Bali will forever have a place in my heart and soul
Emma studied abroad at Udayana University in Bali, Indonesia during spring 2011. She comes originally from Australia. Read her interview below:
What made you decide to do an exchange in Bali?
Bali has always been like a second home to me. I’ve traveled to Bali about 14 times already but just for holiday to spend time with my Balinese friends and family. I’ve always been very interested in the Balinese culture and Asia itself so when I saw on the Asia Exchange website that I could do a semester on Asian studies I applied straight away. Coming out of high school and going straight into full time work I wasn’t really making a path for myself. I knew however that by completing this course it would lead to so many opportunities, not just in Asia but also in Australia.
How did you experience the application and acceptance procedure?
The application procedure was very easy. As soon as the application period opened I applied online straight away. I had everything prepared about a month in advance so it only took me a few short minutes to apply. I found out 4 days later that I was accepted for the spring semester 2011.
Which things have been the highlights of your exchange?
The major highlights for me have been meeting new people from a different culture i.e Finland and Germany studying in my favorite place, being able to travel in my free time and being able to immerse myself in the Balinese culture once again.
What do you think about the balance between schoolwork and free time activities?
There is definitely more than enough free time. We go to school Monday to Wednesday but we finish most days at 12 pm sometimes 1:30 if we have workshops. Before our mid exams we had 4 days off which gave us more than enough time to study and prepare for our exams.
Which have been the most interesting things in your studies?
I have personally found the Bahasa Indonesian classes and the ASEAN economy class the most interesting and the most rewarding. I have already been offered internships within Bali to work in a hotel as assistant manager and having the Bahasa Indonesian language, the background knowledge of the economy and also the extent knowledge of the Balinese culture I believe this will be of great value to my future career.
What is your opinion about Asia Exchanges charity work?
Asia Exchange is doing an absolute amazing job with the Seeds of Hopes Orphanage. When we visited the orphanage in our first couple of weeks as soon as the children saw us there faces just lit up with huge smiles and you could tell it was also appreciation. We also got to see what the previous donation from Asia Exchange was used for. I really believe and am inspired by what the Seeds of Hope orphanage is doing and really am thankful that a huge company like Asia Exchange also believe in what they are doing. All children deserve to have a bright and educated future.
Have you discovered new things about Bali or Asia during your exchange?
Even people like myself who come to Bali all the time will always find something new about Bali guaranteed every day. Even though Bali is very small compared to my country Australia the culture here is absolutely phenomenal. The things they believe in here, the way they do offerings to the gods every day, even the way we sleep has a place in the culture. Learning about the economy not just in Bali but also in ASEAN/Asia is well worth learning about also considering they trade to nearly almost all countries.
Have you discovered new things or learned something new about yourself?
I have to say living in Bali as the Balinese live has definitely opened my eyes. I’m living with my Balinese boyfriend Nyoman in a one bedroom kos. We don’t have any hot water and use a traditional Indonesian toilet… It was all very new to me as the other times I’ve come to Bali I’ve stayed in hotels with the necessary amenities. I’ve had to deal with having dengue fever and other medical problems that I would normally just go to my mum about. I have always been a very independent person but living in Bali for nearly three months already has made me a more stronger and respectful person.
Where have you been travelling during your exchange? Which places have you visited?
Whilst I’ve been on exchange my second week here I was in hospital with dengue fever and as I didn’t have travel insurance at the time I used a fair bit of my money on this but however I love travelling around Bali and visiting my boyfriends village up in the mountains. My favorite places to travel in Bali and around are Ubud for its amazing markets and galleries, Uluwatu for its pristine beaches and perfect waves and Lembongan island for snorkeling and water activities.
Why do you think Asia is suitable for studying abroad?
If I was to do this BIPAS course in Australia I definitely would not have the same appreciation as I do for the lectures here. They are really passionate about their culture and the economy. Studying in Asia can also open doors to finding new job opportunities. I was here for 2 weeks before I was offered work after I finish university. Asia is so big and not that expensive so travelling in your free time is definitely a must and is very easy.
Why do you prefer doing an exchange studies or backpacking in Asia?
To be honest I have never really been interested in backpacking but I have always wanted to do an exchange program ever since my sister went on one to America. I’d prefer to do an exchange program such as the BIPAS because not only do we get to study in a perfect location but we are actually learning about the country and Asia as a whole. Not many people can say they have done this course, especially from Australia.
Tell us your slogan of your exchange period
Live life to the fullest. You only have one life, make the most of it. Bali will forever have a place in my heart and soul.
What would you like to tell people who are planning to go on an exchange in Bali?
Just do it. Honestly it has been the best decision I have made. Although I’ve had a few problems at the start I’ve stuck it out. There is plenty of time to travel and experience new cultures and customs. You will also meet new people not only from your country but also from other countries and you’ll make friendships that will last a lifetime. The application process was very easy and you find out really quickly if you’ve been accepted and whilst on exchange AE will be extremely helpful if you have any issues to do with school, health etc.
What are your greetings to Asia Exchange?
Thank you so much Asia Exchange for making this exchange possible for me. I’ve had the best and worst experiences that I never would have had if I hadn’t found you on the internet. Whilst on exchange Kirsi (AE intern) has always been looking out for us students, always helping us if we have problems and has especially been very helpful to me when I was at hospital with dengue fever and was unable to attend school.
Asia Exchange is definitely a company that will inspire many people to go on exchange. Offering programs in numerous destinations will bring a lot more students and young travellers. I only wish Asia Exchange was promoted more in Australia because I believe that many of my friends are already interested and I think that many more would follow. When I go back to Australia I will do my best to get more Australians interested in your programs.
Once again thank you very much and good luck with everything.
Read Emma’s blog from Bali from here.