By Kate Rolland* (BPP 2018)
Curtin University

When Ibu Lydia asked me to do this speech, I actually thought she was joking for a minute, seeing as I’ve heard her refer to me multiple times as “the quiet one”. I tend to avoid speaking in class and talking in large groups. But, just like I challenged myself to spend my summer here, I decided to challenge myself to do this speech.

When I first told my parents I was coming here, I was met with anger and frustration. My Dad told me I was crazy, and said “don’t you pay attention to the news?!” To me, this was a little hypocritical, as he had recently gone on holiday to Bali (shocker) with my younger siblings in tow. His attitude came from a place of worry and care, but unfortunately, I think it speaks volumes about the ways that Indonesia is portrayed in Australian media. Outside of Bali and usual holiday spots, Indonesia is rarely discussed, and when it is, it isn’t generally in a positive light. It might be to report a natural disaster, or an extremist protest or attack. This general lack of information and discussion about the amazing things that Indonesia has to offer often results in poor attitudes and disinterest.

The amazing thing about ACICIS is that it gives us all a chance to help change these negative perceptions. I have had so many unique and incredible experiences in my time here. Getting up at 3 am to watch the sunrise over a temple in Yogyakarta. Snorkeling over pristine reef off the thousand islands. Hiking to a waterfall in Bogor while streaming the hottest 100 off my phone. Thinking that I might actually die here for about 5 or so minutes when there was an earthquake.

Aside from the cultural experiences, my time interning has been invaluable. I’ve learnt which paths I want to take in my career, as well as which paths I definitely do not want to go down. Having never worked in an office environment before, I’ve learned the ins and outs of working a 9-5 office job. I was lucky enough to get an amazing placement where I was trusted and given responsibility. So much trust and responsibility in fact, that I went along to a sales meeting the other day and was introduced as their “public relations expert” who was new to the team and so they “hadn’t had time to make up my business cards yet”. Despite being slightly thrown off by this, I did appreciate being so highly trusted in an important situation. I was able to meet plenty of new people and build my professional network. Experiencing the differences between doing business in Australia and in Indonesia is something you can only really learn firsthand, and something that will be immeasurably useful in the future. Everything I learned and achieved in my placement will help me immensely when breaking into a very competitive job market.

This program gives us all the chance to help shift any negative perceptions that exist towards Jakarta and wider Indonesia. Every time we share our experiences with someone, one more person has a better understanding of this amazing country. Word of mouth is a powerful tool that should not be underestimated. I genuinely believe that ACICIS, and other programs like it, can make a huge difference.

On behalf of the Business Professional Practicum students, a huge thanks you to our program officer Ibu Lydia. She was there to help us with everything we needed and answer all our questions, and gave us plenty of useful advice. She held 100% faith in every single one of us. Her lively personality meant that there was never a dull moment, and she was almost always on time.

There are a lot of people who put in a huge amount of effort to make this program a success. Another huge thanks to Ika and Marcel from us BPP students for all of their hard work and help. Thanks to all the LO’s for taking care of us and getting us set up with everything we needed. Thanks to our amazing language teachers, who put up with a lot (at least from my class). Thank you to our host organizations for taking us on and teaching us so much. And finally, thanks to all the other ACICIS staff, and other people who dedicated time and effort into making this happen.

In our weekly journals, we are supposed to write about our learning outcomes for the week. I’m going to leave you with my 5 learning outcomes from this experience.

1. Never sit in the front seat of an uber and always hold on to the back of your go-jek.
2. Smiling at everyone will take you a long way
3. When it comes to food, there is either spicy or not spicy. There is no in between.
4. Asking a lot of questions is the best way to learn.
5. You don’t always have to be the loudest person in the room in order to be heard.

Thanks to all the ACICIS students who made this experience what it was. Enjoy the rest of your time in Jakarta!

*This speech was delivered at the Farewell Ceremony of the 2018 Jakarta Professional Practica.