Journalism Professional Practicum

Isabella Cleary was a participant in the 2023 Journalism Professional Practicum. Isabella is studying a post-graduate diploma of journalism at Massey Univeristy.

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

I had never done anything like a study exchange before, and really wanted a chance to experience life studying and working in a different country!

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 didn’t receive New Colombo, however I did receive a different grant through the New Zealand Asia Foundation. I think initiatives like these are incredibly important for students like myself, who wouldn’t be able to take part without additional assistance. Schemes like these can already be quite financially stressful, as you aren’t undertaking paid work and travel admin can be costly. In providing grants like these, it opens the doors up to a much greater range of students from all walks of life, where opportunities like this can be quite transformative.

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

I stayed in a kos, and then a small rental.

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

I absolutely loved the seminars, super interesting and engaging speakers who gave a great taste about the different work opportunities available here. The language classes were also great – four hours a day of intensive learning is a lot, but our awesome teacher Ibu Ima made it all so fun!

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

ERIA – I’m interning within the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris team, which has meant learning the ropes surrounding communications and research.

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

I’ve loved it – it’s the loveliest team who have been super welcoming, and the office has a very relaxed atmosphere to it.

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

I’ve learnt how to approach social media management, which was new to me. I’ve also seen what goes on behind the scenes of research communications and science storytelling.

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

Definitely the people I’ve met.

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

Yes, just through day to day interactions but also the classes and building relationships within the workplace.

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

I really want to come back and work overseas one day, which I had never thought about before. By being in an international organisation, I feel like I really got to experience what it was like to be working as a foreigner in a different country – meeting others doing the same really helped too!

Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?


Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Jalan-jalan (walk slow, chill out :))