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

Virtual Journalism Professional Practicum

Kendra Jewell was a participant in the 2022 Virtual Journalism Professional Practicum. Kendra is studying a Bachelor of Communications at RMIT. 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 love learning about other countries and cultures and knew very little about Indonesia so I was very curious about what the program had to offer. Soon discovering that the program offered the opportunity to not only learn about the Indonesian media landscape but a chance to study the language, culture and intern with a media organisation in Indonesia, I jumped at the opportunity and applied for the Journalism Professional Practicum. I have always been interested in working internationally as a journalist and ACICIS provided me with the perfect opportunity to get first hand experience learning about another country whilst also getting an opportunity to intern as a journalist. I did not think I would have such an opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic but the ACICIS virtual professional practicum allowed me to live my dream of studying internationally.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?

Yes I was lucky to be a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient and without it I would not have been able to take part in the program. The NCP provides students with an incredible opportunity to learn and connect with Indonesia which is vital for strengthening the Australian and Indonesian bilateral relationship. There is so much to learn about the Indo-Pacific region and these grants allow Australian students like me to learn about the country and establish connections for future opportunities in Indonesia.

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

I found the academic components of the program incredibly interesting and thought provoking. There was never a minute of the program where I wasn’t amazed or curious about Indonesia. Within six weeks I gained a foundation in basic Bahasa Indonesian and was truly surprised how much of the language I did learn within that time frame. The virtual seminars, field trips and tutorials allowed all students to meet virtually, listen to some incredible guest speakers and virtually travel to some of Indonesia’s amazing destinations.

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

I interned with Jakarta Globe, an online English language newspaper based in Jakarta. During my time with the organisation I was responsible for writing stories assigned to me, attending press conferences, copy editing other journalists’ work and pitching my own story ideas.

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

I was worried prior to the program about working in an online environment but to my surprise it was quite easy to work in a virtual capacity from a different country. My mentors at the Jakarta Globe were very supportive and the online communication via whatsapp/zoom was very clear and easy to navigate. Apart from time differences I can’t pinpoint any major differences to the work culture in Australia.

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

I believe the internship has developed my overall skillset as a journalist and put me in a better position to pursue a career as a foreign correspondent in the future. I developed skills in refining my writing for an international audience, editing, interviewing a range of different people from Indonesia and other countries whilst also improving my knowledge and understanding of what makes the news in Indonesia. These are skills which are already serving me in my last year of university and will carry over to my future endeavours.

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

This is a hard question as there are so many aspects of the program I enjoyed but I absolutely loved listening to the range of people I got to interview for my stories and found this part a super rewarding one. The people I got to interview were from different countries and in some cases different time zones so it was fascinating to share a story that was happening on the other side of the world.

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

Absolutely, I would say the language classes, seminars and cultural activities we participated in played a huge role in immersing us in Indonesian culture. Each seminar, activity and guest speaker provided a snapshot to the culture of Indonesia and I genuinely felt like I was in country during the program.

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

I believe my internship will definitely influence my future career as I was able to establish connections with a media organisation in Jakarta, expand my knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region and have my stories published which have now been added to my professional portfolio.

Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?

Absolutely, the program was such a rewarding experience and exceeded my expectation.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

Saya minum kopi.

Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:

Thought-provoking, challenging, amazing