Student Profile: Ellen O’Leary (APP 2020)

Apr 09, 2020
New Colombo Plan - Connect to Australia’s future - study in the region.

Agriculture Professional Practicum

Ellen O’Leary was a participant of the Agriculture Professional Practicum, in 2020. Ellen is a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science from the The University of Adelaide. Ellen received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support her participation in this program.

Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Agriculture Professional Practicum?

I was eager for the work experience, especially because I would like to work abroad one day or in some sort of governmental capacity. I chose the APP because I wanted to expand my skill set and knowledge – I do not have an academic background in Agricultural sciences however at the time of applying I was fiercely interested in food security and agriculture as a development tool.

Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?

Yes, I did. It was incredibly helpful. Without the grant I would not have been able to participate in the program due to lack of personal funds.

Q: How will the Agriculture Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?

I was placed in an incredible company, which had a great influence on my future aspirations. Firstly, my boss who was very generous with his time- regularly encouraged myself and my fellow employees to be ambitious; moreover, also trusted in our abilities. My internship opened up to me the world of tech start-ups and ESG consultants- two areas where I know hold a great interest in. The practicum as a whole gave me a fantastic opportunity to not only gain experience in a professional setting but to also work abroad which has always been a goal of mine. This whole experience also gave me a realistic perspective on working abroad- I now have an idea of what it’s like to live as a Caucasian female in another country with different cultures to that of my own and also the associated challenges that come with this. Overall, this whole experience helped me to realise my potential.

 Q: Which organisation did you intern with? What were your roles and responsibilities?

I interned with Tanifund. My role/responsibility was to create a survey that I could use in the field to measure the social impacts that Tanifund has on its partner farmers. I then created a report of my findings, a report with recommendations for an improved survey and also a report geared to an investing bank. I was also fortunate enough to attend the opening of their Bali branch. While in Bali I worked with the media/marketing team.

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

My working environment was contemporary and innovative. One criticism I have is that, the working hours were long. I prefer to work fewer but more productive hours.

Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?

Yes. However, I whilst over there I did miss the outdoor based lifestyle that I get to enjoy in Australia.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?

Socialise with friends. Most often, I’d sleep or rest because my work weeks were so intense. I was okay with this because during the work week I’d get the chance to explore new parts of Indonesia, try new foods and meet new people all the time.

Q: Favourite place to eat and favourite Indonesian food?

Had a few favourite Warungs. Loved Burgreens.

Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?

“Roro jonggrang”

Q. What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?

Ubud and Uluwatu in Bali & Bandung, Cidaun, Ciwidey, Cienyan in West Java.

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