The Virtual Business Professional Practicum with ACICIS

By Adelaide Pope

Adelaide Pope rounded out her studies in the Bachelor of Commerce by joining the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies. Hear what it was like as she took her studies international and online.

Over my winter break I was introduced to the colourful and unique country that is Indonesia through my participation in a Business Professional Practicum (BPP) with the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). After a month-long ACICIS educational syllabus sponsored by a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant, I completed an Internship with the Institute for the Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF), a prominent research institution based in Jakarta.

Going into this program I had very limited knowledge of Indonesia but was instantly hooked by the nation’s rich culture and complex socio-economic landscape. I am so glad that I took the leap of faith to participate!

Adelaide Pope
BCom Student Adelaide Pope

With cultural training tailored specifically to young Australians – through studies of Indonesia’s history, exposure to contemporary social issues, opportunities to engage with various forms of media, a language-intensive hosted by Atma Jaya University, and rich discussions with some high-profile Indonesian economists and policy-makers – this program is both holistic and fascinating. The course also maintained connections to the current COVID-19 situation in Indonesia – which at the time of writing was the global epicentre – and began to unpack some of the nation’s unique challenges, strategies, and opportunities that have emerged in light of the pandemic.

As well as forming relationships with my Business Practicum peers, I was also able to learn alongside other Practicum students in my cultural and language classes. These students majored in a range of disciplines from Agriculture to Journalism, and I really enjoyed hearing their different perspectives. For a virtual program, the relationships developed in this way was a happy surprise, and really added to my overall experience. ‘Social Zooms’ were a weekly occurrence and provided a platform for all participants and facilitators to get to know one another whilst sharing our placement experiences and insights with the wider cohort. Although optional, I think this was incredibly valuable in promoting regular self-reflection and fostering a sense of community – two things that made this program so special.

With my placement at INDEF I was given a range of analytical and research-based tasks that continued to develop my understanding of the unique business landscape that Indonesia boasts, as well as its place in the wider global economic landscape. My long-term project is related to Indonesia’s Industrial Relations landscape, and the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic and the new Omnibus Laws will have on its evolution, and the welfare of workers and companies alike. With support from my mentor, I was able to refine my skills of problem-solving, critical-thinking, and report-writing, and know that these will be invaluable for my continuing studies and subsequent career.

Although my placement was completed remotely and in my own time throughout the semester, the check-ins with my mentor and the opportunities I had to interact with economists and policy-makers were exceptionally valuable, and something I know I could not have gained from either a general university subject or a general internship. The organisation was open to tailoring their tasks to suit my interests, and very generous in their time and interest in my development as a young professional.

As Australia’s closest neighbour and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, business opportunities in Indonesia are abundant – but also not without their unique challenges. I am so grateful for the grounding I now have in this nation’s culture, economic and legal landscape, and cannot wait to apply this, and my new language skills, non-virtually as soon as COVID permits! Terima Kasih ACICIS dan INDEF!