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To my intrepid soon-to-be students:

Sitting down to introduce myself to you, I’m filled with curiosity about your lives and aspirations. Who are you adventurous young adults my co-instructors and I will soon meet in Bali? What is calling you away from all that is familiar to you to an island country on the other side of the world?

It has been ten years since I embarked on my own first journey into the world. I was 16 and somehow convinced my parents to let me spend several months with family friends in Spain. I wonder if you feel now some of what I felt then: that longing to experience life outside of America paired with an equally powerful longing to know myself. It’s funny that these two desires should arise in us together. Why should we think we are more likely to find our authentic selves in a cobblestoned plaza in Madrid or in a remote Indonesian village or in the underwater shade of a coral reef? Why couldn’t authenticity have chosen an easier place to get to? Why couldn’t it be available on the aisles of a Walmart in suburbia?

There is an Indonesian proverb that goes: “The will of the heart is to hug the mountain even when the arms are not long enough.” ("Ingin hati memeluk gunung, apa daya tangan tak sampai.") We can be sure that this saying wasn’t originally intended for global travelers like you and I, but its meaning certainly speaks to my question above. It is only when we reach out to embrace the world that we really experience our limitations, our fears. At home, our limitations can go unnoticed. We hold tight to our distractions and habits; they are easy to wrap our arms around. People in our lives may even encourage us to settle, to allow our fears to draw the boundaries of our dreams.

When we immerse ourselves in a foreign culture, however, our limitations come right to the fore. An encounter with street kids demands our compassion. A discussion with locals makes us question unexamined opinions. Witnessing the kind of environmental degradation that’s hidden away at home, we reconsider our consumption habits. Through countless situations like these, travel gives us the amazing opportunity to stare our fears and limitations in the face, to push beyond them, to open our arms ever wider and embrace the world as fully as we can. There is so much joy in that embrace!

If your travels in Indonesia are anything like mine over the years, you are likely to feel simultaneously bigger and smaller than you ever have at home, more elated and yet more challenged, more independent and yet more closely knit to others than ever before. As you experience this spectrum of emotions you may find yourself looking inward for what remains still, a voice of clarity, an inner refuge. This is the inward turn of the outward journey. It is precisely what makes a trip to Indonesia a more effective way of finding your authentic self than a trip to your local Starbucks!

This inward turn, in combination with an aspiration to serve others and a love for bridging cultural divides, has kept me traveling ever since my first trip to Spain. During high school, I returned to Madrid each summer. In college, I managed to spend three semesters studying abroad. First I went to Mali, West Africa, to work with an arts-based human rights education project. Then I backpacked throughout India and Nepal before moving into a Buddhist monastery to spend a semester studying philosophy and meditation. After graduating college, I received a fellowship that allowed me to move to India to work on environmental policy advocacy and education with a foundation in New Delhi. I have been living between India and the US ever since. Through all of this, my heart has never stopped yearning to embrace the mountain, and staying open, flexible, and welcoming of life’s challenges has remained a daily practice.

So that’s a little about me and my approach to the journey. How about you? Feel free to use the Yak Board to tell us, your future instructors and co-travelers, about yourself.

It goes without saying that Sarah, Brandon, Jamie and I, along with the 79 species of mammals unique to Sulawesi, can’t wait to meet you! And, who knows? Maybe your authentic self is eating noodles in a warung (street café) somewhere in Bali right now, anxiously anticipating your arrival.

Sampai Jumpa! See you soon!

Matthew

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

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Instructor Introduction (from Matt)

Matthew Williams,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

Description

To my intrepid soon-to-be students: Sitting down to introduce myself to you, I’m filled with curiosity about your lives and aspirations. Who are you adventurous young adults my co-instructors and I will soon meet in Bali? What is calling you away from all that is familiar to you to an island country on the other […]

Posted On

07/30/11

Author

Matthew Williams

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PROPOSED ITINERARY*

INDONESIA FALL SEMESTER 2011

Island / Region Key

USA

Bali

Sulawesi

Maluku

Dates

Description of activities

Sept 6-7

Depart Los Angeles

Sept 8-11

Arrival in Bali; Initial student orientation and welcome in Sideman, central Bali. Students will stay in family run guesthouse for first few days.

