Not all placements are in Bali or Labuan Bajo
The first thing you should note about the Paradise Interns internship is that not all the marketing internships are in places you know. Most interns complete their marketing experience in Labuan Bajo or the Gilis. However, there are a diverse range of placements that are more off the beaten track where you can learn digital marketing in remote areas.
About my Paradise Interns placement in Raja Ampat
My placement was in Raja Ampat which is in West Papua. This part of Indonesia is the wild west of the country and is very different from the rest of it. The people that live there are ethnically different, and look different as well. This part of the country is very remote and contains different wildlife.
It should be noted that I specifically asked to be placed in Raja Ampat in my interview. This placement is quite a bit more remote than other placements in the program, and Anna screens applicants carefully to make sure the intern placed here is one that is interested in this placement.
This blog will go over some of the issues I faced in my marketing experience, but it is not me simply moaning. My internship ran from November to March (my time on-site in Indonesia was unfortunately cut short by six weeks due to coronavirus). This is the high season for Raja Ampat, though the diving is insane all year round.
My placement was a diving internship with Scuba Republic Raja Ampat. I stayed at the Scuba Republic resort which is about 30 minutes drive from the town of Waisai. To get there I had to take two flights (with an 8-hour layover in Makassar), a taxi, a ferry and then a car. I wasn’t lying when I said it was remote and far from Bali!
The island of Waigeo where I was staying is covered in pristine jungle and this extended right up to the resort. My accommodation for the marketing internship was a traditional style wooden building. I shared this building with anywhere between two to eight of the dive instructors and guides.
Challenges and how to overcome them
Signing up for a marketing internship in a remote area can be a daunting prospect. Just being in Indonesia presents challenges for a marketing experience. Raja Ampat and the jungle can be a whole new level. A lot of the issues I encountered were still issues to a lesser extent for other interns. The solutions to some of the problems could still be work in less remote places.
At Bootcamp, we were warned that all the interns would have problems with bad wifi at some point.
Raja Ampat has NO WIFI!
This does present a problem for an internship where all the work is submitted online, and all the mentorship and feedback is given online as well. Kind of the point of a digital marketing internship is that it needs the internet!
Wifi – The solution
Phone internet (data) was the only solution. This worked surprisingly well most of the time. The resort had good signal with a Telkomsel SIM card and I purchased 50GB of data a month. This didn’t cost a ridiculous amount and usually lasted me the month if I was careful.
There were times when I was completely out of internet for a few days in some of the more remote parts of Raja Ampat. The solution to this was to plan ahead and get on top of my work. The locals knew exactly where and when we would get signal.
The main thing I did to solve this problem was to move as much of my work offline as I could. I dispensed with online packages such as Canva early in my marketing experience. By learning Adobe Illustrator and recreating my design templates, I was able to do more work without the internet.
I adjusted some of my own personal workflows to minimise the number of times I had to upload and download files. By being strict with how I organised my files I was able to only upload as opposed to downloading and uploading.
Not to be pretentious but it’s amazing how much you appreciate electricity when you don’t have it!
Raja Ampat does not have 24hr power.
Well, that’s not strictly true as Waisai and Sorong do have a main grid. This didn’t extend as far as our resort and our electricity came from a generator. This was on all evening and night but was off during the day. The exact times of power varied greatly.
The homestays I stayed at and some of the villages had even less electricity. Some of them only had the generators on for a few hours each night.
Electricity – Solution
I knew I was coming to Raja Ampat in advance so I’d packed plenty of power banks for my phone. I also had a small solar charger for my phone. My laptop was more of an issue.
The first thing I did was to always make sure I charged my laptop fully when the power was on. I also adjusted my working hours so I did as much as I could when I did have electricity. This had the added advantage that it meant I had the days free for diving.
The second was to do as much work as I could on phone apps. For my marketing internship work, I changed my workflow around the constraints.
I used my laptop to do tasks that needed it such as photo editing and graphic design. I then uploaded the media to the respective sites. I would take my phone on the boat with me and complete all my caption writing and interacting with followers in breaks between diving.
By breaking tasks down into phone and laptop I was able to make the most of the electricity I had. If you are looking to work in a remote location with limited electricity, consider getting a second battery for your laptop to switch out or a specialised laptop power bank.
As a marketing experience goes, the jungle was one of the bits that I did have to get used to.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of insects and frogs in the jungle. We had about 8 frogs move into the ceiling of our room and they would call to each other all night.
It also rains A LOT in the jungle and it’s humid almost all the time. I’m an underwater photographer and I found the humidity to be a huge issue. I’d brought silica sachets with me to ensure my camera case was free from moisture. These were, however, soon fully saturated.
The jungle – Solution
The first real problem of insects and other wildlife isn’t really a problem. It’s just something you have to get used to. The jungle is their home and they were here first. Mosquito spray and a mosquito net is your best bet.
There isn’t much you can do about the rain in the jungle other than taking advantage of the sun you do get to dry clothes. I also found that there was less rain away from the islands so would sometimes take clothes to dry on the boat.
For my camera, I would definitely bring more silica sachets with me next time. The workaround I found was to put my camera in its case on the jetty as it was drier away from the jungle. I managed to get a few more silica sachets as well which helped. I would put my silica in the oven on a low temperature for around an hour each night to dry them out which also worked.
Why digital marketing in remote areas is all worth it
My marketing experience in Raja Ampat was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done. One of the big advantages to being so remote is that the wildlife is relatively untouched.
The diving is the best I’ve ever done. It was rare that I wouldn’t see something new that I’d never seen before every day. On the boat we would see whales, swordfish and manta rays breaching. Underwater I saw oceanic manta rays, ornate ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorses. The amount of big predatory fish is out of this world.
It doesn’t stop on land either. I got to trek through the jungle and see the birds of paradise. I also had an encounter with a friendly cuscus at one of the homestays.
If you ever get the chance to go somewhere like this that is off the beaten track, my advice would be to take it. It’s amazing what you can still get done and produce in the most remote locations. If you’re interested in doing something like this contact Paradise Interns or apply here!