“I was able to build greater resilience, and I surprised myself with my ability to overcome unplanned obstacles and ‘keep cool’ in situations such as an earthquake and navigating my way home at night solo.”
So says law student Sarah Locker, who spent six weeks in Jakarta on the ACICIS Law Professional Practicum study program this year.
For the first fortnight, Sarah and other students attended lectures taught by local legal practitioners and experts in English, and intensive Indonesian language lessons. That was followed by four weeks in a supervised practicum placement with a local or international legal firm, government authority or non-governmental organisation.
Sarah was placed with HukumOnline, a regulatory technology company specialising in English translations of Indonesian regulations and English publications. She edited translations, researched an Australian perspective on several Indonesian legal issues, and examined the effectiveness of the existing Indonesian legal framework in attracting foreign direct investment.
“It was really interesting to experience the real-world application of law,” the ANU Bachelor of Law (Honours) / Bachelor of Commerce third-year recalls.
“I was able to examine the practical effect of Indonesian regulations within the business sector and Indonesia more broadly.
“A particularly interesting task was examining the World Trade Organisation dispute between Indonesia and Australia in relation to tobacco plain packaging rules.”
Sarah says the ACICIS program was a chance to pursue her long-time aspiration of completing language studies and to build her professional network.
“Engagement by Australians with Indonesia is vital to building a prosperous shared future, and I was excited to be involved in this relationship in some small way through the ACICIS program.
“I think cultural competence is the greatest skill I have developed throughout this program.
“The opportunity to intern in an organisation speaking a different language and practicing different cultural conventions was a unique experience.”
Sarah recalls the intensive Bahasa Indonesia language program which proved vital during a torrential rainfall during her commute from work, and when her motorbike driver’s data failed, forcing her to provide directions in Indonesian and seek locals’ help.
Another highlight was travelling every weekend to various places including Sukabumi were she swam in a beautiful waterfall.
“I fell in love with Indonesian culture and food after this experience, and can now envisage a future working in this vibrant region,” she says.
“I gained some life-time friendships through this experience, both with students across many different Australian states and colleagues in Indonesia.
“I encourage everyone to apply for this wonderful experience. “