Olivia Taylor was a participant in the 2023 Development Studies Professional Practicum from The University of New South Wales. Olivia is studying Bachelor of Arts/Social Work (Honours). Olivia received a $3000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support her participation on this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS internship program?
I wanted to develop my understanding of praxis – the relationship between theory and practice – in the development space. The program was a great way for my to apply my knowledge from university to real development work. I was able to explore and unpack the nuances of how practice relates to theory; how practice can inform theory which can in turn inform practice once again.
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.
I did receive the NCP grant. Travelling to another country, and particularly the added cost of the program, can be very financially stressful. The grant was able to minimise some of the financial burden of the experience.
Q: Where did you live in Indonesia (Kos, homestay, hotel, rental etc.)? Any tips for prospective students on finding accommodation?
I lived in a kos accomodation. I would recommend this as they often have some shared facilities, and you can easily organise to stay at the same place with friends.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
Despite being a complete beginner, the language classes were one of my favourite parts of the program. The atmosphere was fun and the teachers were amazing. Likewise, the seminars were so interesting and every speaker was so knowledgeable. The academic coordinators for DSPP from ACICIS were equally as knowledgeable, wise and positive to be around.
Q: What organisation are you interning with? (Explain your role and responsibilities)
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
I loved the work culture at Project Child. There was an immediate sense of comfort and openness. There is a lot of collaboration between personel/departments, so workings together as a team was a core implicit value from the outset.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your internship?
In my internship I learnt how to synthesise knowledge into practice, to apply it to development work. I also learnt how to work on a team project, and how to collaborate with media and design teams.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this experience?
At placement we produced a mini volunteers’ handbook. It was so rewarding to be able to finish with a final product to see the tangible outcomes of our work. Similarly, viewing survey results showing that our mini handbook would fill some really important gaps in knowledge in the community was really encouraging along the way.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this program? If yes, how was this achieved?
I learnt a lot about Indonesian culture through both the academic and internship portions of the program. Both were really great ways to learn about different aspects.
Q: How will the internship benefit or influence your future career?
It is always useful to have practical experience in the field you want to build your career in. Potential employers know now that I have experience in the development space, but also in a cross-cultural context and working in a highly-collaborative manner. These are all appealing things to employers that demonstrate my capabilities.
Q: Would you recommend this program to your friends?
I would absolutely recommend this program to my friends! I think it a great experience to grow personally and professionally. Don’t be scared about travelling alone or feeling isolated, because you are well supported and there is no way you can’t make good friends – I promise!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase: