“The island of the Gods“ and „Pearl of the Indian Ocean“ – that´s how Bali is named in most travel guides. Above all for me it´s a mesmerizing island! From the first day I am in love with my second home, despite – or maybe because of – all the differences compared to Europe. Bali is absolutely unique, colorful, friendly, exotic, peaceful and traditional with all its ceremonies, but it simultaneously offers all western conveniences. In retrospect I can´t imagine a better place for my semester abroad and I´m really happy that I could spend a couple of months at the other side of the world.
Balinese everyday life at the university
The newly built university´s international campus is located in Jimbaran, south of Denpasar. The everyday life at university strongly reminds me of my home university, however out of respect, wearing shoes, collared shirts and long trousers is an obligation. Nevertheless, already in the first week you notice that the days at university are very varied. From time to time you take part at an excursion where you can explore the island. On the first one we went to a coconut and rubber plantation, afterwards we got to see Tanah Lot, one of the most famous temples. One of our lecturers even made us a very interesting day by taking us to Ubud which is the artistic and spiritual centre of Bali. We got to see the king of Ubud, one of his friends. He showed us some sights of the town that usually is not accessible for tourists. Then we visited the beautiful villa which was the film location of the movie „Eat, Pray, Love“ with Julia Roberts. After an eventful day we were eventually invited at the lecturer´s home together with his family and became some homegrown papayas from the garden as a souvenir. This warmth and hospitality is characteristic for Balinese people.
You feel being in good hands and as a part of the Udayana University. Because of that I still like to wear my Udayana sweater with the symbol of „Unud“.
Things to see – the semester never gets boring
There are so many things to see in Bali. The island doesn´t only offer dreamlike beaches. That´s why we just jumped on the bike and explored Bali. Impressive temples, food markets, ceremonies, waterfalls, rice terraces, the Gili Islands of Lombok, bays, artistic craftwork, Balinese dance, jungle, coffee and spice plantations, snorkeling paradises and much more have been waiting to be discovered by us.
The goodbye is hard
„Saying goodbye to Bali is hard, the beautiful experiences cannot be put into words or pictures.“
I found this quotation on the internet and it totally applies to me as well.
At the end of the semester I left back home together with a lot of souvenirs, more than 7000 photos on the harddisk, newly built friendships, unforgettable experiences with my family that came to visit me and a heart full of memories.
I´m going to miss a lot: The incense sticks and offerings, the Indonesian food, fresh fruit juices, the positive attitude, the nature, the chaotic traffic and much more.