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Journalism Professional Practicum

Gabrielle Wong was a participant in the 2023 Journalism Professional Practicum. Gabrielle is studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Media and Communications) at The University of Sydney. She received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

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

I decided to do the ACICIS internship program because I wanted to take any chance I could get to go overseas with university (and it worked with my degree)! I also could see that through ACICIS, opportunities that would have been difficult to get in Australia, became available to me, like working in a TV station. Coming from an Indonesian background also really influenced my decision to go as I wanted to learn the language, what it would be like to live and work there, and also just a great excuse to catch up with family.

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.

I did receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant and think it was a key factor for even signing up as obviously exchange can be a costly experience. I think it’s super important in reducing that financial barrier and general fear, instead turning the question into “Why not?”

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

I lived in a hotel for the two week academic program. This was very nice initially as it was close to the university and also housed a lot of other ACICIS students which it made it easier to socialise and travel together. While the options provided by ACICIS are good, there are definitely cheaper ones out there with more facilities that I would recommend looking into if you want to live a life more like the locals. While converted to AUD, it might seem cheap, I was paying 6 times what my Indonesian colleague did! At the end of the day it is up to you but for the month internship – pick somewhere close to your office, you’ll thank yourself after experiencing the Jakarta traffic.

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

The academic component of ACICIS were definitely some of the longest days I’ve had but also some of the most fun as everyone is altogether. Some really cool speakers come in that give you a really great idea of the Indonesian landscape and you become really close with your class. I think they really helped people get a stronger glimpse of the real Indonesia and were constructed in a way that allowed us to compare what we knew from Australia.

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

I interned with Metro TV but specifically Metro Globe Network which produces their English speaking programs. My intern role was as a production assistant across two of the shows they have, Asia Prime and Jakarta Movers and Shakers. In this role, I would receive and edit scripts, edit visuals, record voiceovers, create short packages, go reporting and conduct interviews.

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

My host organisation had some really great resources which made coming to the newsroom each day very fun and exciting. Even as an intern, I felt like sometimes I was being treated better than places I have worked in Australia with random events happening during the day and free food from my colleagues always. It is definitely a lot more relaxed and chilled than I had thought which was a nice surprise I was not used to. I also felt the need to be really professional at the beginning however found those strict divides between personal and professional life didn’t really exist there. It’s okay to not always talk about work!!

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

The main skills I learnt were writing specifically for TV and honestly confidence! TV was an area of journalism I had never really tried and so it was interesting to see the differences I would make knowing something would be read out by a presenter live (typically only for 1 minute maximum) rather than read by an audience wherever and whenever. Metro TV were also kind enough to help us make the most of our time there so I tried new things every week and even did a screen test! Some of my producers were also presenters and therefore helped me do things like record a piece to camera and conduct interviews, with their guidance and support I feel like my confidence in my ability and future in journalism grew which to me is invaluable.

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

I think the most rewarding part of this experience is the crazy journey you go through to come out the other end and realise you did all of that! There were definitely some hard moments whether it be food poisoning, overcoming language barriers or home sickness but I am so glad I did this program; now, I have a more holistic view of Indonesia and better idea of my relationship with the country in the future.

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

Definitely! While I have been to Indonesia before, by going to university and working there, I feel like I learnt more than ever. This was achieved through hanging out with colleagues during break times and being stuck with Grab drivers in Indonesian traffic. They are always trying to recommend the next best place to eat, or weekend activity. Also simply by observing the Indonesian workplace and comparing it to one back in Australia, it is clear the sense of community they have. You’ll also find that the Indonesians are just as curious about Australia so you’ll never run out of things to talk about!

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

This internship has definitely got me thinking about different pathways I could pursue that I had never even though possible. It will undoubtedly benefit me as having this international experience while I am young in a news station, is not something a lot of people have. I feel grateful to have been in such close proximity to some really amazing individuals at Metro TV who I look up to and have shared their pearls of wisdom!

Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?

have been! The ACICIS program is one of the best things I have ever done and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go overseas for university – the Journalism Practicum Program in particular I think has so many amazing opportunities for any media student.

Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Saya tidak tahu.