Sept 12-19

Begin semi-urban homestays in Banjar (village) Tanggayuda with intensive language study, workshops with local artists and performers. Intro to Balinese Hinduism through temple visits and attending local ceremonies. Learn about the rice cycle and complex subak (water irrigation) system of Bali.

Sept 20

Depart Bali in the early morning (6:50 am) for Makassar, Sulawesi (arrive 8:15 am). Drive the scenic journey up into the central highlands straight to Rantepeo, Tana Toraja.

Sept 21-30

Tana Toraja: Learn about the Torajan people, renowned for their elaborate funeral rites and burial caves carved into rocky cliffs. Meet with elders in the tongkonan ancestral houses and learn about aluk, the indigenous animistic belief system which governs social life, agricultural practices, and ancestral rituals. Discover the important social and religious role of buffalo through visits to the famous buffalo market. Trek and through stunning valleys, staying 3 days with local families in the friendly village of Limbong.

Oct 1

To Pendolo (early start)

Oct 2

Rest day Pendolo. Fun at Danau (Lake) Poso and fresh fish BBQ.

Oct 3

To Kolonodale (early)

Oct 4

Day in Kolonodale; Day boat trip in Timori Bay. Evening meeting with NGO Friends of Morowali to learn about the Wana people and local environmental / cultural identity issues.

Oct 5-10

Trek through the stunning Morowali Nature Reserve - tropical rain forest and home to a number of rare endemic birds and mammals. Spend time with the forest-dwelling Wana, the indigenous people who reside within the reserve and along its boundaries. Learn about sustainable hunting and gathering practices used by the Wana, and the issues they face, including the destruction the pristine primary rainforest in which they live, and the survival of their culture in a modern world.

Oct 11

Travel from Kolonodale to Kendari on the Pelni ferry.

Oct 12

Take the morning boat from Kendari to Wanci (leaves 10 am, arrives 8 pm) and spend the night in Wanci.

Oct 13-22

Travel from Wanci to Sampella via Kaledupa on morning boat. Stay in Sampella (Bajau/sea gypsy) village in homestays. Learn about intertidal farming, Bajau cooking, seaweed (agar) farming, Bajau religious practices and local rites and rituals. Meet with local shamans and Sampella’s renowned fisherman. Learn about local conservation issues and snorkel on Hoga islands stunning coral reefs.

Oct 23

Early morning departure for Wanci and night boat to Bau Bau

Oct 24

Arrival in Bau Bau; day in Bau Bau.

Oct 25-26

Morning Pelni from Bau Bau to Bandas via Ambon

Oct 27-Nov 5

Arrival in Bandas. Exploration of the Spice Islands (Palau Ayr, Run, Lontar and Hatta), hike volcano Gunung Api to see sunrise, harvest nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and kenari nuts with local farmers; learn about the rich history of the islands and its role in the Spice Trade. Brief service project through delivery of highly nutritional meals for young children on remote islands. Meet with local students and teach English in BandaNeira. Learn to dry fish in the local market and learn abut current interfaith dialogue in the region. Help out in the local sea turtle breeding center.

Nov 6

Fly from Banda to Amahai on island of Seram. Travel overland by vehicle to Saka and take longboats to Sawai on the coast of N. Seram.

Nov 7-8

Orientation in Sawai

Nov 9-17

Masihulan homestays; tree-planting; participating in bird rehabilitation project; harvest sago; weaving from rotan vines; learn the ancient Cakalele dance.

Nov 18-21

Classic river trip up the Sawalai river to trek in Manusela National Park; Forest ecology lessons, tree-climbing to canopy platforms.

Nov 22

Rest day in Sawai and Seram send off.

Nov. 23

Travel to Ambon

Nov 24- Dec 30

Student-led expedition in Maluku (Ambon area)

Dec 1

Return to Ambon

Dec 2-3

Begin transference and ISP presentations nea r Ambon

Dec 4-5

Fly to Bali from Ambon. Return to Bali for final student program debrief and transference activities, Balinese purification ceremony and final celebrations.

Dec. 6

Flight to US (departs at 4:00 pm) from Denpasar, Bali.

* subject to change

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

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Proposed Fall 2011 Indonesia Semester Itinerary

Jamie Woodall,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

Description

PROPOSED ITINERARY* INDONESIA FALL SEMESTER 2011 Island / Region Key USA Bali Sulawesi Maluku Dates Description of activities Sept 6-7 Depart Los Angeles Sept 8-11 Arrival in Bali; Initial student orientation and welcome in Sideman, central Bali. Students will stay in family run guesthouse for first few days. Sept 12-19 Begin semi-urban homestays in Banjar […]

Posted On

07/26/11

Author

Jamie Woodall

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Hello Indonesia Semester students!

It is no small thing for us to come together in this way, and I acknowledge and honor each of you for that which draws you to Indonesia for this Fall semester. Your desires, the questions in your hearts and minds, your passions and the call that you feel to these islands will be the very currents that shape our trip. Each one of you will shine your selves into our group, making it what it will be. I can't wait to meet you...

As I consider the path that has led me to Dragons, there are a few key threads that weave throughout and stand as my greatest influences, loves and purposes; international adventure and travel, the wilderness and natural elements, ceremony and ritual and body- based healing arts. These are the realms that have punctuated my direction and continue to call me forward into newer and deeper territory.

My taste for the magnificence of international adventure began as a small child. They trace themselves back to my grandmother’s garden in Dublin, and playing in the family farms in the Irish countryside.I grew up in Denver, Colorado, and began my college career at Loyola University in Chicago. One fateful day, I watched a video for Semester at Sea and knew that this was the beginning of my life-long dream of exploring other cultures. I transferred to The University of Colorado in Boulder so that I could save money for this adventure, and set sail in the Atlantic in the spring of 1998. We circumnavigated the globe and docked in 9 countries in South America, Africa and Asia. I completed my BA in Anthropology at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2000, and knew it was a degree that I could use in more ways than just professionally. For me, Anthropology was not a discipline to be executed in a particular fashion. It was a way of seeing life with eyes of curiosity and a desire to understand people and relationship from the inside out.

Upon my return, I began several years of immersion into both Native American Ceremony, and wilderness therapy work. For me, they were intimately connected. Ceremony offered a non-linear container and vehicle for profound personal transformation and exploration. It was rooted in the sacred experience and interconnection of the natural world and our own humanity. The power of this work caused me to want to work in an intensive way in the wilderness, and to use what I was learning to affect change in others. As I was drawn to the beauty of the desert, I landed at Second Nature, a therapeutic wilderness program for at-risk teenagers, and worked a field staff and mentor for 4 years in the high deserts and mountains of Utah. As such, I was part of incredible teams of therapists, doctors and other staff that facilitated these groups of students, integrating both clinical therapy and experiential education.

From Second Nature, I expanded my education and professional direction to deeper layers of healing that were inclusive of the body and spirit in a hands-on capacity. This quest led me to a hot springs in Northern California to study the aquatic bodywork modality of Watsu and Waterdance. I was again living in a tent, close to the land, and spending my days mastering in and being mastered by a new element: water. The water offered presence and softness, a deep listening, receptivity and grace that allowed for a surrender and knowing of self in a profound and unparalleled way. It was here that I furthered my study of the subtler aspects and relationship of our psyches, the body, and a greater source that feeds it all. My study of Chinese 5 element theory gave me a circular lens and greater understanding of how the 5 elements (earth, water, fire, wood, metal) relate and interact within and outside of us. My experience of the wilderness and my work there (primarily in the elements of earth, fire and wood) was radically expanded as I immersed myself in the element of water. Over the course of 2 years, I completed my certifications in Watsu, Waterdance, Massage and Shiatsu. I continued to work professionally for several years as a practitioner, both in one-on-one sessions, and facilitating groups in the water.

Currently, I am wrapping up a Dragon's summer course in Sikkim India. It has been a fantastic program and is getting me excited for our 3 months together in Indonesia.

As you prepare for our trip, take note of what is happening in your inner landscape. Notice what is bubbling up in the form of excitement, questions, or fears, and give them room to be there.

This trip has already begun.

See you very soon,

Sarah Byrden

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

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Introduction from Sarah Byrden

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Hello Indonesia Semester students! It is no small thing for us to come together in this way, and I acknowledge and honor each of you for that which draws you to Indonesia for this Fall semester. Your desires, the questions in your hearts and minds, your passions and the call that you feel to these […]

Posted On

07/25/11

Author

Sarah Byrden

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Hello Everyone!

