Social Impact Entrepreneur Experience in Timor-Leste

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About

When it comes to experiencing raw, grassroots development alongside a local community, look no further than Timor-Leste. With an incredibly turbulent recent history, today the inspiring Timorese culture is one that takes passionate pride in enabling their communities across a range of impact areas. Working to shape long-term sustainable impact in Timor-Leste is really unlike any other experience.

As a certified B Corporation, we pride ourselves on being experts in sustainability, international impact, and shaping the most career-ready future leaders. On an internship in Timor-Leste you're guaranteed a unique and practical industry experience that arms you with a range of soft and technical skills in leadership, EQ, social business and communication.

Our projects in Timor-Leste explore fuel sustainability and micro-finance; agricultural consulting and food security; or empowering women and girls through safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

Highlights
  • Collaborate and build meaningful connections with local Timorese communities through a cultural immersion that ensures the delivery of socially viable solutions that actually improves quality of life.
  • Explore the integration of exponential technologies, such as data-driven AI consulting, for scalable and sustainable social change at a grass-roots level.
  • Discover the rich history and culture of Timor-Leste on your weekends, from visiting iconic resistance sites, to snorkeling and diving in the stunning coral reefs.
  • 24/7 support and training from experienced leaders, staff and external partners who are highly trained in risk and safety management, facilitating personal and professional growth, and business development.
  • Learn and apply a range of industry-standard entrepreneurial and innovative methodologies and skills such as Design Thinking and Lean Startup and experience applying them to a real world context.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

8.64 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • Growth 8.5
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 8.1
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 11
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Siân
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing

Absolutely incredible. Taking the challenge to spend a month in Timor was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It is like no other internship and I am beyond grateful that I was able to have this experience. From the amount of personal and professional development I and others saw in myself, to interactions with locals, seeing positive social impact through the work I was doing and the amazing friendships I was able to forge, I will never forget my time here. I could not recommend getting involved with PEV enough.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly nothing, it was everything I could've imagined.
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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sustainable Fuel Consulting Project

Before I started PEV I had a limited idea on what I would actually be doing for the month. I assumed I would be out selling stoves 24/7. Instead I got to attend a meeting at the UN Office to deliver a business summary I had written for a potential partnership with the UNDP. I never thought that this is something I would achieve at the age of 19 and cannot wait to see how the next team can grow our fuel project. Before this month, I thought sustainability meant being environmentally friendly, but now I see it as ensuring that the positive social impact that we want to have and do have in local communities is maintained long after we leave country.

Being in country has taught me that the most effective social impact is a self-sustainable social impact. If we can leave country at the end of February knowing that our projects are still benefiting the Timorese community and can be picked up where they left off in July, then we know we have made a sustainable social impact.

Not only was it a great opportunity for my own professional development, it was also incredibly fun. Every day we were pushed to work outside of our comfort zones, waking up at 0530 to go on runs every morning and getting to go out and explore Dili during the day. On the weekends we had the opportunity to travel to an island and go four wheel driving to waterfalls. This internship enabled me to develop so much personally and professionally in an incredibly supportive environment.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Ensure that you read all of the information provided before embarking on the trip.
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Alicia
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Project Everest Ventures - The Contemporary Internship

Interning with Project Everest Ventures is an opportunity I doubt you will get elsewhere. If living with over 30 strangers who then become close and long-life friends, uncomfortably but rewardingly improving those pesky presentation skills, or being forced to look into yourself and accepting what you see is something that interests you but scares you a lot - then doing an internship with Project Everest is definitely for you.

This internship does not cater to any specific degree or job interest: this is no office-job experience or task-specific internship. Throughout the course of the month (or multiple months if you have the time, patience and funding to do so) you will find yourself in situations where it becomes your choice to develop on those softer skill sets that are still seen as invaluable in the workforce. Your verbal and written communication, presentation and organisational skills, interpersonal and interpersonal skills as well as emotional intelligence will be put to the test in an environment far away from home. It's not everybody's choice to voluntarily pay for an experience (yes, an internship you pay for) that allows you to see the parts of you needing most care and improvement.

My month in Timor-Leste on the DArT project (PEV's agricultural internship) opened my westernised eyes to the greater reality that millions of people find to be their normal. I found myself choosing Timor as my internship destination because I thought that I probably would not have travelled there otherwise. My responsibilities on site were to organise daily tasks to meet 'experiment' requirements, empathise (survey) with locals about issues they perceived to be present within the agricultural space, communicate with my leader and colleagues, write emails to different stakeholders, call stakeholders and participate and plan meetings. As someone lacking confidence in myself for how I will be in the workforce, these tasks have set me up well to further develop my softer skills back home.

PEV is a social enterprise - essentially a business in which their customers receive a direct social benefit from whatever product they have designed. If you struggle with the concept of selling for example, clean stoves or feminine hygiene products, to people who earn around an average of $10USD a day, then the internship will be a challenge for you. I found it hard to reconcile the fact that the social business is not ripping off its customers but is actually sustaining itself sustainably (to be honest I still grapple with it). If business is your thing (definitely not mine), then I'm sure that this experience would be interesting for you, but I can't provide advice on what I personally have no experience in.

