“I recommend studying abroad to all of my friends and all people who are thinking of leaving for a study abroad semester.”
Asta studied abroad at Udayana University in Bali, Indonesia during spring 2011. She comes originally from Finland and studied at South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences in Mikkeli. Read her interview below.
Why you should go, too!
This report reflects my studies abroad in spring 2011. That time was the most incredible time in my life and I enjoyed every moment wholeheartedly. After an experience like this, I recommend studying abroad to all of my friends and all people who are thinking of leaving for a study abroad semester.
Everything is an opportunity to find out about different cultures and experience the lifestyle that’s not so easy to understand at first. It sound scary to leave for another place for a whole semester, leave all your school at home, all your friends… But think about what kind of experiences you will gain! Everything you left at home will be there waiting for you when you get back.
I’m sure that studying abroad never looks bad on your CV when you are getting a job and I’m sure you never get the same opportunity to get know people from a different culture as easily as when living in their own country.
Money is not a problem because you can take a student loan if you want and you will also receive your regular financial aid, like KELA in Finland. So if you manage living at your home country why not in some other place?
The organization who organizes this study program is called Asia Exchange. The application process happened online and it was easy to follow. The website was good and very informative. You should do all your paperwork (get the documents for your application) as soon as you can so you’ll be set to go.
After filling out the application and attaching the documents, you wait and see if you are accepted in the program. When you get the acceptance you can start looking flights and that is an amazing feeling. Then you know that you are studying abroad for the next semester.
When I decided to leave abroad I had lots of questions and was hesitant about some of the practical arrangements. I think the most helpful thing in the beginning of the process was that I had many friends leaving abroad as well.
So we worked together quite a lot and we got good advise from other students who had been in Bali a year before us. They gave us precious tips and helped us to get started. Of course our teachers were helpful and patient, too. It’s easier to leave when you know that school is supporting you.
Studies in Bali
School in Bali was different than what we are used to here in Finland. First week we had different kind of ceremonies and exploring. That was fun and educating, we learnt a lot about the Balinese culture and people.
We had to be at school only 3 days a week and some weeks we had extra excursions where we, for example, got to know Balinese dance or visited local Balinese houses.
Subjects at school were Indonesian language, which I liked the most, and Asian economy, culture and business/law. Your transcript from Bali includes the attendance rate, the number of finals and the grades you got from your courses.
Place in paradise
Bali. That’s what I call paradise. Bali is an Indonesian island between Java and Lombok. The provincial capital of Bali is called Denpasar. That was the place where we had our classes and we lived nearby Denpasar, in Kerobokan.
Bali’s main religion is Hinduism. Nearly 92 % of Bali’s population are Hindus. You can see different kind of statues and memorial places or altars in every road and in yards, everywhere. There is usually some incense and some food to please the gods. Local people may think the altars are beautiful but sometimes they are not so, for example when the stray dogs have had dinner there.
When I left to study abroad I thought living in a totally different culture would be very hard. You need to communicate in English all the time so you wonder whether your language skills are good enough. I’d say we have a good education system in Finland so speaking English was not a problem. Of course you miss your family and friends but luckily we have an Internet. And get a local number so your phone calls to Finland are cheaper.
In Bali first you need to find a place to stay and then rent a scooter. That is the one thing you must do if you want to move from place to place. But remember to be very careful in the traffic because it’s horrible there. Wear a helmet always! That’s my advice for a cheap health insurance.
Remember that locals think you are a tourist. Speak the local language (which you study at school) and try to be happy like they are. Our teacher said on our first day at school that if you remember to smile, will survive here in Bali!
In Bali there are so many beautiful places and beaches – you cannot imagine it till you get there. People are nice and the food is so good. In short, I <3 BALI. That slogan is well known in Bali because it’s much used among tourists.
I’m happy that I did went to study abroad. I loved Bali and I had so many different experiences that I think my world view got a totally new page. Now I know why travelling is a passion for someone and I think I may be one of them.