As I write this, I am watching volcanic islands covered in farms and jungles, surrounded by coral reefs, passing by the opening of my cabin door. I am riding ferry a across the Banda Sea in Maluku, here in Indonesia.

Traveling with the summer Dragons group, we have just spent three incredible days in the Bandas (otherwise known as the Spice Islands) learning about the historic spice trade, camping out on a deserted island, climbing active volcanos, and snorkeling on some of the most gorgeous coral reefs I have ever seen. (Having spent two and a half years living in Fiji, that says a lot!)

I really cannot overemphasize how much of a remote and transformative adventure the Indonesia program is or how excited I am to be able to share it with you.

One of the overarching themes of this course is adaptation. There are two kinds of adaptation. One is evolutionary adaptation, which explains why Indonesia is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world with many thousands of species of wild and exotic birds, bats, and bugs and more strange little mammals than anyone can really keep track of. Each island has plants and animals found nowhere else on our planet.

The other kind of adaption is the kind that that humans do - cultural adaption. Indonesia provides a beautiful example of this as well. Nowhere else in this world are there so many unique languages, traditions, and ways of life than are scattered throughout these islands. We will not only have an opportunity to observe this, but it will be required from us as a group and as individuals. Each of us will be challenged on this trip. We will sleep in unfamiliar settings like platforms almost 100 feet off the ground in a jungle canopy or in stilted houses surrounded by water. We will be eating unfamiliar foods with flavors few of us can even imagine at this time. We will be interacting with unfamiliar people whose dress, language and even mannerisms will be different than our own. And we will be doing unfamiliar things like listening to the strange tonal sounds of gamelan music and hiking active volcanoes. The better we allow ourselves to adapt to these things the better we will thrive on this adventure together.

Allow me to share a little about myself...

I have a strong interest in the natural world and in human interactions with it. And, I love to teach about it almost as much as I love to learn about it. I have active interest in adventure and have spent most of my life, formally or informally, planning, leading, and participating on trips that challenge the body and mind. My educational background is in geology and environmental studies with heaps of field biology thrown in, but I learned the most about tropical island ecology during the years I spent in Fiji with the Peace Corps.

My home base is Philadelphia where I have just completed my MA in Public Health doing research on Bhutanese refugees who have recently arrived to the United States.I also have a BA in Geology and Environmental Studies, and am looking forward to sharing my passion for ecology with you.

I am very excited to get to know each one of you and to learn more about your interests. I have read over your student applications and am confident that we are going to make an excellent team.

With building excitement and a smile...

Brandon

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

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Introduction from Brandon Cherry

Brandon Cherry,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Hello Everyone! As I write this, I am watching volcanic islands covered in farms and jungles, surrounded by coral reefs, passing by the opening of my cabin door. I am riding ferry a across the Banda Sea in Maluku, here in Indonesia. Traveling with the summer Dragons group, we have just spent three incredible days […]

Posted On

07/25/11

Author

Brandon Cherry

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Indonesia Summer Clothing & Equipment List

THINK LIGHT! You will have to put whatever you bring onto mini-buses, jeeps and boats and you may have to carry your bag for long distances. The lighter you pack, the happier you (and the rest of the group) will be! Pack your bag and then walk around the block three times. Anything you can live without? Students who arrive in Los Angeles drastically over-packed will be asked to send extra items home at their own expense. And although there will be many opportunities to do your laundry by hand, you’ll be happiest with light, wrinkle-free, quick-dry clothing that doesn’t easily show dirt.

We recommend that you bring what's listed here, and not much more. Remember: It is very important that you can fit all of your belongings into one backpack (and a day pack) that you are comfortable carrying on your own!

DO BRING:

  • A BACKPACK maximum 45 liters. If your stuff doesn’t fit into this size pack, you are packing too much!
  • A BACKPACK COVER: Waterproof slip to fit over backpack is important as we will likely experience a few big downpours in the rainforest.
  • Personal travel MOSQUITO NET (single) - should be lightweight and pack down small.
  • CAMERA and memory cards or film. For extended periods of travel, we recommend at least 4 GB of memory, especially if you are shooting video footage with your digital camera.
  • STURDY DAY PACK (less than 20 litres) for day trips. This must be well-made as it will be used daily and may be weighted down with books or gear and water for day hikes.
  • Small lightweight DRY BAG for camera and other small personal items on boat rides
  • MASK and SNORKEL - make sure it is a good fit! We can rent fins in Indo.
  • THERMAREST inflatable mattress (will only be used for a short period on the program but is necessary for village stay in Morowali and a few other destinations). The 3/4 length style is good as it packs down really small and is enough to get you through a few nights on a hard floor.
  • Small MOSQUITO REPELLENT (smaller than 3 oz) you can buy more in Indonesia.
  • One pair of walking OR hiking SHOES Commonly known as “approach shoes”. The best option is a light, low top, quick-draining hiker or mountain running shoe that can double as a street shoe. (These must be able to fit inside your pack).
  • One pair of walking SANDALS like Chacos, Tevas, Keens or flip flops (again, these should fit inside your pack). Flip flops are readily available throughout Indonesia for approximately $2-3 USD/pair but are not as strong as some North American or European brands. Please note that is is also difficult to find large shoe sizes sizes (greater than men’s 11) in Indonesia. Please make sure that the top sides of the flip flops are textured to ensure that you can walk comfortably in them even if they are wet or muddy.
  • Small travel size SHAMPOO and conditioner that will last about one week. You can buy more in Indonesia when you run out.
  • TOOTHBRUSH and small tube of toothpaste. These are also available in Indonesia.
  • Small travel size SOAP. We recommend liquid form as it is much easier to deal with. You can buy more in-country when you run out.
  • One DEODORANT that you prefer, there is a limited selection here.
  • Lightweight small or medium sized QUICK-DRY TOWEL. When you arrive, there will be opportunities to buy the traditional sarongs and bathing clothing that is used by most people in South East Asia.
  • RAIN JACKET / PONCHO (highly breathable and lightweight). Alternatively, you can buy a very compact rain poncho in Indonesia for USD $3-4.
  • WOOL or SYNTHETIC SOCKS* 2-3 pairs. Some wool socks are blended with nylon to make them more comfy and to help them last longer. Trail running socks would be ideal.
  • Small, lightweight HEADLAMP. Very important!
  • MEDICATIONS of any kind, prescription or over the counter, with instructions on its use and dosage (by your doctor if by prescription).
  • MONEY BELT or Security Wallet: You’ll want to keep your passport, traveler’s checks and other valuables in a secure wallet or belt that’s well attached to your body. Eagle Creek makes good products.
  • SUNSCREEN, 30+ (1-2 bottles) You can buy refills, if needed, in Asia but it is more expensive).
  • LIP BALM WITH SUNSCREEN
  • SUNGLASSES with good UV protection and a hard case for rugged travel is advised.
  • GLASSES. If you wear glasses or contacts, please bring an extra pair.
  • WATCH with an alarm, but a small travel alarm clock will work as well. Waterproof watches are preferable.
  • WATER BOTTLE 1-Quart Plastic (such as a Nalgene) or Aluminum water bottle (such as a Sigg).
  • HAT which offers good sun protection.
  • THICKER SLEEPING SHEET or EXTREMELY LIGHTWEIGHT SLEEPING BAG – Sleeping sheets should be silk or cotton. Alternatively, you can bring any old sheet from home and then go on an adventure to find a seamstress in the local market to sew a sheet for you. Two inexpensive sarongs (available everywhere in Indonesia) sewn together will also serve this purpose! Alternatively, you can bring a lightweight sleeping bag (for use in warm climates) - just make sure it can pack down small. The latter is recommended if you tend to sleep cold.
  • A handful of strong Ziplock bags as they serve many purposes and keep things dry!
  • A JOURNAL and 2 pens.
  • Small ALBUM of pictures of family and friends including pictures of your house, school and local landscapes/cities. Pictures are great for starting conversations, using in English lessons, or just to ward off homesickness. Great for home stays too. (Suggestion: Avoid pictures showing immodest clothing such as bikinis as they are not culturally appropriate, especially in rural areas of Sulawesi and Maluku.)

