Xavier Leigh was a participant in the 2021 Virtual Law Professional Practicum. Xavier is studying a Bachelor Arts/Bachelor of Law (Hons.) at The University of Queensland. Xavier received a $3000 New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support his participation on this program.
Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I choose to complete the ACICIS LPP because I was looking for an opportunity to put three years of formal Indonesian language and cultural studies to practice.
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative? If yes, why?
Yes, I did receive the NCP Mobility Grant, and it was a catalyst in me being able to participate in this program. More generally, the initiative behind the New Colombo Plan will be instrumental in educating the next generation on matters that relate directly to Australia’s geographical home; that being the Asia-Pacific.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
I found the language classes incredibly enjoyable and felt as though it was a great way to conclude my formal Bahasa Indonesian language studies. With regard to the seminars, these provided me with a necessary background to Indonesia’s legal system and a platform that I was then able to learn more from during my placement.
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
I was interning with Dirga Putra Corporate Legal Services, a smaller yet highly professional, law firm located in Bali. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to be mentored directly by the firm’s partner and founder Dirga, who taught me so much about business and law in Indonesia.
Q: How have you found the work culture (albeit online) of your host organisation? How is it different to work experience in Australia?
Work is much more personal in nature in Indonesia than it is in Australia. Every week, we would begin with a Monday morning meeting that would include cheers to get everyone excited about the upcoming week, and we would often engage in CPD (continued professional development) presentations. These honed by professional legal skills and while CPD presentations are commonplace in Australia, they are usually viewed upon negatively by professions – who view them as just another task, rather than an opportunity to learn. Instead in Indonesia, everyone, including senior partners were enthusiastic and always ready to learn something new.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
While I was exposed to a huge range of corporate legal activities during my internship, what I gained most were soft skills: the ability to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, the ability to speak confidently with clients etc.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
The relationships I built with the entire DPCLS team, is something that I found very rewarding. I look forward to the day when I can return to Bali and enjoy a proper Balinese lunch with the team.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
Yes, absolutely. I learnt about Indonesian culture, in theory (during the seminars), but more importantly, in practice (during the placement).
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your future career?
As something interested in conducting business in Indonesia, the chance to learn about Indonesian business practically and firsthand is something that would not have been possible without a program such as this.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
While luar biasa (i.e. hari ini luar biasa – today is extraordinary) is my favourite word, the phrase I used the most would have to have been maaf sekali (sorry) which I must have said hundreds of times during my placement.
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Engaging, exciting and educational.