Alumni Spotlight: Kat Rathe


Why did you choose this program?

I had options and needed to make a quick decision about five months before my program. Ultimately, I wanted an experience that would give me skills and insight into the growing startup culture. I didn't want an experience I could get just "anywhere."

Start Me Up offers unique internships that get you out of your comfort zone. This program allowed me to network, test my skills, learn new assets vital to my understanding of startups and introduced new topics. I especially loved seeing other startups pitch their app to a crowd. It was really interesting and being in the startup culture allowed you to immerse yourself with other people from around the world with different points of view.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Everything was pretty much taken care of for me. My fees went to the program and I had to organize my dates, flights and work schedule. Start Me Up took care of everything else: accommodation, rides, round trip transportation to and from the airport, event and seminar management, finding a startup for me to work with, and the one weekend activity.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Keep in mind that the Australia program started in 2018. It's new and you should expect a few bumps in the road. However, my biggest tip is to be open minded when it comes to anything from the people you live with, the community work space, your company, and the culture. You'll take more away from your internship if you don't go in with your eyes wide shut. Don't be afraid to ask questions or try new things!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It's a pretty typical work day of Monday through Friday 9-5. You can walk or Uber to work under your own expense. Work is at the community workspace, where you work with your founder. Most week days, there are seminars, startup pitch series, networking opportunities and small presentations you can immerse yourself in right after the work day.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was mostly afraid of failing in the startup world. My experience was solely social media, website design, blogging, operations management and customer service. With no experience in startups, I forced myself to go in with a positive mindset that I could achieve whatever I wanted to learn. I just had to work at it every day and ask as many questions as I could. My startup loved that I asked so many questions because it kept us all on the same page.

Any tip before the trip?

Personal tip for packing: know your wardrobe and expect anything. You may have an invite to attend a gala with your founder or you may have a company activity to go on a hike. It's best to be prepared and don't be afraid to ask questions. I attended an opening event with two of my house mates and on weekends we'd do different activities. Some were nice and others were casual. The point is, make sure you bring the right attire because you don't want to network in your gym shorts.