Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

Indonesia Semester

Community, Culture & Conservation

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

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Duration
85 Days
Description

Experience the majesty of the most diverse archipelago on Earth: explore Javanese arts, spearfish with sea nomads, and discuss conservation initiatives with local experts.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2020


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2020


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

16 Weeks

Fall Begins In

47 Weeks

Land Cost

$15,500


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,960

Manado

Luwuk

Tana Toraja

Makassar

Morowali

Wakatobi

Langa, Flores

Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta

Program Overview

Spanning from Malaysia to Australia, with over 17,000 equatorial islands, Indonesia hosts the world’s highest level of biodiversity and one of the richest cultural tapestries on earth.


The Indonesia semester pieces together a mosaic of one of the most complex countries in Southeast Asia. Our program begins in Yogyakarta (also known as Jogya), on the island of Java. In this center for arts, culture and education, we settle into urban homestays and begin building a foundation for cultural and linguistic comprehension. Here we are exposed to ritual crafts of gamelan (bronze orchestra), batik making, silversmithing, Javanese dance, and shadow puppetry are studied and performed as they have been for centuries. With our Program House as a base, students engage in independent studies, daily language instruction, and topical discussions on the course’s themes of cultural and religious diversity, creative expression, ecology and environmental protection, all while living in a quaint neighborhood of carefully selected host families.

From Java, we head east to the island of Flores where students have an opportunity to learn about the complexity of eco-tourism in and around…

The Indonesia semester pieces together a mosaic of one of the most complex countries in Southeast Asia. Our program begins in Yogyakarta (also known as Jogya), on the island of Java. In this center for arts, culture and education, we settle into urban homestays and begin building a foundation for cultural and linguistic comprehension. Here we are exposed to ritual crafts of gamelan (bronze orchestra), batik making, silversmithing, Javanese dance, and shadow puppetry are studied and performed as they have been for centuries. With our Program House as a base, students engage in independent studies, daily language instruction, and topical discussions on the course’s themes of cultural and religious diversity, creative expression, ecology and environmental protection, all while living in a quaint neighborhood of carefully selected host families.

From Java, we head east to the island of Flores where students have an opportunity to learn about the complexity of eco-tourism in and around Komodo National Park. After spending time in a large city, we move onto the pastoral village of Langa to live with families surrounded by farms. Here, students find themselves sinking into the slower pace of life while learning about coffee production, hiking spectacular extinct volcanoes, exploring local ancestor worship practices and developing a deeper understanding of traditional farming. Time in Langa is family-oriented and offers one of the best chances for students to get involved in community-based programs focused on literacy, wilderness exploration and youth empowerment.

The final homestay location takes us to the southeastern archipelago of Wakatobi, an extraordinary National Marine Park and home to the Bajau people (also known as “sea nomads”). We stay in the stilted bamboo huts of Sampela with families dependent on the ocean for survival. While in Sampela, students learn about Bajau culture, fishing practices and religion. On a daily basis, we snorkel over fragile coral reefs and learn how to fish with spears and nets from host fathers. We visit endangered mangrove ecosystems and look at the nuances of environmental conservation to better understand the challenges that the Bajau overcome to maintain their way of life on the ocean.

The trip concludes on the picturesque island of Wanci in Wakatobi National Park, where we process the significance of the ecological, cultural and geo-political conversations that help define the changing landscape of Indonesia.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

4/5
Comparative Religion

Examine Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity, as well as Animist and Shamanistic traditions, with a focus on religious pluralism, rituals, festivals and ceremonies.

4/5
Development Studies

Explore the impacts of modernization and development as they relate to ecology and land-use within protected and un-protected areas. Delve into issues of political marginalization, participatory development vs. non-participatory development, ecological conservation and cultural preservation.

4/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Study political dynamics and the impact that rapid development has on specific communities; examine issues related to gender, cultural and environmental preservation, ethnic vs national identity, and dominant cultural communities.

5/5
Homestay

Live in three homestays two weeks or longer in an urban area (Jogyakarta), subsistence mountainous farming community (Langa), and remote sea-faring community (Sampela) and begin to understand their natural environments, cultures and political significance to Indonesia.

4/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Pursue self-selected studies of issues that are pertinent to the communities we visit, as well as deep engagement with the Indonesia world of arts (gamelan, batik, silver smithing, shadow-puppetry, street art, martial arts) and culture.

3/5
Language Study

Study Bahasa Indonesia through introductory lessons (10 hours per week), communication with home-stay families and language immersion throughout the course.

1/5
Learning Service

Practice English with local youth, represent communities through writing projects, assist families during home-stays. Less than 10 hours of service credit earned.

5/5
Rugged Travel

Travel by taxi, bemo, bus, truck, ferry, small boats, and dugout canoe, sleep in makeshift tents on jungle treks, trekking and day hikes, plenty of marine-based travel and opportunities towards the end of the program to be in the water.

2/5
Trekking

Hike through rice paddy fields and on jungle trails in Flores, moderate hikes to the summit of volcanoes Java (weather depending), short treks in the jungles of Java on narrow footpaths.