Student experience - Riley Bennett
Riley Bennett was a participant in the pilot iteration of the Agriculture Professional Practicum. Riley is a Bachelor of Agricultural Science student, and received a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to support his experience. This article was originally posted on the ACICIS website.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake ACICIS’ Agriculture Professional Practicum?
I really wanted travel and learn about tropical agriculture – the APP provided an opportunity to do both!
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? If so, how did this contribute to your experience in Indonesia?
Yes. Receiving the grant covered all my tuition fees. All other expenses (flights, accommodation, food etc) were covered by an OS-HELP Loan. Receiving the grant and the OS-HELP loan allowed me to travel and study with financial security.
Q: How will the Agriculture Professional Practicum benefit or influence your future career?
Through the 4-week internship which the APP provided, I was able to develop my understanding of agribusiness, marketing and tropical agriculture. Living and working in a different culture also helped improve my social and interpersonal skills which will benefit me for years to come.
Q: Which organisation did you intern with? What were your roles and responsibilities?
I interned with BLST (Bogor Life Science and Technology). During my time at BLST, I worked with three different start-up companies, Fits Mandiri, Botani Seed and Serambi Botani. My time interning was jam-packed and everyday was a new learning experience. The majority of my time at Fits Mandiri and Serambi Botani was spent reviewing their products, marketing methods and comparing it to those in Australia. During my week with Botani Seed I visited their orchard where they grow and sell a range of high-quality seedlings to Indonesian fruit producers.
Q: How have you found the work culture of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
I found that most of my Indonesian colleagues were generally hard-working – often working overtime without any extra pay to get the job done. BLST was a very supportive environment to work and within the three offices which I worked they always made space and made me feel very welcome!
Q: Would you like to return to work in Indonesia again in future?
Yes!! I spent every weekend in Indonesia exploring as much of Java as possible (you HAVE to visit Tumpak Sewu). Despite this, there is still so much more I want to see and experience on Java and the rest of Indonesia – so I’ll definitely be back!
I became very interested with Australian-Indonesian trade and I would jump at the opportunity to work with / in Indonesia if it arises in the coming years.
Whether it is work, a business venture or a holiday, I cant wait to go back.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time in Indonesia?
I didn’t really get a whole lot of spare time whilst in Indonesian as I was always travelling or catching up with Indonesian / APP friends! When I did get spare time I usually relaxed at my kos or got a massage.
Q: Favourite place to eat and favourite Indonesian food?
I found a little warung on the way to work which served the BEST mie ayam (chicken noodles)! It was my usual go-to breakfast and it was great to get to know the owner and other regulars… and did I mention it only costs $1 for a full bowl of noodles and a hot tea?!
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase?
Q. What places in Indonesia have you visited during your practicum so far?
During the 2019 APP we were based in Bogor at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) which was a beautiful campus that was practically a jungle in some areas. My internship was also in Bogor, so I got to explore much of the city including their famous botanical gardens where the Indonesian President often stayed on the weekend. I spent weekends traveling around Java and spent time in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Malang… I love an adventure and some places I experienced include Kawah Ratu, Mt Bromo and Tumpak Sewu (definitely recommend a visit to all three).