First Post: Kayla

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

One of the many unique parts of the Bali program is that we get to become very immersed in the Balinese culture. Our first week in Ubud was essentially a cultural intensive. We had a Balinese history lesson, a Bahasa Indonesia lesson (Indonesian language), and learned more about Hinduism. When we were in Ubud, we spent a morning visiting the local Banjar. For local Balinese, a Banjar is a place where everyone from the community comes to meet for local government discussions, as this controls a lot of the neighborhood’s daily life, and preparing for ceremonies. We got to learn a lot about Balinese culture when we visited as each of us participated in four activities: Balinese dance, preparing a traditional Hindu offering, playing Balinese music, and wood carving. It was an incredible day of immersion as we did everything the way the local Balinese would do so themselves. One thing I learned is that it is way harder than it looks! Wood carving especially looked relatively simple when one of the locals showed us but when we tried, it did not look nearly as smooth and precise. Playing Gamelan, Balinese music was incredible and quite difficult to keep up with. I was amazed to see how fast the locals can play and some even do so without looking down. Balinese dance is also incredibly difficult. The movements are so clean cut and precise that you have to be very sharp. Some movements are subtle, like the fingers or the head, but they make or break the dance and are necessary for achieving the proper look of Balinese dance. My favorite part was learning how to make Hindu offerings because of the beautiful colors and flowers that get incorporated. Having the opportunity to become immersed in the Balinese culture and way of life has been an essential step in being able to fully understand the Balinese which is necessary to being able to learn about their local non-profits and social enterprises. Seeing how the people I’ve their daily lives and how they live together as a strong community is incredibly inspiring and gives you a new perspective about Bali. Learning through cultural immersion has given us the opportunity to embrace and absorb more of what we are learning as we can now understand how different social enterprises are impacting the daily life of the Balinese and we can see how different social issues can be solved here.

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