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Business Professional Practicum

Keeleigh Slater was a participant on the 2024 Business Professional Practicum. Keeleigh is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Business at Queensland University of Technology. Keeleigh received a $4,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

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

I really wanted to do an internship during my degree and ACICIS was the perfect opportunity as they find the internship for you.

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. It was a huge factor in my decision to take the leap to apply for the program, so i think it’s very important. Finances are really difficult for everyone right now, especially students. Having funding available helped me make the most of the program.

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

I stayed in an apartment found through AirBnB with two roommates from other ACICIS Professional Programs. I would definitely recommend viewing place yourself, even if someone else offers to go for you. Some people ended up in Kos’ that were recommended by friends, but they had to move out as the noise from the nearby mosque was too much and the room was too dirty. Keep in mind that cleanliness standards of accommodation in Jakarta is different to Australia – you will need to spend more money for
a clean place by Australian standards.

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

The classes in general were sort of tough as we attended for 9 hours a day on weekdays and half days on Saturdays. With the readings and mini assignments, that didn’t leave much time for anything else. Despite that, I learnt a lot about the business context in Indonesia, and the language classes were taught extremely well and were extremely useful for navigating Indonesia (e.g getting in a taxi with a driver who doesn’t know English).

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

I interned with the Institute for Sustainability and Agility (ISA). I was given an array of different tasks related to sustainability and ESG consulting. The main task was to write a draft for the company’s new ESG report. It was rewarding to get to do my own research as well as learn from the President Director, who has done amazing work within sustainability education in Indonesia and Australia.

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

The work culture was particularly interesting to me as I got to see the impacts of a collaborative organisational culture. As a management student I appreciated being able to see the benefits of the theories we study. As a foreigner taking an internship, it was a relief to be working with very kind and welcoming people!

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

I’ve learnt a lot about resilience and the boundaries of my comfort zone. I also learn a lot about working and communicating with people from another cultural background.

Q: What did you get up to in your free-time? i.e. in the evenings and on weekends.

After the first two grueling (but rewarding!) weeks, we were able to do more. I went batik shopping, visited Bandung and nearly slid down a mountain, visited MONAS and learnt about Indonesia’s complicated history, went to a cat cafe, and ate lots of good food!

Q: What surprised you about Indonesia? Any new insights?

I didn’t do much research on Indonesia and hadn’t been to South East Asia before so a lot surprised me. One thing that shone through was that Indonesian people are lovely and are very keen to practice their English!

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

I think the most rewarding parts were learning about myself and my limits, and meeting so many amazing and inspiring people through the program.

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

I learnt a lot through the Indonesian language classes. Our teacher would answer any questions we had and would incorporate it into our lessons, which made it really fun to learn! The best way to learn, I found, was to go out and try things and interact with locals.

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

Being able to say you went overseas for over a month and experienced a work culture in another country always looks good on a resume. It takes a lot of soft skills to live in anther country if you don’t know anyone there! The skills I learnt from my internship will also help me better frame my decisions as a manager in the future.

Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?

I would, as long as they are up for a challenge.

Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Jam Karet – elastic time. We would use this every time we were late to something whether it was
because we couldn’t get a taxi, the traffic was bad, or we were just unorganised.