Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar) has a number of international cooperations with many agencies and institutions, one of which is the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). This consortium provides the opportunity for Australian citizens to study in Indonesia for a full semester. Unpar is host to the International Relations Program and West Java Field Study . The program is funded by the Australian government through the New Colombo Plan.
In the second semester of 2016/2017, Unpar received as many as 14 students of ACICIS. After serving one semester at Unpar, five students of ACICIS did not just go straight back to Australia. One student of ACICIS, Narelle Wilson, used the time to join an internship at the AKATIGA Foundation. She will extend her residence permit in Indonesia until this July. The internship program is held from June 5 to July 28, 2017. AKATIGA is a non-profit research institute that directs itself to be the leading reference for the study of the marginalized people in Indonesia, through research, advocacy, and knowledge exchange.
Before following the ACICIS program, Wilson worked and settled temporarily in Hong Kong. Even so, she remains registered as an active student of Murdoch University and is studying online. Her experience in Hong Kong sparked her interest to study the diversity and complexity of cultures in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. According to her, to understand more about Indonesian culture she needs time to live in several cities in Indonesia.
The student who came from Melbourne, Australia is excited to learn the methodology and implementation of social research and program development. So, she chose to have an internship at the AKATIGA Foundation in the “Professional Placement Program ACICIS”. AKATIGA field of concentration also attracted Narelle. “ AKATIGA is recognized as being an established and experienced research organization, particularly in the area of researching and helping marginalized peoples, in reducing inequality, empowering women and providing education programs, to name a few, and this is done by working with the communities in a knowledge exchange and training activities which is inclusive of the community and sustainable, “she said.
Student Internships benefits for Expats
Wilson believes that by doing social research in these areas will help in understanding the causes of social violence and extreme behavior of society, because she specifically interested in counter-terrorism . Besides, she added, “I have a strong interest in Social Cohesion and reducing inequality and marginalization. I hoped to learn how to design programs and policy at a grass roots level to overcome social problems. ”
During the internship period, Wilson is asked to assist researchers in AKATIGA in the preparation of proposals for funding. She helped in the publication of an annual report that is being drafted. AKATIGA Foundation has asked Wilson to edit a summary of a variety of successful projects implemented in the last fiscal year. The editing process is done to ensure the explanation of the objectives and achievement of project results are correct. For that purpose, she should read the entire project report so that nothing is forgotten. In addition, Wilson was asked to check the grammar and edit a number of documents written in English.
Meanwhile, Wilson helped senior researchers in preparing funding proposal for a new project. The project is a cooperation program between the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Indonesian government, and the organization will be selected for funding. According to Wilson, the program is very interesting because it provides for early childhood development aged three to six years, which is the age group of children in Bogor. This age group accounted for 53 percent of the demographics of children who do not receive education or attend school.
“I am asked to attend some meetings and invited and encouraged to make comments and/or ask questions or seek clarification,” she added.
Although Wilson’s Indonesian Language expertise is still limited, she hopes that through this internship program language skills can be honed. AKATIGA Foundation does not require Wilson to speak fluent Indonesian. However, in order to communicate with the community in which AKATIGA is involved, including the staff, she took advantage of the use of the Indonesian language.
In addition to engaging in research, she will immerse herself into the field to obtain the necessary data for her study. Based on the three responsibilities of Higher Education, which consists of education, research, and community service, they are integral and interrelated. Education learned needs to be transformed into the research and the results of education and research devoted to the community in various forms.
AKATIGA conducts a number of studies to evaluate the program and policy of the Indonesian government in alleviating poverty. AKATIGA research results are influential in government policy-making. Thus, the AKATIGA Foundation always highlights the issues of agrarian, labor matters, small-micro enterprises, and governance. The four themes that represent resources that should be accessible to the disprivilaged in order to escape from the cycle of poverty.