Experiencing the Island Life while Gaining Professional Experience

My First Days in Bali


t was 7 pm, I just arrived at the airport, exhausted but excited. And all at once, taxi drivers jumped at me and asked, “Yes, please, taxi, Miss?”

An hour later, I arrived at the hostel that I booked for a few nights in the center of Denpasar. Young men lied on the floor of the entrance. Some were almost asleep; some were on their phone. It was very humid and warm and a strong smell of Nasi Goreng was hanging in the air. “I am definitely not in France anymore!” I said to myself.

After a quick nap, I decided to have a look in the streets. I had never seen such traffic. Motor bikes never stop. How will I manage crossing the street without being crushed? Pollution, traffic and plastic waste: it is not what I expected to see first in Bali!

A few days later was my first day at RefillMyBottle. I needed to go to a restaurant to meet the team at an event that BGreeners organises – the community that founded RefillMyBottle.  Christine, Project Manager welcomes me with a big smile: “Jaaaaaaacky! Welcome! How are you doing?” I was confused at first but it was really funny because my name is Margot and my family name is Jacq. Then, I met Alex Tsuk, founder of RMB, a joyful guy who was about to start an ice-breaking activity with all the guests.

That was my first impression of Bali and of RefillMyBottle.

Me and RefillMyBottle

I am a 21-year old French student in political science and I am passionate about environmental actions. For my 3rd year of university, I needed to find an internship abroad. My interest in fighting single-use plastic was quite recent but I had always been passionate about pollution issues and climate action policies. The internship at RefillMyBottle was my first professional experience in the ecological field, and I truly loved it. Let me explain why.

The team really trusted me and I could share my ideas on how to improve the RefillMyBottle App, my ideas for events and workshops, or about anything else.  I had the opportunity to speak in public at events we organised and to share my concerns about zero waste and plastic issues. I responded to interviews and had meetings with potential partners and collaborators. I had much more interesting responsibilities than I thought I would have.

I really felt I was part of the team, which was great!

Since the team is also very small, I could do a bit of everything: social media management, communications, marketing, administration, looking for funding, meeting potential collaborators. It gave me a broad idea of how an organisation works and it taught me about team-work.

RefillMyBottle is still at a developing stage and grows fast and worldwide. It is interesting to participate in this stage where we need to gain visibility. It requires strategy in terms of communications, and a lot of innovation. Within these 5 months, we have gained so much visibility and the result is pretty clear: We are now invited to many events where we have the opportunity to meet people from the same area, which is crucial to build partnerships.

I also loved the international atmosphere while working for RefillMyBottle: we were in contact with so many different parts of the world: mainly Indonesia and Southeast Asia but also with people from Italy, France and even the Galapagos in Ecuador! Also, in Bali I had the chance to encounter a totally different culture, it completely opened my mind. Moreover, every week-end I could escape the city and drive up North the island where the landscape is astonishing. It was incredible to discover such a diversity in nature!

I would like to thank every member of the team, Alex Tsuk, founder of RefillMyBottle, Christine Go, project manager, and Trifitri Muhammeditta, project manager assistant. Thank you for this great working atmosphere, for trusting and teaching me so much! It was an incredible experience that confirmed my will to work in the environmental field – either in an NGO or in environmental policy-making institutions.