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

Journalism Professional Practicum

Zara Powell was a participant in the 2023 Journalism Professional Practicum. Zara is studying a Bachelor of Communications at University of Technology Sydney. 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?

After the pandemic I had the urge to travel anywhere and I needed an internship to build up my portfolio, so when I saw the ACICIS program I applied straight away. Being able to travel while undertaking an internship seemed like a big win.

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.

Yes, I did. The New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant definitely persuaded me to undertake this trip as it would ease the stress of funds as a student, without it I probably would not have gone. This is why it is a great initiative, without the grant I would have seen parts of Indonesia I was able to, and I am now definitely interested in returning and would even do so for work!

Q: Where did you live in Indonesia (Kos, homestay, hotel, rental etc.)? Any tips for prospective students on finding accommodation?

I stayed in a COVE Kos which was basically an apartment with a few girls who I met on this trip. I would definitely advise to not book accomodation until you arrive in Indonesia so you can check it out in person. Staying with friends I met here also made the experience so much more fun! We all had seperate apartments but on the same floor, I would recommend staying with friends for sure.

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

The JPP seminars were super interesting, definitely learnt a lot. The language classes were one of my favourite things about the program, had the best class with lots of laughs and the best teacher (shoutout to Bu Arin). The language classes were super helpful, don’t know what I would have done without them!

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

I was an intern at The Jakarta Post, had the most amazing and accomodating team. I spent my time in between check desk, features, general news and production where I got to write a few articles and shadow reporters. Had the craziest experiences like meeting Christine Hakim and staying for dinner with her on my first day! Watching how the newspapers were printed was also one of the highlights of my internship.

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

After the pandemic most reporters work from home so sometimes the office was very quiet unlike in Australia. We spent lots of time chilling on the balcony, eating and having tea sessions it was the best and probably would not be like this in a common Australian office. I will definitely miss it!

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

I learnt how to edit more efficiently, write articles from press releases quickly, how o transcribe more efficiently and how to write articles according to a specific style. I learnt a lot from The Jakarta Post!

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

There were so many rewarding parts about this experience I cannot even think of just one. Being immersed in the beautiful Indonesian culture whether that was meeting locals, eating street food or even getting a Gojek. Being able to meet people I would now call life long friends and being able to travel with them to places like Bogor, Lombok and Bali has been the best and I now share memories I will never forget! I would say the memories I have shared with my great group of friends has been most rewarding and I will miss them very much but can’t wait to visit them all around Australia.

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

Prior to the program I did not know much about Indonesia, I had never eaten Indonesian food before! But now I can definitely say just by meeting locals, being immersed in Jakarta traffic when getting stuck on a Gojek and eating street food has taught me a lot about Indonesia. I will 100% miss the nice locals, especially the ones close to my Kos who would greet me everyday and offer me some food from their warungs!

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

The articles I was able to get published as well as the skills I have learnt will definitely benefit my future career in journalism. I have been able to make new connections and build my portfolio which is a step forward in securing other internships and jobs.

Q. Would you recommend this program to your friends?

Yes, one of the most amazing, rewarding and life changing experiences of my life!

Q. Favourite Indonesian word/phrase: