By Richard* (Virtual BPP 2021)
Murdoch University

At the beginning of this program, I’ll be honest, I was a little apprehensive. I was wondering, how beneficial could a virtual placement actually be? Especially with an organisation in another country, with another culture. Well, it turns out, these concerns were completely unwarranted. I can honestly say, every day of the last six weeks has been enjoyable and beneficial.

I have learnt so much about Indonesia and its culture. Everything contributed: the language classes, the seminars, the virtual field trips to the actual internship with my Host Organisation.

The intensive Indonesian lessons with Ibu Dete from Atma Jaya University were a great way to start the day and really helped me improve my Indonesian.

The seminars were on a diverse range of topics,

– the Indonesia-Australia comprehensive economic partnership agreement, IA-CEPA,

– the Omnibus law, designed to create jobs and reduce barriers for foreign investment into Indonesia

– the impact that coronavirus has had on Indonesian businesses and how those businesses are overcoming these challenges

– the recent Corporate Social Responsibility legislation, aimed at helping those communities most in need in Indonesia

– And directly relating to our own personal career development, we also looked at how we can use social media to our advantage, to be noticed and hired in the digital era.

Our field trips gave us a real insight into Indonesian businesses. We visited the Indonesian Stock Exchange and Bukalapak, one of Indonesia’s biggest start-ups, now helping the smaller traditional warungs make a digital transformation.

The movie screenings were really amazing. Jalanan, which followed the lives of buskers in Jakarta struggling to make enough money to eat, and The Staging Post, followed the lives of refugees who found themselves in Indonesia with no certainty in their lives. Both of these screenings really showcased the resilience and strength of Indonesian people and refugees from around the world.

And then, there is the actual internship which has been extremely beneficial for when I apply for that job I really want. Just getting exposure to an organisation in the field that I would like to work, has not only helped me differentiate myself from other graduates, but also given me the confidence that I can be successful and make a difference in that field.

So finally, I must thank the Australian Government for their continued support of this extremely beneficial program. And thankyou to Atma Jaya University, and all the ACICIS staff for all the work and effort they put into this program, and all my fellow students, thank you for making this a truly enjoyable experience. I have met some amazing people on this journey. Not only excellent professional contacts, but many new friends. And while we are facing these current coronavirus restrictions we will have to stick to WhatsApp and Zoom, but when we can finally travel again, I am greatly looking forward to traveling to Indonesia, and meeting my new friends, and if anyone is traveling to Perth, you have a friend here, so please contact me, and I will welcome you to my city. Thank you.

*This was delivered as a speech at the Virtual Practicum Program Closing Ceremony in February 2021.