Keira Wright is a participant in the 2020 Journalism Professional Practicum from RMIT University. Keira is studying a Bachelor of Professional Communication. 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 program?
I studied Bahasa at high school, and had long since fallen in love with Indonesia. I searched the global experience website from my home university to find any programs that were based in Indonesia. When I found the JPP offered by ACICIS, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It would give me international experience as a journalist and also allow me to further develop my skills in the Indonesian language and understanding of the culture.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
Yes, I did. Without the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant I wouldn’t have even been able to consider the possibility of undertaking this program. As a full-time student, I simply wouldn’t have the savings to fund this experience without the help of the grant.
Q: How will the Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?
Before completing the JPP, it was still too early in my studies to say whether I was sure about my future career as a journalist. However, the experience working as a professional in the industry confirmed this is the path I want to take. It has also opened my eyes to the possibility of not only working in Indonesia, but also internationally in general.
Q: What organisation did you intern with? (Explain your roles and responsibilities)
I interned with the Indonesia branch of Thomson Reuters. My roles and responsibilities varied daily depending on whether there was any breaking news and how important it was that we covered it. I was able to attend countless pressers and meetings with internationally renowned journalists at the Jakarta Foreign Correspondent Club. I travelled with the TV team to get footage on breaking stories and feature pieces at locations ranging from airports to zoos. I was also responsible for reporting, researching, establishing contact with sources and writing several stories.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
At the time of the JPP’s commencement, I had only just finished my first year in a rather broad communications course, and was looking at specialising in journalism in my second year. Therefore, this experience interning in Indonesia has been my first exposure to the industry. However, I have completed work experience in the past with ABC-Me, the children’s branch of ABC television. Compared to my limited experience there, it seems as though there are far more stories hidden away in Jakarta if you know where to look for them. It will be interesting to compare this experience as I start my career in the next few years.
Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?
Absolutely, which is something I wouldn’t have considered prior to completing this program. I loved working in Indonesia, despite all of Jakarta’s traffic!
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?
To be completely honest, there isn’t a huge amount to do in Jakarta compared to other areas of Indonesia that I’ve travelled to. However, I didn’t find this to be much of an issue because I was usually so tired from working during the week that I wasn’t up to any huge adventures on the weekends. However, I was surprised to find that Jakarta has a huge nightlife scene. McGettigans is a favourite, and they give out free cocktails to ladies on Wednesday nights!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
Lihat, ada bule!
Q: Favourite place to eat? Favourite Indonesian food?
You can find some truly amazing Indonesian food from the local warungs (roadside stalls) and pedangang kaki lima (street vendors) in Indonesia. My favourites was nasi goring (fried rice,) but my options were also rather limited because I’m vegetarian. I’ve heard that the sate ayam (chicken satay) is fantastic too.
Q: What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?
Usually I was so busy during the week that I’d be too tired to venture out during the weekend. Rather, I spent my weekends checking out the vibrant nightlife of Jakarta. However, I had friends visit Bandung, Bogor, Lombok and Bali during their weekends, so it is certainly doable.