As a Paradise Intern, one of the many perks is that you’re now living in a dope vacation spot. For most people this is a dramatic lifestyle change. On top of starting a new marketing internship, you’re also adjusting to life on island time.
As with any new situation, there are always challenges on the other end of those sweet benefits. So I’m going to help you avoid some of the mistakes I made when making the transition, and tell you what I learned from my digital marketing experience while living on an island in Indonesia.
Well first of all, you did it! You’ve finally made it to that island life you’ve always dreamed of. After the initial disbelief that this is now your home has washed over, you realize that island life does not equal vacation life. Although every tourist and backpacker is living it up and enjoying everything the island has to offer, you’re here for different reasons. So you need to approach it like any new move, even if you are living on a fun-filled island.
Making friends is important, but it’s not a priority
I know, this sounds harsh. As an extremely extroverted human, this was definitely my priority when I first arrived. But this ended up being a huge distraction and wasn’t allowing me to make good use of my time.
Moving to a new place and not knowing anyone can be intimidating, and if you’re a social person your first instinct may be to make some friends as soon as possible to ease the transition. However, this doesn’t happen over a night out drinking, or even a few.
So instead of feeling rushed to get out there and meet other islanders, focus on setting yourself up. Because at the end of the day, expats are busy people too and usually aren’t as concerned with making new friends. Sometimes friends will come from making time to go to that yoga class or volunteering to plant trees.
In a way I’m saying: let people come to you. Rather than making sure you’re at every bingo night or bonfire, go at your own pace, and eventually you will become part of the community. Trust me, this process unfolds naturally so don’t stress about it too much.
The wifi situation
This is a big one. A digital marketing internship means you have to be online A LOT. So if you want to minimize complications, you’ll want to stay on top of this.
Hotspot hotspot hotspot
This is going to be your key to staying connected. Buying phone data in Indonesia is super cheap and definitely worth purchasing. This will allow you to work from anywhere as long as you’re able to hotspot from your phone. (Portable batteries aren’t a bad investment either, as you’ll see the power has a tendency to go out pretty often.) Just make sure to keep an eye on how much data you have left to get ahead of it running out while you’ve got work to do.
Find places you can focus
I’m sure this isn’t hard to believe, but it’s a small world on an island, so think about where you’ll run into fewer distractions. Cafes with the best wifi can become a busy spot, so explore around a little and find a spot that works for you and minimizes distractions.
If you want to try to save some of that data, find the best places for staying connected so you can smash out that work as fast as good internet will allow.
Make a schedule and stick to it
You’re not on island time. This was a hard pill for me to swallow. While it seems like most people on the island are running on this schedule, you’re still doing a digital marketing internship, which I’ll tell you now is all scheduling, scheduling, and more scheduling.
It’ll take some time but you’ll figure out what times of the day are best for you to get work done. It can get really hot in the middle of the day which can take it out of some people if you’re not used to the heat. So pick time frames that work with your schedule and stick to them.
Give yourself time to be on island time
Yes, productivity is important, but so is balance. So although working “island time” into your schedule may seem a bit against the entire concept, it’s going to make your life a lot easier than going with the flow all the time.
Digital marketing is a full-time job with no set hours. This means you have to set your own hours. I know, you’re thinking “but that’s exactly what I want!”.
I’m just here to let you know that it requires a lot of self-discipline and time management skills.
Time management was one of the things I came into my marketing internship wanting to work on the most, and I certainly got what I asked for. As a very eager and social person, I had to learn how to say no more often than I may have wanted to.
This marketing experience is very far from a vacation, it’s a real job that happens to be in a vacation spot. So it’s up to you to find that balance that caters to your productivity levels.
If you can do this on an island, you can do it anywhere
Once you get the hang of this while living in a place that’s known for being so laidback, it’ll take you pretty far when trying to stick to a schedule anywhere else.
There’s no need to overwork yourself or overextend your capabilities. Remember that it takes balance to really be productive. So figure out a schedule that works for you, allow yourself time for the things you enjoy and I promise the rest will come.