In this blog post, our social media coordinator Fabian interviews Tytti Haimivaara, who studied 2016 in Lombok at the LISP program. Tytti is currently in Bali where she does an internship at Asia Exchange. So, let us hear what she has to say about her time in Lombok.
Hello Tytti! So, You are a former student of LISP program Tell us: Why did you choose to study in Lombok?
So, I study business at Savonia University of Applied Sciences and I decided I wanted to do one semester abroad. Unfortunately, my university had a limited choice of partner universities, so I had to search for other possibilities instead. At first, I was thinking of going to Australia but it did not work out.
Why did it not work out?
I had to do a language test but I did not get enough points. In order to get accepted, you always have to do that test. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to do it a second time. That is why I could not spend my exchange semester there. I was really panicking because by then I was very late to be able apply for universities abroad. It was during the summer so I was really in a rush. All of a sudden I stumbled on Lombok on Google and the link took me to Asia Exchange’s website. I read the information and Lombok caught my interest straight away. I did not know anything about the island and when I Googled where it was, I saw it was just next to Bali, where I have been to before. All of a sudden I wanted to know everything about Lombok and the more I did my research, the more I liked the idea of studying there.
Why did you choose to study in Lombok?
I chose Lombok because it is a destination where people don not usually think of going. Not many people know it even exists. It is an unknown, secret paradise. When I finally got there, I found out that it is not like Bali at all. In fact it is totally different, even though they are neighboring islands. You can still explore the real Lombok, which makes it easier to actually get familiar with the culture. The island is not yet over exploited by tourists. You can find beautiful beaches and other locations where you are all by yourself. Lombok is not that big so it is easy to explore the whole island. Also, as there are still more locals than tourists, you get to see how the locals live when you are always close to them.
So you applied through Asia Exchange, how was the process?
It was easy and quick. I was about to apply but I saw that the application deadline had already passed. At first I panicked but then I decided to call the Asia Exchange office in Finland and ask if I could still apply. The staff was extremely helpful and they told me that they were going to make their best effort to make it possible for me to enter the study program. I was of course super relieved and excited that I was soon about to start a new adventure in Indonesia. I could not wait to start exploring Lombok, an island totally unfamiliar to me.
Maybe it is easier to find happiness when you live simple, when electronic devices do not rule your daily life!
Tell us about your arrival to Lombok, what were your first impressions?
Well, the locals were so friendly and happy. It seemed like they did not have any worries. Maybe it is easier to find happiness when you live simple, when electronic devices do not rule your daily life!
What was your reaction to the University?
It was very different to what I was used to. It was not a shock, just different. Like, we were only nine exchange students in my batch, which made it easier to build up personal relationships with both the teachers and fellow students.
So, did all of you nine students share a villa?
Yes, we all lived together. We shared three villas with a big swimming pool in the middle. We hung out together a lot, and it was nice always having company.
How would you describe a typical day in the life of a Lombok student?
We had school from Monday to Wednesday. We had workshops and excursions on Thursdays but not every week. After school we often went to the beach or just hung out at the pool area in our villa. We mostly had dinner in local restaurants because Indonesian food is delicious. The dish I had the most was sate.
Oh, what is that?
It is grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce.
Did you try to explore the whole island?
Yes, the coolest thing I did was to trek the Rinjani volcano, which is the second biggest in Indonesia. One day we did a temple tour: We did a road trip and searched for cool temples. The coolest temple was the Hindu temple we found south of Mataram. We had to climb because it was located on a huge hill. It was abandoned so we were the only ones there. Another cool place we explored was Ekas Bay in the Southeast. My friend loves surfing so that was the reason we went there. Ekas Bay is a quiet place with hardly any people around. We had all the waves for ourselves, which is why I consider the spot to be every surfer’s dream.
Was it easy to interact with local students at the university?
We all had study buddies. They were introduced to us at the orientation event and told they were happy to help us get acquainted with life in Lombok and supporting us throughout the semester.
What would you like to say to someone thinking of studying in Lombok?
Do it! You won’t regret it! It will be the best decision of your life. I fell in love with Lombok and I am sure so will you!
Tytti is also Asia Exchange’s ambassador. If you have any questions regarding studying in Lombok, please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org