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

What have you been doing in Bali? 

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

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 talked about my interest in 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 plan 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 you wouldn’t necessarily pursue at university. With Start Me Up there are all these workshops that you can attend which allow you to pursue other interests.”

Did you take part in any workshops?

“I’ve attended several workshops run by people with very successful businesses. They had great insights and tips on how to build a business from scratch, and advice on 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 aside from 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 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. 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 everyone has the same kind of mindset.”

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.”

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