Boys:

  • Two presentable and polite T-SHIRTs (you will get a Dragon’s t-shirt and this can serve as one t-shirt). Quick dry shirts that wick away sweat are a great choice. Try to avoid black or really dark colors, as it is hot in Indonesia! More t-shirts can be purchased in Indonesia if necessary.
  • One EXTRA T-SHIRT for sleeping in home-stays and villages
  • One LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT for hiking in the jungle (mosquito protection)
  • One LIGHTWEIGHT FLEECE TOP that dries quickly
  • One pair of lightweight shorts that can be worn for sleeping in home-stays and villages.
  • Five changes of UNDERWEAR (should not be visible in any cases).
  • SOCKS: 3 pairs (same as above)
  • One presentable COLLARED SHIRT (can be short sleeved as it will be hot. Bring light colors but try to avoid white entirely as it gets dirty easily.)
  • One-two pair(s) of smart/ casual PANTS (lightweight like Dockers). Please make sure that at least one pair is dressy enough to meet local officials.
  • Two pairs of smart/casual knee-length shorts. Quick dry shorts are ideal, but sturdy cotton shorts will work as well. Avoid thin mesh / athletic shorts as they are too casual.
  • One pair of board SHORTS or swimsuit shorts
  • Rash Guard or equivalent top for water based activities for 100% sun protection while snorkeling and exploring coral reefs

Girls:

  • One presentable and polite T-SHIRT (you will get a Dragon’s t-shirt and this can serve as your t-shirt). Quick dry shirts that wick away sweat are a great choice. Try to avoid black or really dark colors, as it is hot in Indonesia! More t-shirts can be purchased in Indonesia if necessary.
  • One modest, slightly dressy SHIRT or blouse for meetings with local officials (Bring light colors and try to avoid white entirely as it gets dirty easily)
  • One EXTRA T-SHIRT and shorts or lightweight pajama bottoms for sleeping in home-stays and villages. (NO TANK TOPS—girls’ shoulders should be covered.)
  • Five changes of UNDERWEAR (should not be visible in any cases).
  • SOCKS: 3 pairs. (same as above)
  • One presentable and modest lightweight SKIRT which is almost down to the ankles. It should not be possible to see underclothing through the skirt.
  • Two pairs of lightweight QUICK-DRY PANTS.
  • One swimsuit for snorkeling and other ocean/reef activities (see above) It can be one or two piece as it will be covered up anyway. (see below)
  • One pair of board shorts or swimsuit SHORTS which can double as shorts (must extend TO THE KNEE). Because women in Indonesia dress very modestly, girls will be required to wear rash-guards and shorts over their swimwear.
  • RASH GUARD or equivalent top for water based activities for 100% sun protection AND MODESTY while snorkeling and exploring coral reefs (see above)
  • Six-week supply of tampons (these are very difficult to find and very expensive in Indo) or look into Diva/Moon Cup. Pads are readily available in Bali and in bigger cities.

OPTIONAL:

  • HOMESTAY GIFTS A few simple things to present to home-stay families and to give away to people who help make our course special. Postcards of home, friendship bracelets, small calendars, buttons/pins, and inflatable globes are great, as well photos of yourself. Children’s English books are also appreciated everywhere. Students can also buy art / school supplies in Indo for a fraction of the cost and these are always welcome gifts. (Students can discuss other appropriate gifts when their instructors call to introduce themselves in mid-August)
  • TRAVEL-SIZED BINOCULARS: Great for spotting wildlife and amazing birds in the rainforest
  • ELECTROLYTES: You can buy electrolyte powder to mix with water here in Indonesia, and the local brand name, Pocari is readily available. But, if you prefer additional flavors such that it might be a good idea to bring some from home for hiking.
  • VITAMIN SUPPLEMENT POWDER: Emergen-C or similar vitamin powders are an extra treat along long walks.
  • Foam EAR PLUGS for noisy planes or rural homestays, Great for people who know they are light sleepers.

*One other thing that is essential equipment: A HEALTHY BODY! Your experience will be so much more enjoyable if you come with a body that is fully prepared for the journey. We recommend an exercise regimen that gets your heart rate above 120 beats per minute, for thirty minutes at a stretch, four times a week. If you can’t do this much, do what you can - the more the better! There will be several opportunities on the course to go for long walks or ride bikes from one village to another. The better your condition, the greater the number of opportunities you’ll be able to seize.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO BUY ON THE INDONESIA SUMMER COURSE:

  • Traditional Indonesian cultural artifacts such as masks, carvings, shadow puppets and paintings
  • Textiles such as sarongs and batiks
  • Jewelry
  • Traditional spices, palm sugar and other dried, importable delicacies

There will time to buy souvenirs at the end of the course, as well as additional boxes or bags for transporting the souvenirs back to the US.

