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

Virtual Law Professional Practicum

Lilith Humbler-Nicholls was a participant in the 2022 Virtual Law Professional Practicum. Lilith is studying a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. Lilith received a $3000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support her participation on this program.

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

I wanted to gain experience in a virtual international program and ACICIS looked like an excellent and exciting opportunity. As I researched the ACICIS Law Professional Practicum, I discovered that ACICIS had potential placement organisations in areas such as policy, law reform, and human rights. As my future career aspirations are linked to these areas, I realised that the ACICIS Law Professional Practicum would help me gain experience and connections that would support my future career.

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 Virtual Professional Practica.

Yes, I received the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant. I think that the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant is an important initiative because it supports students gaining experience in the Indo-Pacific area and fosters connections between the host country and Australia.

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

The language classes were highly engaging and very enjoyable. My language teacher was absolutely amazing, and we all learnt a lot while also having a lot of fun at the same time! Before starting the language classes, I was feeling very nervous about them, but once I finished the first class, I was already looking forward to the second one!

The seminars covered interesting and varied topics, and were presented by a number of different experts and stakeholders in those areas. The tutorials involved collaboration between the students and engaging discussions about the seminar topics.

Q: What organisation did you intern with? 

I interned with the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR). My role was to research and write a report on an Australian topic that was of interest to the ICJR and to proofread any documents my mentors gave me that had been translated from Indonesian to English.

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

My mentors built an excellent work environment and were very helpful and supportive. The main differences I noticed were differences in ways of approaching and looking at topics. The differences were subtle, and I found that it was important to be very attentive to what was being discussed and to clarify anything that I was uncertain about to avoid confusion or miscommunication.

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

I developed skills in intercultural communication and knowing when and how to clarify potential areas of confusion or potential issues. I adapted to cultural differences and learnt to be flexible in how I approached topics of discussion. I also received, clarified, and implemented feedback on my research and writing, and modified my approach to suit the core themes behind my mentors’ feedback.

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

The most rewarding part of the virtual experience was committing the time and energy to researching, writing, and editing a report, and then seeing this work come to fruition by being published on the ICJR website. My mentors’ feedback guided each stage of the process, and made the experience interactive, interesting, and meaningful.

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

I learnt about Indonesian culture in every part of the program (language classes, seminars, tutorials, field trips, cultural activities, afternoon teas, and the placement). There were times when aspects of Indonesian culture were explicitly taught, and there were other times when I learnt about Indonesian culture indirectly through social interactions.

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

The virtual internship has helped me develop my cultural awareness and intercultural communication skills. The program has taught me about Indonesia and illuminated the similarities and differences between Indonesia and Australia. This has deepened my understanding of the two countries, and I will be able to bring these skills and comprehension into my future career.

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

Definitely! It was a great experience and a highlight of my degree.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

I like the Indonesian word baik, which means good. It is fun to say and sounds somewhat similar to the English word ‘bye’. This caused me some confusion in my first language class because I kept wondering why my language teacher would periodically say ‘bye’! Eventually, I realised that what she was actually was saying was baik (good), rather than announcing that she was about to leave!

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

Memorable, engaging, thought-provoking