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

Agriculture Professional Practicum

Ellen O’Leary was a participant of the Agriculture Professional Practicum, in 2020. Ellen is a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science from the The University of Adelaide. Ellen received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Agriculture Professional Practicum?

I was especially eager for the work experience and for the opportunity to work abroad. I knew the program could offer me a great platform to develop my professional skills and broaden my world perspective. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many cross-cultural study experiences however the length of this program, the curriculum and the professional experiences are unmatched.

I specifically chose the Agricultural Practicum over other programs that aligned more with my academic background because I wanted to expand my skill set and knowledge. At the time of applying, I was fiercely interested in food security and using agriculture as a development tool- being placed with Tanifund allowed for me to continue this line of inquiry.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?

Yes, I did. It was incredibly helpful. Without the grant I would not have been able to participate in the program.

Q: How will the Agriculture Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?

I was placed with incredible company which had a great influence on my future aspirations.

Firstly, my boss Pak Eka was very generous with his time, actively encouraged myself and fellow employees to be ambitious and worked hard to create a great working Environment. Pak Eka also trusted in our abilities which I think allows for some really great work. My internship opened up to me the world of tech start-ups and ESG consultants- two areas where I now hold a great interest in.

Before my placement with Tanifund I had a developed working interest in social development and Agricultural science- two areas that I was able to actively explore and engage with throughout my time there.

The practicum as a whole gave me a fantastic opportunity to not only gain experience in a professional setting but to also work abroad which has always been a goal of mine. Living in Jakarta gave me an interesting and realistic insight into the challenges of day to day living in a different culture to that of my own. Overall, this whole experience helped me to realise my potential.

 Q: Which organisation did you intern with? What were your roles and responsibilities?

I interned with Tanifund. My role and responsibility was to create a workable survey that I could then use in the field to measure the social impacts that Tanifund has on its partner farmers. I then created a report of my findings, a report with recommendations for an improved survey and also a report geared to an investing bank. I was also fortunate enough to attend the opening of their Bali branch and to actively join ESG and investment meetings. I also got the chance to work with the media/marketing team in Bali which was a great experience.

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

I was readily prepared to face a lot of culture shock in the workplace; particularly in regards to concepts such as “saving face” and social hierarchical business models more common in Indonesia however I did not find this to be the case. The working environment for Tanifund was contemporary and innovative perhaps this is because it is a young tech-start up. I had great access to those higher up and found them to be incredibly hospitable and very open to the exchanging of ideas.

One criticism I have is that, the working hours in Indonesia are long. I personally prefer to work fewer but more productive hours.

Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?

Yes of course I’d love to return to work in Indonesia; Indonesians are the most helpful and friendliest of people.

However, while over there I did miss the outdoor lifestyle that I get to enjoy in Australia. It’s also quite nice to be asked for a selfie in Aus! 🙂

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

I’d either Socialise with friends or try and see some sites. Most often, I’d sleep or rest though because my work weeks were so intense. I was okay with this thogh because during the work week I’d get the chance to explore new parts of Indonesia, try new foods and meet new people all the time.

Q: Favourite place to eat and favourite Indonesian food?

Had a few favourite Warungs. Loved Burgreens.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

“Roro jonggrang”

Q. What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?

Ubud and Uluwatu in Bali & Bandung, Cidaun, Ciwidey, Cienyan in West Java.