Indonesia: Culture & Conservation, Sample Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary. No two Dragons courses are the same. Every itinerary considers the unique strengths of the instructor team and interests of the student group.
Week One Our program begins in the cultural and artistic heart of the island of Java – the city of Yogyakarta. A dynamic center of cultural preservation and learning, the modern and the ancient mingle on Yogyakarta’s streets amidst a diverse community from points all over Indonesia mix in a rich social tapestry. Students spend the two and a half weeks in Java, gaining insight into one of the world’s most densely populated islands and the influence it has over the the rest of the island nation.
Week Two While in Yogyakarta, we study ritual crafts of the gamelan orchestra, Javanese dance, and shadow-puppet theater continue to be performed for the surrounding community as they have been for centuries. Students learn rudiments of Indonesian language, visit important cultural sites, engage in independent studies and integrate themselves into the Javanese society through their home-stay hosts. Here there is a focus on building skills that will be used once students arrive in the outer islands.
Week Three We then head east to the island of Flores, one of the most singular isles ecologically and anthropologically in the expansive archipelago. Here students live in the pastoral village of Langa with Christian families who have honed their unique three-tiered agricultural practices over centuries.
Week Four The people of Langa practice ancestor worship and build ceremonial spirit houses in front of their homes. While on Flores, we explore plural spirituality, learn about coffee production, hike spectacular volcanoes and build a deeper understanding of diversity and rural development models. We also have opportunities to trek on gorgeous dormant volcanoes and work on the village’s Library and Youth Empowerment projects.
Week Five From Flores, we make our way to the island of Sulawesi where a few flights and an overnight boat trip takes us to the southeastern archipelago of Wakatobi, an extraordinary National Marine Park and home to the Bajau people (otherwise known as “sea nomads”). The Bajau build their homes over the open ocean, living close to the marine ecosystem from which they draw their sustenance, venturing to land rarely other than to sell fish in local markets.
Week Six Staying in the stilted bamboo huts of Sampela, we learn about Bajau culture, practices, and religion. Students snorkel over fragile coral reefs, learn from host fathers how to fish with spears and nets, attend indigenous ceremonies, visit endangered mangrove ecosystems, and look at various paradigms of environmental conservation through interviews with government and community leaders. Dragons Indonesia students learn firsthand about the unique worldview and lifestyle of the Bajau, and their deep-rooted connection to the sea.