Sofia Jayne was a participant in the 2023 Journalism Professional Practicum. Sofia is studying a Bachelor of Communications at RMIT University. 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 internship program?
I am an avid traveller who loves learning about new cultures and meeting new people. The opportunity to do just that, whilst pursuing my studies and beginning my career as a journalist, is an opportunity I just had to be a part of!
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, of which was a major help! As a young student living out of home and paying bills, this program would have been very difficult to afford without this grant and government loans. I am extremely grateful to have had this help.
Q: Where did you live in Indonesia (Kos, homestay, hotel, rental etc.)? Any tips for prospective students on finding accommodation?
For the academic part of the program, I stayed in one of the Kos ACICIS suggested. Although the room could be a bit unpredictable, it was nice to be in a space with other ACICIS students. This was a great way to make friends and develop close friendships with a few people who have helped me get through the trip. However, for the internship, I have rented my own cheap apartment with an incredible view. I could not recommend this more! After weeks of spending lots of time being social and spending every day working, it is really nice to come home to my own space. It is not for everyone but it certainly has been relaxing for me!
Q: How have you found the academic components of this program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
I really enjoyed them! The seminars were incredibly interesting and we spoke to some highly qualified people. The connections we have made and conversation we have had, have left me feeling ready for the next step in my career. The language classes were a lot of fun, and definitely helped to get us started. I use the little phrases and basic words they taught us all the time. They were really big days though, definitely a challenge at times.
Q: What organisation are you interning with? (Explain your role and responsibilities)
I am interning with Amnesty International Indonesia. I don’t have a specific role but have been really lucky to learn from many people in the office. My mentor is in the campaigning sector, so I have spent a lot of time going to meetings with local organisations and victims of human rights abuses. There has been a lot of reading and learning, and now I am getting more hands on with a few writing and organising projects.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
This was my first internship, so I can’t compare media work experience here to that in Australia, but as a human rights organisation they have been extremely accommodating. Everyone has welcomed me with big smiles and open arms, I have been well fead, and learnt from incredible people.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your internship?
I have learnt the importance of resilience in many forms. This internship has taken a lot of self-assurance and initiative. Most ACICIS interns talk of being left decide their work structure for themselves here, and Amnesty has been quite similar. There is work to do, but the level you get out, is the level you put in.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this experience?
Definitely learning from professionals who are not only talented in their field of work, but strong people who have stood up in the face of oppression and continued on because there is still work to do. Many of these people have been women, which has been incredibly inspirational. To witness the strength and determination of these people, has only further ignited the passion and curiosity I brought with me here.
Q. Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this program? If yes, how was this achieved?
Absolutely! We had a few little field trips through ACICIS, but I think for the most part it was again – you get what you put in. Making the effort to make local friends and try things out of your comfort zone is the best way to explore the culture. Indonesian people are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met, all it takes is an open mind and a little bravery.
Q. How will the internship benefit or influence your future career?
This internship feels like it may have just about set me up for the first goal of my career. I now have experience working abroad and in human rights, of which are both things I planned on experiencing in the next five years, only it just already happened. My next step is to find work similar to what I have been doing here back in Melbourne, finish my degree, and then pack a bag and get back out on the road.
Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?
Absolutely! It has been an incredible experience. There were many times I had to pinch myself and do a reality check, only to find I was in fact doing all these things. It has been a challenge without a doubt, but the bit of extra pressure and inspiration has been what I needed to recharge me after a few years at home, getting too used to being a hermit in bed. Nanna is ready to face the world again 🙂
Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase: