Indonesia Expat
Education Meet the Expats

Interning in Paradise | Julie van der Meer Mohr

Julie van der Meer Mohr

Julie is Operational Manager of Internship Bali; an agency with a unique approach, placing students and growth-oriented individuals in exciting internships while meeting university requirements.

What is your background?

I was born and raised in Holland. My father has Indonesian roots so I was always attracted to this country. After having a few holidays here and spending several months volunteering with street kids in Lombok, I completed my Bachelors thesis interning with the Foundation Sjaki Tari Us from 2009 to 2011. My research was about children with mental disabilities and the knowledge and attitudes towards these disabilities in the local communities. The results of this research created information programs currently used by hospitals, teachers and parents. The next two years I was operational manager for Bali Eco Cycling Tours and in charge of guest relations, staff management, scheduling, marketing and public relations.

You have such a diverse background. When did you join Internship Bali?

I joined Theo Burggraaff, the founder of our organization, in September 2013. My background makes it easy for me to relate to our clients who apply to intern in many different areas and to mediate for our clients in the many different aspects of their experience here in Bali. My personal mission with Internship Bali is to create better understanding between the western world and Indonesia. By bringing young knowledgeable people here to Bali, both parties can benefit from this.

What is your role as an operational manager?

I find suitable placement for students and help them in their stay here. I am the contact person, mediator and account manager for and between the local companies, the students and the universities. We also arrange the practical side such as living arrangements, transportation and any other needs the student may require.

What are the most popular internships?

There are three main areas of internships:

Health and Social Services – The students for these positions have already interned in their home countries and are extending their university experience in fields such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work and paramedics at hospitals and local foundations for onsite experience.

Hospitality – These internships are at hotels, restaurants, bars and other public venues. We get a lot of requests for these positions from all over the world. The positions involve facility maintenance, food and beverage management, direct operations, and customer services.

Business – The businesses involved range from surf companies to property rentals and sales to import/export and fashion. Bali is experiencing large economic growth and we see new businesses developing every year.

In which areas of expertise are interns most needed?

Marketing and sales, especially when it is a company established for the international market.

What is the application process and the costs and criteria involved?

Interested parties may apply online at our website or on our Facebook page. Applications may also be made directly through the university a student attends. It is free to apply and pass the interviews. We charge only after the contract with the host company is assigned. The criteria vary according to professions. For instance, nursing applicants are placed in April and November of each year. We consider all professionals for placement in voluntary internships. Students must meet the standards that their respective universities require, as well as the host facility. I love to travel around Bali and am always looking for new internships for my students. I am always available to have personal conversations with students or interested professionals to connect them with suitable companies. Skype is a great tool we use for personal communication between applicants and prospective companies.

What services does Internship Bali offer its interns?

Our basic package includes placement and ongoing guidance throughout their intern experience. We do the sponsorship letter for their visa. We arrange for airport pickup as well as accommodation, transportation, phones and most all necessary aspects of expat life here in Bali. I am here to counsel and liaise whenever necessary, especially in situations which may arise between the intern and their sponsoring company or any problems they may have in adjusting to their new environment. Many countries such as The Netherlands help students with agency fees and cost of living while doing an internship abroad, and students may actually save money by coming here!

What are the biggest challenges for new interns?

This is not Jakarta or a big city. It is Bali and things are done differently. Ceremonies and traditional culture will many times take precedence over work schedules. Companies here are still learning exactly what internships are. Interns work on points and reports for university credits.

Do you have any special intern experiences to share?

We had a physical therapist come here to intern with disabled people. He was shocked and described some of their culture-based beliefs and attitudes towards disabilities as “unbelievable”. He came to me quite distressed also by some of the methods implemented, which conflicted with his training in the West as a physical therapist. We had a talk about it all and he returned to work with more patience and understanding. He gained a propensity to share his knowledge in a way acceptable to all involved. It is a year later and he is back here volunteering while his wife is here interning as a nurse.

How do internships in Bali help students become better professionals and how do interns impact businesses here?

Interning abroad, especially in a place like Bali; rich in culture and diversity with a growth economy, will expand one’s outlook on life and teach interns to deal with more complex, complicated issues while still gaining knowledge. Professionalism is experience-related. Patience is learned quickly. Students learn their profession in a holiday destination while still working, so they are not just tourists. On their days off they are in paradise. The companies gain fresh, new ideas and input while learning different ways of dealing with growth through working with a younger, more western mindset. Interns share their knowledge of global trends and marketing. Both parties benefit and learn different ways of doing the same thing from each other. It is a win-win situation for all involved!

To get in touch with Julie, please email [email protected]

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