How I gained fresh cultural and career perspectives as an intern in Bali, with Intern Abroad HQ

As a Bachelor of Science student, Majoring in Food Science, Sophie joined a Food Science & Technology internship in Bali to gain more insight into diverse cultural foods and environmental sustainability. Additionally, as a solo traveler, Sophie was exposed to fresh social challenges, with the goal to develop enhanced life skills for entering the workforce. Read on to learn about what made her internship in Bali interesting and impactful!

Hi Sophie! What made you want to do this internship abroad?

Choosing this international internship was driven by a strong desire for personal growth, cultural immersion, and expanding my global perspective. Experiencing a foreign environment firsthand provided me with a unique opportunity to navigate unfamiliar territories independently. The further development of confidence, adaptability, and the exploration involved with the freedom to connect was invaluable. A standout memory - which solidified that I had made the right decision to go abroad - was exploring the vibrant landscapes of Bali. Engaging with diverse individuals across professions and age groups further enriched my experience!

How did you settle into your internship in Bali?

I quickly felt at home with the warm and inviting team in a serene workplace overlooking a lush garden. The laid-back workplace culture and unstructured schedule fostered autonomy and allowed me to connect with colleagues from different departments. Getting involved in various tasks provided fresh perspectives and deepened my understanding of Balinese culture. However, navigating the differences in approaches, such as workplace culture, communication, and organization posed challenges compared to what I was accustomed to.

How I gained fresh cultural and career perspectives as an intern in Bali

What did your internship role involve?

As a Food Science & Technology intern in Bali, I gained insight into running a small business with a focus on self-sustainability and community empowerment. My responsibilities included contributing to brand enhancement through consumer-focused initiatives such as revamping marketing materials, updating website content, and researching international leads. Additionally, I developed innovative product ideas using local ingredients, conducted trials and scientific research, and proposed initiatives like transforming the onsite library into a tea-tasting room. Working in manufacturing provided hands-on experience and understanding the process from raw ingredients to consumer-ready products.

How did the internship experience empower you?

The internship empowered me by witnessing strong female leadership and fostering a deeper appreciation for sustainability. Recognising the global significance of food, I was motivated to learn from diverse backgrounds and from generational knowledge. My passion for innovation and sustainable approaches drives me to seek a career aligned with these principles. Engaging with companies driving change in this field excites me, fuels my creativity, and enriches my understanding of diverse cultures.

Explore internships with Intern Abroad HQ

What were some of the challenging aspects of your internship?

The culture shock of a new way of life all while trying to settle in was the most challenging adjustment. In the early days, it was an adjustment finding comfort in solo traveling, however, it came to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of my trip. Removing my norms to embrace a new workplace was challenging at times to adjust to. Bali’s relaxed work environment contrasted with my previous structured settings and required flexibility. Adapting to different communication styles for work also took time and finding the balance between conveying the messages indirectly, as was the observed style, while still effectively communicating the message, proved to be a learning curve.

Did you have to overcome a language barrier?

I was relieved to find English was commonly spoken in Bali, though fluency varied. To overcome any language barriers, I adjusted my speech by slowing down and enunciating words to enhance comprehension. I used my body language more, especially hand gestures, to visually illustrate what I was trying to convey if there was confusion. Patience was crucial, and approaching communication with understanding, compassion, and without judgment was vital. Even with limited conversations, the effort to be friendly and convey warmth through smiling spoke volumes about one’s character.

How I gained fresh cultural and career perspectives as an intern in Bali

What were some of the cultural highlights you experienced?

The most predominant religion in Bali is Hinduism and some cultural highlights included witnessing significant religious celebrations at local temples, organized street marches for public ceremonies, and the practice of daily offerings like Canang Sari. Additionally, experiencing Tumpek Uduh (a special ceremony to honor all plants) provided insight into the deeply integrated culture and religious practices of Bali. These experiences deeply influenced my perspective, fostering a greater appreciation for my cultural roots which previously I felt disconnected from in a Westernized society.

What advice would you give to future interns in Bali?

My advice to future interns in Bali would be to immerse themselves in the local environment as much as possible. Each small interaction contributes to broadening your perspective.

Embrace the freedom that comes with being in a different place, and remain open to new experiences and cultures. Start with a blank slate and avoid imposing expectations from your home country or culture as the initial discomfort often stems from unfamiliarity.

Focus on gaining experience by connecting with people, exploring the local cuisine, appreciating art and history, and immersing yourself in the environment. Embracing change and new experiences will make the unfamiliar feel more familiar over time.

I recommend proactively planning your time after work during the weekdays and weekends to maximize your time and cover all the activities you want to do. It’s helpful to identify locations, activities, or restaurants you’re interested in and mark them on Google Maps. This way, when you’re in the area, you’ll have a ready list of places to visit, making it easier to plan your itinerary and navigate efficiently, especially if you’re using transportation services like GoJek scooters.

Overall, Engage fully in your surroundings to broaden your insights and enrich your experiences, allowing you to share them with others!

How I gained fresh cultural and career perspectives as an intern in Bali

Ready to get started with your own internship?

Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly - just submit your application to get the ball rolling. It doesn’t cost anything to apply and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.


290+ internship programs across 26 countries

290+ internship programs across 26 countries

Placements tailored to your academic requirements or career interests
Exclusive experiential learning curriculum

Exclusive experiential learning curriculum

We help you develop and articulate the soft skills most favored by employers
Most affordable & flexible

Most affordable & flexible

We organize everything, including local accommodation, from only $1129 USD
Participate in-country or remotely

Participate in-country or remotely

Immerse yourself in the local culture, or intern from anywhere