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

Journalism Professional Practicum

Oliver Dixon was a participant in the 2023 Journalism Professional Practicum. Oliver is studying a Bachelor of Communications at Murdoch University. He received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support his participation in this program.

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

I started my degree with a large interest in international relations and foreign reporting and this Internship seemed like a perfect opportunity to experience working in those areas.

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.

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant is what gave me the final motivational push to commit myself to the program. Before I had heard about the NCP I was worried that taking part in the program would make me completely broke so having it really eased my mind about traveling for 6 weeks without any income coming from home.

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 for the first part of my trip before moving to a hotel. I would recommend both especially if you like to have your own space you can retreat to during busy weeks. I would have loved to have done a homestay however there was none available in my area. As for advice to prospective students, look for a place well in advance as those prices get higher the closer to the check-in date. Also check if the place you are looking at has a cheaper rate when booking for a month. A few places I was looking at were actually cheaper to book for a month over three and a half weeks.

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

The language classes were great fun and I feel as if they gave me a very good foundation to further learn Indonesian. The seminars for the JPP were all great as well with every guest being super interesting and informative in their specialised areas. I also have to give a shoutout Ibu Ella and Ibu Michelle were both amazing teachers and were super helpful in and outside of class.

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

I interned at the Jakarta Globe and they put me in the role of a reporter for their website. They would ask me to write stories and help line up interviews with some notable people and businesses.

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

My previous experience with work in Australia has been in physical trades so moving to an office work environment that was in Indonesia was a double culture shock for me. It was nice being in a work environment that was quite collaborative, relaxed and welcoming to a bunch of university students that did not know much Indonesian.

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

The best skill I have learned is how to approach people either on the street or at work to secure an interview or get their opinion on something. It sounds like an easy task but approaching strangers on the street that may not speak your language and ask them about a social or political issue is actually pretty difficult and nerve-wracking. So being able to do that over here is a useful skill I can take back home with me.

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

As a student journalist, the most rewarding experience was submitting an article and being told its good and didn’t need to be edited before having it published for the world to see.However, the most rewarding thing overall was meeting new people, creating professional networks, and creating some very real friendships that I will continue to have after I go home.

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

I set out to learn about Indonesian culture when I came here and the best way I feel to do this is to just go where the locals go. Go to the local warungs and wartegs on the street and get some food, sometimes the locals sitting next to you want to have a friendly conversation and are just as interested in your culture as you are in theirs. I actually ended up being invited to a few local events by strangers eating next to me and being able to go to those and experiencing them is such a great way to learn about and even participate in Indonesian culture.

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

Obviously having my placement on my resume is always a good benefit for my future career. However, being able to actually know what is expected of me and what I should expect from work in the future is invaluable.

Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?

Absolutely. A few friends of mine back home were tempted to come with me but were just a little bit too anxious to fully commit. I will definitely be encouraging them to go next year.

Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:

It has to be Gila! or if I am allowed to say it here Anjay!