Jessica Lochan-Jenkinson spent one month on Start Me Up’s Startup Gap Year Program in Bali.

What have you been doing over the past month?

For the past month I’ve been doing Start Me Up’s Gap Year Program version.

While here I’ve been trying to create my own clothes swap site. When I first came here I didn’t know what I wanted to do, until I sat down with someone from Start Me Up and really talked about my interests which is sustainable fashion.

It was something I wanted to take somewhere else, so I made a website called Retroswap which will host clothes swapping events and I would like to launch it in the UK when I get back.

Why did you decide to do a Start Me Up Gap Year Program?

I wanted to use my gap year time not just to travel but to learn skills as well and learn things that I wouldn’t necessarily pursue in university because at university people tend to just stick to their course and don’t branch out. With SMU though there are all these workshops that you can attend to pursue other interests.   

Did you take part in any workshops?

I’ve attended several workshops run by people with very successful businesses with great insights and tips on how to build a business from scratch, what we should and shouldn’t do.

Has your Start Me Up experience changed your outlook on work?

I definitely think so. I didn’t have any idea of the concept of co-working before so it really has opened my eyes on a different way of work. There are other options out there after university instead of just 9-5 type of jobs.

What did you find to be the most challenging?

It’s challenging because you’re kind of on holiday but you’re not really, so you’ll have to manage your time yourself and it’s down to you to put in the work and make the most out of the experience.

Are there key new skills that you’ve learned?

I’ve learned how to network a lot better that I knew how to do before. Being around new people has opened me up a lot more and also having new skills like building a website and designing it is probably the main thing that I’ve learned.

What’s been the best experience you have during the program?

Meeting everyone else in the program. I’ve made so many nice new friends and I really did not expect that everyone is just so nice. And everyone has the same kind of mindset as well so it’s nice to meet like minded people.

Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of doing the Start Me Up’s Gap Year program?

I would definitely say do it! And come here with an open mind because your ideas could change when you’re here. I sort of knew what I wanted to do but then my ideas developed over the weeks.

Do you like the idea of getting startup experience overseas?

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