world and getting my first internship at a well-known organization seemed a great place to start. The organizations ACICIS partners with are renowned companies, national institutions, and high-impact NGOs. Practically speaking, interning in any of these would set you apart from job applicants whose first internships are with a less well-known institution or who work in retail.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
The language classes and seminars were extremely well thought out and executed. Due to decades of experience in running this program, the ACICIS staff had the opportunity to ask for student feedback in the end of every one of them, and it is very evident from the quality that they implemented as much student feedback as possible. I’d argue that ACICIS classes and seminars were better than most university lectures and tutorials!
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
I interned with the National Women’s Commission (KOMNAS Perempuan) and was placed in the Community Participation Division (Divisi Parmas). Here are some of the things that I did during my internship:
▸ Wrote a 34-page website audit report and created video recordings to walk through the points written in the report, including but not limited to: web design, web widgets, copywriting, search engine optimization (SEO), and individually checking the functionality of all buttons for bugs and errors.
▸ Created a 12-slide social media analytics report to be presented to UNFPA and the Government of Japan.
▸ Developed a 12-week training course about KOMNAS Perempuan (National Commission on Violence Against Women) and the history and politics of feminism in Indonesia for new interns, including weekly assigned readings, videos, and essay assignments, as well as a final 2,000-word research paper assessment.
▸ Translated 26 press releases from Indonesian into English, receiving positive feedback from readers about turning press releases with complicated language and law jargon into easily accessible and engaging writing.
▸ Produced 8 monthly newsletters, receiving positive feedback from upper management about the drastic improvement in design compared to the previous style of newsletters sent to donors, national institutions, and human rights organizations.
▸ Represented KOMNAS Perempuan as an agent in the Days of Law Career 2022 event, with upwards of 1,500 attendees, answering queries and assisting applicants seeking a career at KOMNAS Perempuan.
Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
The work culture in KOMNAS Perempuan was very delightful. Because they are a government institution, they have an excellent work-life balance. It is the norm in the institution to always state an apology whenever contacting a work colleague outside of working hours. They also have a rule to not email during weekends. This is different to my experience with Western working environments, where it is not unusual to communicate work outside of working hours. It is instead unusual to apologize prior to the text message or email about contacting outside working hours. Seeing how the opposite practice was implemented in KOMNAS Perempuan made me think about how the status quo work culture is not necessarily “standard”, but should instead be questioned just like any other new idea.
Q: What are the key skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
Communication and time-management are essential to working effectively. Proactively ask your supervisor for work and feedback and be able to give them an accurate time estimate on when you can get the work done – and deliver accordingly!
Q: What did you find to be the more rewarding part of this virtual program?
Because KOMNAS Perempuan is understaffed, the interns get the opportunity to use their skills for genuinely meaningful things. Usually, in established large corporations, interns do not get assigned significant work. However, here I genuinely felt that my work was useful, and that I was needed as part of the team. Once my supervisor called me to inform me that KOMNAS Perempuan had to present a social media analytics report regarding their collaboration with UNFPA to the UNFPA team and the Government of Japan, but since the other members of KOMNAS Perempuan was occupied with other things, they asked me whether I could do it under an urgent deadline. Feeling useful and needed, I genuinely enjoyed my work at KOMNAS Perempuan as I know that my work is impactful for the institution and the cause.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
I was able to learn about Indonesian culture through many things, from the formal lectures to the informal voluntary hangouts with students from Atma Jaya. Even how Indonesians send work emails is different. For example, Australians rarely use honoraries, especially not in email. But I learned a lot about the Indonesian emailing etiquette, how to politely contribute to meetings, and how to stand out in work the Indonesian way (which is not to actually stand out, as in, the extroverted sense, but to do your work diligently, quietly, and humbly, and eventually people will recognize you for your merits).
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your future career?
As a Biotechnology major, my choice of joining the DSPP program seems unrelated. My work at KOMNAS Perempuan has nothing to do with what I study in university. But my dream for the future is to create a biotech start-up in Indonesia, and since Biology is usually a female-dominated field (looking at the ratio of female to male Biology students), I plan to predominantly hire and provide training to women. My aim is to help promote gender equality in Indonesia financially and to increase women’s participation in STEM. But to transfer an idea practically, lots of on-the-ground information have to be learned, and I was exposed to databases concerning women in Indonesia firsthand during my internship with KOMNAS Perempuan. Regarding feminism, women’s rights, and financial equality between men and women, lots of challenges needed to be overcome. A pure STEM major wouldn’t be able to implement their start-up with these goals without understanding the political and societal situation of a country, so I was immensely grateful to be able to experience this virtual internship that significantly broadened my horizons.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Cuci mata (literally means “wash eyes”, but practically meaning, “entertaining oneself by looking at attractive persons/items”).
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Impactful, meaningful, and memorable.