Study abroad does not always have to be about collecting as many credits as you can get and advancing your studies as much as possible. Sometimes it is good to take a step back from your life and change the scenery to a completely different one. For Elina, who spent an autumn semester in Bali in 2015, the goal was simply to learn to be happy. Let’s hear how she is doing now and whether she found happiness on the luscious island of Bali.


It was near the end of her studies, when Elina decided to take a break. She wanted to take it easy for a while before getting started with her master’s thesis. A semester in Bali sounded just the right kind of thing to take her mind off her studies in Finland and spend a few months without stress. During this “holiday semester”, she would have time to recharge her batteries and go back to tackling her master’s studies with newly found energy.


I wanted to find myself and learn to just be, not doing anything and perform all the time. My goal was to learn to be happy.


Asri Jewel villa in Bali
In Bali, you can live like a king without going bankrupt.


Life in Bali was quite different from the life in Finland, but in a good way! Back home Elina had to wash her own clothes and as a student could not afford to go out to eat every night, but in Bali, she felt like royalty. Elina together with 7 other students lived in a luxury villa and had a cleaning lady and laundry services. They could afford almost everything and suddenly the sums that in Finland had felt so small, could last her a long time in Bali.


However, Elina also found out that Bali is not the perfect paradise people make it out to be. Because of the increased number of tourists, the nature is not so pristine anymore and you need to travel a bit further from the tourist areas to find untouched nature. Luckily, there are several other destinations near Bali, for example, Lombok which is also an Asia Exchange destination. Lombok is a nearby island that is less known among the tourists but no less beautiful than Bali. Nusa Penida is another hidden gem that people travelling to Indonesia should check out.


Rice-field workers in Lombok
In Lombok, you can find locals farming rice fields surrounded by the greenery of the jungle.


Elina’s day to day life in Bali was relaxing and she got quickly used to the laid-back lifestyle. Her days were mostly spend doing yoga, going to the beach, chilling out and having fun with other exchange student.  According to her studying wasn’t really that hard so she had plenty of time for other activities besides homework and cramming for the exams. In such a beautiful environment, is it not difficult to find things to do to fill your free time. What really made a lasting impression on her were the things she learnt by simply immersing herself into the Balinese culture and enjoying her life.


Academically or professionally I think the exchange didn’t change my life remarkably. But as a life experience the Bali exchange was irreplaceable.



Elina did find her happiness in the end, but it came from an unexpected place. She found the love of her life among other Asia Exchange students during her study semester. Neither of them was looking for love, since they simply wanted to have fun and escape Finland for a while. But destiny had other plans. Now they have been together since the exchange and just moved in together. Experiencing a new culture and studying abroad can really lead to happiness!


Asia exchange totally changed my life and turned it upside down in a good way. At the moment I’m really happy.


If you want to find out your own happiness, read more about studying in Bali!

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