Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
As the global pandemic continues to unfold before us, the future is uncertain and so are our opportunities to explore. With travel restrictions in place and my University studies coming to an end, I did not want to remain docile. Rather, I saw an opportunity to expand my knowledge and cultural experiences of one of our closest and most significant neighbours in the Indo-Pacific. The ACICIS virtual internship was one of the only opportunities to meaningfully grasp immersive encounters with new ideas, experts, academics and students from both Australia and Indonesia. What better way to immerse yourself than from the comfort of my all-exciting bedroom!
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
Yes indeed – I was very fortunate to receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant! As Australia’s foremost scholarship to the Indo-Pacific, the NCP has served to be invaluable in forging the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Australia. Without this opportunity, I would not have forged meaningful connections that have fostered my interest in the rich educational and cultural opportunities that Indonesia has to offer. Being apart of the New Colombo Plan network will undoubtedly provide future experiences to learn and grow alongside like-minded students.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
The language classes have been one of the most rewarding experiences from the program. Practicing almost every day was rather challenging but it was worth it. By the end I was pleasantly surprised by how much I had picked up and how motivated I felt to pursue bahasa in the future! The wealth of knowledge provided by seminars had exceeded my expectations, offering a newfound cross-cultural perspective on issues such as Indonesia’s macro-economic and legal reform, government policies and its emerging digital market. I enjoyed hearing from the high calibre of speakers that were both inspiring and engaging revealing the wonderful intricacies of Indonesia.
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
Working with Dagadu – a T-Shirt design company renowned for celebrating the natural landscapes and cultural wealth of Yogyakarta took myself and my fellow intern Nadya as their marketing and design researchers! We worked primarily on research and proposed new strategies in which Dagadu could transform itself within a rapidly growing digital sphere and the restrictive nature of a global pandemic. Whilst creatively problem solving, I was able to provide a unique Australian input alongside Nadya’s local perspective as she had grown up in Indonesia. Gaining an understanding of an international organisation outside of Australia has given me fresh experience on how companies operate in an ever-expanding international market.
Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
My experience with my host organisation has been so enjoyable. Working within an all-female environment was both empowering and enlightening. Asking questions, curiosity and creating a learning environment was highly encouraged and wonderfully fostered by my mentor Agra.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
- Time management and a sense of accountability.
- Thinking critically and applying the cultural knowledge I gained from seminars and language classes to my placement.
- Adapting my interpersonal skills as being on the ‘virtual’ can sometimes feel less ‘human’.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
Indonesia’s rich culture and sense of unity was one of the most profound discoveries that I have made on my virtual journey. From seminars about Indonesia’s overwhelming Covid-19 impact to watching ‘Jalanan’ a documentary that followed the lives of 3 buskers, I had always found myself admiring the strength, resilience, and uplifting nature of Indonesian identity. I also discovered niche semblances to Bengali, a language I speak at home. Knowing that there are similarities in my own background through language and cultural practices, I am excited to continue my journey and one day experiencing it in person.
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your career?
This virtual internship has fuelled my passion to research further into a field that I was initially unfamiliar with. Discovering a new pathway – Corporate Social Responsibility, I have learnt the importance of the private sector to take an active role in sustainability. Studying how this is a prevalent component of all businesses in Indonesia I hope to use the valuable connections and high calibre of speakers that were introduced to us by ACICIS to gain further knowledge and solidify my networks in this field. With a multitude of networking opportunities that were available to us and the future alumni program, I am excited to continue to learn and further my appreciation and respect for Indonesia. Immersing myself and gaining exposure to an organisation that shared the same vision I do has helped me to differentiate myself from graduates, instilling a sense of confidence that I can make a difference in my field.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
Absolutely, the ACICIS team have worked tirelessly to provide such an excellent program that has benefited both myself and all participants greatly. Their warm and welcoming nature did not go unnoticed and I hope to be involved in another ACICIS program in the future!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Sampai jumpa lagi! (See you again!)
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Stimulating, Impactful, Challenging