Overall, my month was challenging. I was learning to accept parts of myself that I do not love the most, setting myself very high standards, coping with being around people consistently almost everyday in conjunction to essentially working with my team to progress the state of a possible business in a foreign country. The team leaders I had were incredible people, but I personally struggled with some of their leadership styles and lack of emotional support that I need. Some tasks were messily organised and communication between groups and leaders were not always clear, resulting in confusion and therefore stagnation for some activities. Some behaviours displayed by PEV leaders were a little intense and borderline obsessive in terms of living and breathing the PEV hustle and grind all day everyday, but are understandable if social impact and working with people who closely mirror all your values is your thing.

There are always negatives with experiences, and it just becomes your call as to what and how much you are willing to put up with in order to reap the benefits. I would not recommend the internship for anyone wanting to make serious social impact or for those wanting technical skills. Personally, I found my internship not to be the most academically supportive in terms of my undergraduate science degree, but I have experienced so much personal and professional growth. For me, although the internship was not at all what I had expected it to be, the soft skill and interpersonal development was the most rewarding part of the month. I would have regretted the decision not to take the leap and sacrifice a few g's to do the internship - I'm happy that I did my month in Timor-Leste and I am so grateful for the friendships I have with other people and myself.

I would only suggest doing research into PEV if it's something you are considering doing. Everybody's experience is totally different - the 33 people on my trek would tell you 33 different stories - but I don't think there is any other internship out there that facilitates the same degree and intensity of personal and professional development that Project Everest offers. And that to me is their selling point.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Stay open-minded! I can guarantee that there will be challenging moments throughout the month, but the most important thing to do is to be self-aware and communicate effectively to your team and TL. There is so much to learn, and the most rewarding learning comes from challenging situations in which you are forced to look into yourself.
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Nicola
8/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Fun Experience

PEV was a fun experience and great for personal development, but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone wanting to solely develop their professional or business skills. Although there was amazing opportunity to develop leadership and public speaking skills, we didn’t get heaps of chance to build professional skills or learn much about business. It was however a really good time and a great learning opportunity for many soft skills. I would encourage anyone looking into this opportunity to ask a lot of questions and consider why they’re coming on board before doing so, and to come in with an open mind and make the most of the opportunity

What would you improve about this program?
My biggest improve would be accurate communication between the company and the students they are trying to sell their internships to. I feel like the impression I got from the company before coming on board was very different to the experience I got here, and feel I expected more than was delivered, even though I got a lot from the experience
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Neraj
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Came for an internship, left with an experience

Amazing, I learned so much and met an amazing group of people. It felt great to be out of the lecture hall and in a completely different environment. I got to explore such an interesting country and I learned so much about their history and culture. I got to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world every day. I also got do valuable work that will have an impact on people. It's great going out and taking to people who has bought our product and tell us how it has helped them. It is obvious that the company cares about their trekkers, this is evident through the workshops they run and the constant focus on safety.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Tempeh, its a fermented soybeans. It was actually tasty even though it doesnt sound that tasty.
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Sohan
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great fun, and learnt alot about myself, but wasn't an amazing project

Living with 30 people for a month was great. However, I was working on the fuel project which wasn't everything I thought I would be. My jobs throughout the month consisted of going around Dili trying to sell stoves and doing lots of report writing. There were good parts, such as meeting with other companies in the area and meeting fun locals. But being a door knocker wasn't amazing.

Although, my team leader was an amazing human being and she really helped me improve myself. So I would overall recommend the program, just don't expect alot from the project.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be careful with what you eat ! And always wash your hands alot, I got sick alot throughout the trio from bad food.
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Bijin
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommended Experience, to at least attempt once in your life.

It is not often in life that you get to live in a big house with 36 people for a month, but that was Jan 2020 for me. It has been an incredible opportunity with many ups and downs, but overall, I would like to say that it has very much developed me as a person and as a leader. There are many pathways to go further into the company after this internship and many more opportunities to grow. I would highly recommend this experience to everyone to try at least once in your life. You may get something out of it that you may need and I have personally seen so many people blossom because of this experience. After the month, you may decide if you wish to proceed with the company for further development, and this is purely your choice, but until then, I would highly recommend to everyone to experience.

What was your funniest moment?
Some nights, we would play this game of Uno (Timor rules), and honestly don't think I have laughed harder in my life.
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Phoebe
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best month in Timor

I had great time living in this beautiful country! I worked on the female sanitation and hygiene project, surveying and empathising with local women about the issues they faced with menstrual hygiene management in rural areas. It was a good opportunity to work transferable skills for the work place as well as being a great way to explore the country and learn about the local culture. I was really passionate about this topic and found it incredible to work on such an important issue in the country, while getting to live with 30 good friends in amazing Timor-Leste!