What’s it like interning at The Yak Magazine in Bali? Our latest intakes – Fereshtah and Billie – offer their insights on how they came to join us, what they expected … and what they found once they arrived from their home countries.
Billie Clarijs went from Holland to Bali with an internship at The Yak. She hasn’t looked back.
My name is Billie and I would like to take you on my personal journey from being a student in the Netherlands to an internship in Bali. I had been planning to do my internship abroad for a long time as I wanted to experience this adventure once in my life, and although I had never been away from home before for so long I knew for sure that this would be good for my personal development. To me this would be a big step, but I was ready for it.
Choosing the right destination was not that difficult. I wanted to go to a place where a different culture reigned, a place where it was always warm and a place where there were many possibilities. Bali was the first place that came to mind.
I quickly set things in motion. I decided not to arrange the internship myself as I had no connections in Bali. Instead I went looking for an agency and soon I found one that appealed to me Stage Indonesie. After less than two weeks I already had contact with a company from Bali, The Yak Magazine. They wanted to accept me as a trainee. I was glad that I had been accepted by a company so quickly because then I could focus on other important issues, such as applying for a visa and booking my flight. My accommodation in Bali (where I would stay for five months) was arranged by my agency, which also arranged many other things. They have made my stay here a lot simpler than it would otherwise have been.
I flew to Bali on Sunday, January 29, 2018 and arrived the next day around noon. It was a culture shock, I have to say. The owner of the guesthouse where I had been placed did not speak English, so communication was difficult. Instead we used Google Translate. Once I settled in my room, I thought I would go for a walk to see if I could find something to eat. That didn’t work as I could not find anything in the neighbourhood and there was nothing to do within walking distance. I had no scooter at this point so I couldn’t go to Kuta, but there was a girl I knew who had arrived the same day as me. Starving, I walked back to the guesthouse and suddenly I felt very alone. I was tired, hungry and there was no one who spoke English. At that point I honestly wondered whether I could keep this up for five months.
That same night I met the other girl who had arrived and she told me she was staying in a very nice guesthouse with many other students based in Kuta. She came around with two other students, and together we went out for a drink. I felt right at home at their lodgings and wanted to move immediately. Fortunately, there was still a room available and the next day I took it.
My first week in Bali was a holiday, and I got to see many beautiful places and quickly felt happy with my choice. The vibe here is good and the weather is warm – of course that helps!
Then it was time for work. My first day at The Yak started on Monday, February 5, and not knowing what to expect, I got on my scooter and headed to the office. I was warmly received, after which there was some explanation of how the company worked and what my role would be.
I’ve been working here for three weeks now and I am really enjoying it. Together with another trainee, we started a project called StudentsGoBali. We have set up an Instagram and a Facebook account for students on a budget who come to the island to do internships here. We approach companies that are attractive to students and we ask those companies if they want to help us with this project. Often we approach restaurants, bars and surf schools. Apart from placing content on our social media channels, we will also be active with content posting on the website of The Yak. It’s been a lot of fun.
It was mid November 2017 when Fereshtah Wahid emailed Belindo Internships, an agency that helps students to find work-study positions in Bali. Four months later she’s living in this little piece of paradise.
My internship has shown me not to have too many preconceived expectations in life. After I emailed Belindo Internships, they messaged me back through WhatsApp, which I found very weird. In Belgium WhatsApp is only used for informal communication so I was sceptical in the beginning. I just kept asking all the questions I needed an answers to and soon they offered me an internship at a golf club. I wasn’t interested so they kept searching, and then they told me The Yak was looking for students. I’d never heard about the magazine, so I started to do a bit of research and looked them up on their website and social media.
I loved their website and I found out that they are quite popular. I got a number for Nigel, the Editor, and we talked over Skype. I was so nervous. I looked up on Google what kind of questions he might ask me during the interview. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible … but in the end we we had a very relaxed conversation. Nigel looked very laid-back and he was smoking a cigarette, which I found funny, because in Belgium that would be considered a no-no. But he put me at ease and soon it was as if I was talking to a friend rather than a future boss.
Nigel was fine with me coming to Bali and becoming their intern. I felt really happy. Belindo, the internship agency, then started to help me with the necessary paperwork, offering me tips and searching for accommodation. The reason I reached out to this agency is because I was very busy with school and work at the time; I would recommend it if you absolutely have no clue about what you want to do and where you have to start.
When everything was arranged with my visa, tickets and accommodation, I was ready to pack and leave Belgium for four months. After a long flight with a delay of two hours I finally arrived at the airport. Belindo was waiting for me to pick me up and drove me to my place. They gave me a topped up SIM card and a goodie bag with a towel and some water and snacks in it. The next day they brought me my scooter. The guy explained how it worked and I tried to drive for a little bit, but it’s just not for me. I got really scared and that’s why I decided not to drive a scooter, but to order a Gojek. It’s similar to Uber and very easy to use. Their app is a lifesaver. You can do anything with it. So wherever I want to go, I order a Gojek driver to drive me to the location. It costs 2,000 Rupiah per kilometer which is about 10 euro cents. So cheap!
Before I started working at The Yak Magazine, the Editor took me to a meeting with an Australian guy. We had a few drinks while they were talking business. It was very relaxed, not the kind of meetings we have in Belgium. After that we went to a cocktail contest at a bar called 40 Thieves where Yak staff were on the jury. There was this vibrant atmosphere and people were having a good time. We had some more drinks before we headed back to our homes.
Shortly after that I started working at the magazine. I had no clue there would be another intern working with us, so that was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one. We started working together and set up a project where we feature some nice hotspots that are really cool for students to visit. Most students have a limited budget, so that’s why started different social media channels for students to inform them about where they have to be for the best cheap places. My journey at The Yak Magazine will continue until the end of May. I am excited because I feel I’m working for a great company in one of the best places in the world. What better of a combination does a student need?