Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS internship program?
I chose to undertake the Law Professional Practicum as it felt like the best way to be immersed in country. I could see that it would necessitate cross-cultural thinking, intercultural understanding and I wanted to improve my Bahasa Indonesia.
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.
was a recipient of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant, receiving $3,000. I am a firm believer in this scheme – I can see that it helps to reinforce international and transnational thinking, strengthens the ancient relationship between Australia and Indonesia, and helps Australians challenge their stereotypes, broaden their linguistic abilities and develop cross-cultural skills and understanding.
Q: Where did you live in Indonesia (Kos, homestay, hotel, rental etc.)? Any tips for prospective students on finding accommodation?
I elected to stay at a Kos. This experience helped my Bahasa immensely as I was able to use it and engage with Indonesian People each time I stepped outside of my room. My advice would be to stay somewhere close to your Host Organisation, but also to not be afraid to stay in places where there aren’t many (or any) other foreigners.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
I found them stimulating and engaging. In the law classes, due to both their size and the teaching methods, we were supported to have many interesting discussions and debates. It was not only possible, but, actually, we were encouraged to develop relationships with academics and other students and I see great value in this process. I was placed in the intermediate class for Bahasa Indonesia and enjoyed the challenge.
Q: What organisation are you interning with? (Explain your role and responsibilities)
I was an intern with KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence). My internship was largely self-directed and I was supported to work in research and international advocacy. I was able to gain insight into the nature of Indonesian law, how human rights are defined in Indonesia and specialise in the West Papua conflict. This internship was certainly challenging at times, but has helped me gain a deep, culturally bound insight into Indonesian workplaces, work-ethic and how people are organised in professional settings.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
As above. It was great to have a comparative method of construction and an immersion experience.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your internship?
Intercultural understanding, the ability to work cross-culturally and bilingually, independence, expanding my ability to thinking critically and creatively. And also street-smartness – Jakarta is a big (sometimes scary) city, so I learned a lot about safety and security.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this experience?
The cultural immersion and the ability to work closely with ACICIS staff in country.
Q. Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this program? If yes, how was this achieved?
I was able to break the Australian bubble – making friends with locals through Universitas Atma Jaya, the ACICIS LO’s and through people that I met in life. This was conducive to learning about Indonesia – its richness, its complexity and the fabric of Indonesian nationhood. Additionally, living in a kos and learning Bahasa helped this connections form and helped me develop them further.
Q. How will the internship benefit or influence your future career?
I hope to work in Indonesia and my experiences dealing with Indonesian academia, legal systems, NGO’s and Bahasa Indonesia will be invaluable to my future career. This program has helped me confirm my interest in Bahasa and working in this space.
Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?
Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
There are so many! Here’s a few: “garing” (when you’re the one laughing at the story that you tell), “receh
banget” (cheesy joke) and also any repeated word that uses the ‘2’ (sama2; mudah2an etc.)