Welcome to study abroad in Bali Indonesia!
The island of Bali is truly dreamlike. The jungles are lush, the volcanoes high enough to touch clouds, and the warm Indian Ocean surrounds the gorgeous beaches of the island that offer superb conditions both for surfing and other water sports. “The Island of Gods” is by far the most popular travel destination in Indonesia, and one of the most famous islands in the whole world.
Bali charms its visitors with its uniqueness, cultural diversity and abundance of activities. The island is bohemian, friendly and vitalizing for all senses, whether it is finding your spiritual side, experiencing some of the best surfs in the world or eating the most extraordinary things.
Bali can be without a doubt described as a paradise. In addition to the beautiful landscape, the people in Bali are friendly and the lifestyle breezy. The lucky ones are able to stay in Bali for a bit longer and truly absorb the Balinese spirit and might also be better equipped to handle the Western achievement-oriented lifestyle when returning home.
- Bali as a study abroad destination
- Facts and history
- Bali today
- Geography and Areas
- The best of Bali
- Climate, nature and wild life
Bali as a study abroad destination
In recent years, Bali has become a popular destination for study abroad semesters. Asia Exchange students have praised Bali as a superb location to study at and described the experience they have had there as one of the best of their lives. Studying abroad in Bali is one of the best ways to acquaint yourself deeply with life and culture in Bali.
Despite being luxurious, Bali isn’t too expensive. Those things you might not be able to afford at home are well within reach at Bali. Your monthly rent for your student flat at your home country can in Bali translate into a villa, with a swimming pool and a cleaning staff.
The largest and most distinguished university on the island is the Udayana University which hosts as many as a thousand international exchange students every year. Asia Exchange and Udayana University started their cooperation in 2009 and Asia Exchange has sent, by now, hundreds of students to Bali from around the world.
Our students come from various fields of studies. The number of courses taught in English is constantly growing, and at the moment, you can take courses, for example, in Economics and Business, Culture, Tourism and the Indonesian language. Many consider the study abroad semester to be an excellent time to explore fields outside their own major as well. It is possible to participate in the program even if you’re not currently enrolled at a university.
Facts and History
Full name: The Republic of Indonesia
Government: Constitutional Republic
Population: 3,3 million in Bali; 235 million in Indonesia
Capital: Jakarta (Denpasar in Bali)
Area: 5 561 sq km (Bali)
Major languages: Balinese, Indonesian, English
Major religions: Hindu (84.5%), Muslim (13.3%), Christian (1.7%), Buddhist (0.5%)
Life expectancy: 75 years (women), 69 years (men)
Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
Main exports: oil and gas, electrical appliances, plywood, textiles, rubber
GNI per capita: US $8,420 (World Bank, 2011)
Time Zone: GMT/UCT + 8
Even though evidence of Stone Age inhabitants has not been found in Bali, there were definitely people on the island already during the Bronze Age, 3000 B.C. There are many traditional ways of life that have existed for hundreds, maybe thousands of years, and still continue to be an important part of the Balinese culture. Rice cultivation, for example, a life line for the islanders, was very developed from early on, with complicated irrigation systems and other farming techniques that aimed at ensuring the harvest’s size and quality. In addition, the local arts and culture developed in their own cocoons in Bali, blossoming into a completely unique and rich cultural tradition that is still viable and cherished today.
The first contact with Europeans happened in 1597 when a Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman and his crew arrived on the island. The Netherlands surmounted the island during the colonial wars of 1846-1849 and took the northern parts of Bali under their control. The most dramatic event in Bali’s history, though, are the suicides by the local royalty in 1906, the so called ‘Puputan’. The tragic suicides were a ramification of the Dutch crushing the Balinese resistance in the capital city of Denpasar. Even though the royalty in Bali disappeared, the vivid Hindi culture endured; being nurtured and nourished by the robust village communities.
After World War II, Bali became a part of the East-Indonesian Republic and in 1948 a piece of the independent Republic of Indonesia. There is a fair bit of violence and trauma in the Balinese history, as in most nations’ past, but Bali has been able to embrace its best bits and turn them towards the world. The phenomenon of international tourism, which started already in the 1920s, has flourished in Bali for decades, bringing it wealth and stability.
Despite the increasing globalization and the floods of tourists Bali welcomes every year, Bali has been able to cling on to its priceless cultural heritage and preserves it carefully. Hinduism is the most popular religion in Bali and there is no other characteristic that better defines the Balinese people than their own unique version of the Hindu religion.
