Recent Cambridge University engineering graduate Ian Leung, reflects on his time on Start Me Up’s Startup Internship Program.

Have you ever only had corporate internships? Or are you wondering what working for a startup would be like? If so, Start Me Up’s program is almost certainly for you.

Being on the Start Me Up program gave me a unique experience in Bali. The exposure to startups and their founders was incredible. During my time in Bali, I worked as part of the startup community across a variety of business sectors. Initially, I started working for a travel-tech startup to help them redesign their help and support section. But I also took on a consulting project for an SEO startup in the second part of my placement.

I was given a lot of freedom to design their process workflow and I helped them integrate this process. I learned how to use different tools to help them automate more of their business, helping them streamline their processes. Working for a startup is high impact and you get to make a big difference to the way it operates.

During my time in Bali, I also met so many great people: from YouTube vloggers with 100,000 subscribers and programmers developing apps to rival Uber and founders giving up their corporate life to start a business in Bali. Everyone has a unique story.

What surprised me the most was the popularity of the startup scene in Bali. It’s surprisingly diverse. If you’ve considered Silicon Valley as a career option, Bali is definitely a place where you can get a feel for whether you would enjoy life at a startup.

You get to experience working for a startup without the pressure that comes in Silicon Valley. Here people juggle successful startups with fun. Barely anyone follows the 9-5 routine – people prefer to surf in the morning before getting down to work in the afternoon. Previously, I thought all successful startups would require more hours than a normal corporate job, a reputation that is seen within Silicon Valley. But this was definitely not the case in Bali.

It’s more than just working. Hitting a creative block? Go surfing. Need a place to chill? Go watch the sunset at the beach. Feeling hungry? Hop on a scooter for five minutes and find all types of cuisines available to you. There are so many opportunities and the social/nightlife scene is great.

My highlight on this trip was climbing Mount Batur, which was organized by Start Me Up. Setting off from home at 1 am, we reached the summit at sunrise and admired the beauty of Bali. The people, the startup scene, and the activities make Bali a fantastic place to intern. For me, this experience has made me definitely think twice about going into corporate.

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