I’m writing this review about my experience as a Paradise Intern, for people in the future who may be considering this, or any other similar venture that Anna Kloth may start when life is back to normal. I have tried to be fair and balanced in what I say, as there were some positive factors about my experience in Indonesia, but I feel that it is really important that people out there are aware of the basic and important failings in this programme which are very concerning. I would also say that I am not alone in having these concerns and many of my fellow interns have had similar or worse experiences.
I want to start by saying that I had an amazing and unforgettable time in Indonesia, thanks to my awesome dive shop, the great people I met, and the memories that I will always have. I have nothing but positive praise for my dive shop and the time I spent working there. My dive shop suited my personality and my vibe so well, and for that, I am very grateful. Another positive of the internship was the content that we learnt during bootcamp as it was very interesting, useful, and informative. The other members of the Paradise interns team were very supportive throughout the internship. The members of staff whose roles were content, blogs, and admin were all super helpful.
I was a Paradise Intern from November 2019, and this was planned to be until May 2020. After the month boot camp in Bali I was placed with a dive shop in Labuan Bajo where I arrived in December 2019. It soon became apparent that there were major flaws with Anna’s management style; primarily around inconsistent and poorly communicated information and expectations. We were often told one thing at our monthly meetings with Anna, and then a few days later told something very different, as though the Paradise team had forgotten to tell us what was expected of us and then tried to put the responsibility on us for these mistakes. The whole question of the ‘fines’ or deductions from the $1000 deposit was unclear, poorly communicated and inconsistent. This $1000 dollar deposit was meant to be returned on our successful completion of the internship.
When the coronavirus pandemic started to become serious, we were told by Anna on our group video call that they would advise us to go home. There was clearly no contingency planning, no policies and procedures and no forethought about a very serious and difficult situation for 18 young people in remote locations far from home and support networks.
She told us that we had two options; to stay in Indonesia and have no affiliation to Paradise interns as they could not support us, or go home and continue the social media remotely from home. There was no support or help around the options available, the way this was communicated was in a pressured, panicked and completely unprofessional and unethical manner.
We all had 1 week to decide and let Paradise Interns know our decision. I decided initially to stay in Indonesia as I wanted to continue working with my dive shop. Upon telling Anna my decision, I was removed from all the networking apps, the paradise interns networks and my message was ignored by Anna, with no response. We were all young people alone in a foreign country, and given the situation, everyone was worried and unsure about what was going on. Anna left us with no support and no guidance in Indonesia. Her responses to the concerns I expressed were rude, dismissive and added stress to an already difficult situation.
We all asked if our deposits would be returned to us, and were told that no our deposits could not be returned to us because the money was gone. We were told that Anna had spent all of our deposits (18 interns = $18,000 USD) and that they would be using the deposits from the next round of interns to give us ours back. We were told that our deposits had been used to pay for the accommodation for bootcamp in Bali. However, there was clearly not going to be another round of interns due to the pandemic, so our money was gone.
The principle of a deposit, for anything, is that it is held in safe keeping for its possible return, NOT spent by the company on keeping their liquidity due to poor financial management. Each of us has now lost $1000, which, especially given that we had to find our way home , after booked flights being cancelled, was catastrophic. Without family support I would have been in a desperate situation, and the lack of support, help or advice from Anna Kloth was appalling and deeply unethical.
For the reasons stated above, I would not recommend anybody to put their trust in Anna Kloth or her business ventures.