Still, the island itself has, unfortunately, been mostly associated with surfing, fusion kitchen and raves – based on the typical tourist’s experience of Bali. After only a few weeks on the island, though, a visitor will be able to capture the real spirit of Bali and studying abroad in Bali is an excellent way to enjoy the island in its full scope.
Up to 80% of the revenues in Bali come from the tourism industry. This is both a good and a bad thing. When things are well, the tourism industry creates wealth and employs people, but when there are fewer visitors, all the people completely dependent on tourism have it rougher.
The biggest employer at Bali, however, is not tourism but agriculture. Cultivating rice and coffee as well as fishing and other forms of agricultural employment are immensely important indigenous ways to make a living. In addition, the Balinese art that is being exported around the world creates an important portion of the island’s income.
There are about twenty thousand foreigners living in Bali permanently.
Geography and Areas
Southern Bali – The Holy Grail of Tourism
Kuta and its surrounding areas are by far the most diverse, lively and international holiday spots on Bali. Kuta, originally a little fishing village, started growing when an American couple opened an Inn there in 1936. The airport was completed in 1969, propelling the development of the area further. Today, Kuta is the largest and most happening place in Bali and the right choice for those wanting to live in a place where there are no off days. The nightlife, as well as the day time fun, is always bubbly.
Kuta also features excellent shopping opportunities. There is everything from extensive shopping malls to little street stalls. The best finds from Bali are hidden in Kuta; whether you are craving clothes, music, handicrafts or souvenirs. There are also plenty to choose from food wise. You can find American chain restaurants as well as local, excellent but cheap cafes, restaurants and bars in Kuta. There are also plenty of clubs and pubs with live music and dancing. There is a wide selection of hotels at Kuta that cover different budgetary constrains well, from luxury resorts to home stay accommodation.
Kuta is also famous for its three kilometer long Kuta Beach which is both a superb hang out and an excellent spot for surfing, especially in the autumn. There are different surf schools there, too, and the beach gets good enough waves for both beginners and more experienced surfers.
The norther part of the Kuta area is called Seminyak which is especially famous for its luxurious paradise hide-aways and absolutely delicious food in some of the fanciest restaurants in Bali that alone convince you to spend breakfast, lunch and dinner there.
Canggu is a newer built tourism area starting just after Seminyak when heading west. Often called “the hipster area” of Bali, Canggu is a home to modern holiday villas, beach bars, and coffee shops of all sorts – all nestled among local houses and beautiful rice fields. Canggu area attracts many students too thanks to its beaches suitable for surfing, yoga and health retreats, several dining and going out options, and the ever-growing amount of hip travellers from all around the world.
Denpasar is the capital city of Bali as well as the most concentrated inhabited area on the island. Denpasar doesn’t attract very many tourists due to its land locked location but there are services there not found elsewhere in Bali. Denpasar is worth seeing precisely since it is not one of the tourist beehives and you can easily observe the true local life and street style on its less crowded streets. One of Udayana University’s campuses is located in Denpasar.
Jimbaran, just south from Kuta, is a pilgrimage for fish food fans at night when the catch from the morning is on the grill. Many flock to one of the many seafood restaurants on Jimbaran’s beaches where you can sample the freshest fish and seafood dishes. There are more than 50 different seafood restaurants in Jimbaran, making the selection of venues and dishes absolutely mind boggling. Often you even get to pick which fish you want from the fish tanks at the restaurant. Add the delicious food to a beautiful sunset, cold drinks and live music and you have a night out that is difficult to top. This is a far cry from cup noodles and tuna, and luckily, since Udayana University’s other campus is in Jimbaran, students get to enjoy Jimbaran’s nutritious dishes, filled with those good oils that help you study, throughout their exchange semesters.
Central Bali – Ubud and other villages
One of the most sacred places in Bali is located in Uluwatu. The Pura Luhur Ulawatu temple in the most south west corner of the Bukit peninsula has been built on tall cliffs and is an architectural marvel. The monkeys at the temple are intelligent little pick-pocketers when it comes to unaware tourists bringing snacks to the temple. In addition to the building itself, there is plenty of pro surfers and beautiful sunsets for you to look at. Padang Padang is the nearest beach to Uluwatu and is, dare we say, the perfect beach.