I can’t say “I read a book and it changed my life”. But at the tender age of 21, I can say “I interned at a neuroscience startup in Bali for a month and it changed my life.” I study psychology, economics, and business at university. And like many students, I was struggling to decide what to do after graduation.
I knew I was the type of person that would be unhappy working at a corporation. And the world of academia fascinated me, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend my life as an academic.
Earlier this year, I applied for Start Me Up and was assigned a placement at a neurofeedback brain training startup that uses quantitative EEG technology to brain map clients and offers tailored wellness programs. This was a perfect match for me, in terms of my academic specialisms.
My duties were a mix of business development and scientific research. Using my background in statistics, I derived a composite score for use in consultations with clients. I also got the chance to learn how to create effective marketing materials, like writing landing pages. Right away, I got real responsibilities that would have an actual impact on the business.
But having important responsibilities is not the only great thing about working at a startup.
During my work days, I worked from a co-working space where many startup founders work together in a shared open office.
Being in such a diverse and social environment was one of the things that I enjoyed the most about my internship.
I got to meet with many talented and interesting entrepreneurs, I attended their amazing sharing sessions and talks, chatted with them about their life stories over after-work drinks and built a valuable international network that will help me for life.
I think what makes Start Me Up so unique is the fact that it connects you to startups from all around the world. For me, working in Bali meant traveling literally to the other side of the globe alone, something that I have never done in my life before. Stepping onto that plane to Bali, a place that is totally foreign to me, meant jumping out of my comfort zone. And being challenged in this way is the best way to learn.
Living in Bali was paradise. I crammed in so many new experiences. From exploring the island on my motorbike and surfing in Kuta to partying at a silent disco, relaxing at a beach club in Canggu and climbing Mount Batur, an active volcano. There are so many incredible things to do on the island.
Now that I’m home I’m more confident to pursue my own path. I’m specializing in behavioral subjects as part of my graduate studies and plan to turn that research experience and knowledge into a business. And I have the confidence to do this because I’ve seen the exact same thing happening at the startup that I worked for.
Aside from helping me with my career aspirations, my time in Bali also made me very much grow personally.
I’m not exaggerating when I describe my experience as “life changing”. And if I had to pinpoint the best thing about my magical month in Bali, it’s the sense that right now anything seems possible.