PLEASE DO NOT BRING:

  • Too many books – they are heavy and do not last long in the rainy season. Many books are available for purchase in-country
  • Avoid dreadlocks and/or messy hair. Unkempt hair is not culturally appropriate.
  • Mobile phones
  • MP3 players
  • Any sort of electronic entertainment
  • Toiletries bigger than 3 oz
  • Bare midriffs (no stomach should show at all) or short shorts
  • Low-riding or long pants that drag; not culturally appropriate and a safety concern
  • Full size cotton towels; they are too heavy.
  • More than one pair of shoes and one pair of sandals (Please remember that your shoes must fit inside your backpack;
  • Jeans—heavy and will not have time to dry in the humidity and rain
  • Anything made of leather that you don’t want ruined

Boys: do NOT bring...

  • extremely low, hip-riding pants which show boxers / undergarments as it is not culturally acceptable

Girls: do NOT bring...

  • shorts or skirts above the knees
  • tank tops
  • low cut shirts
  • makeup
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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

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Updated Packing List

Jamie Woodall,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Indonesia Summer Clothing & Equipment List THINK LIGHT! You will have to put whatever you bring onto mini-buses, jeeps and boats and you may have to carry your bag for long distances. The lighter you pack, the happier you (and the rest of the group) will be! Pack your bag and then walk around the […]

Posted On

07/11/11

Author

Jamie Woodall

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Dear Indonesia Fall 2011 Semester Students, Families and Friends,

Selamat Datang or Welcome! Over the coming months, I have no doubt that we will all get to know one another as we share the journey of these 12 intrepid travelers through the extraordinary cultural and physical landscapes of Bali, Sulawesi and Maluku. Indonesia’s stunning archipelago of over 17,000 islands is a mecca for those interested in exploring the wonders of the natural world, unique and diverse indigenous communities and their own inner landscapes.

As the Indonesia Semester Director, I will be in constant communication with the group, and will often serve as your liaison, posting notes and updates on their behalf, especially when they are out of email / telephone contact for a while. I welcome your questions anytime, and am happy tell you anything you want to know about the program. I wanted to take this opportunity as well, to simply introduce myself, and to share a little more about my background and my role as the Indonesia Semester Director.

I should begin by telling you that I reside in Bali, so there may be a short lag time in email responses due to the time difference. (I am 16 hours ahead of Pacific Standard time) I live just northwest of the cultural hub of Ubud, with my husband and two children (a seven year old daughter and four year old son).

My role as Indonesia Semester Director is to support the Instructor team to ensure that they run the best course possible! This includes everything from logistics to risk management to communication and curriculum delivery. Integral to the program’s success is clear and consistent communication with parents, students, the Instructor team and Dragons administration in Boulder. As much of the program involves travel through remote rainforests and uninhabited islands, this may even take the form of conveying updates from the group via satellite phone text messages!

I have spent hours looking over the student applications and I am in awe of the unique talents and experiences each member of this group is bringing to this program! I am looking forward to the incredible community we are going to cultivate over the course of the spring. It is my sincere hope that this group returns home in December not only understanding a little more about the beauty, and complexity, of Indonesian culture, but also, a better understanding of their own personal strengths, and what they have to offer the global community. Having spent some time with the fall and spring semester students, as well as the current summer group, I am reminded that the extremely “off-the-beaten-path” quality of this program naturally draws young explorers with a real taste for adventure! It is wonderful to see how each group, with their own unique interests and goals, can the same itinerary and make the experience totally their own! I really encourage you all to start thinking about the topics you would like to dive into for your Independent Study Projects (ISP). I will help in that process by posting soon a few suggestions and ISP topics from the past that have worked really well.

One of the great aspects of traveling in such a small group is that everyone really gets to know one another. Sure, it can be hard sometimes, but rest assured you will walk away from this program with some amazing new friends. We spend the first 4 days of our program in Bali doing a student orientation focussed on nothing other than developing positive group culture and simply connecting as a group before stepping out into the wider circle of this incredible archipelago!

As for my background, I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and have been working in the field of education since 1992, when I started out working with young adults as a Therapeutic Tutor for kids with different learning styles (such as Dyslexia and ADHD). I loved the opportunity to work one-on-one with individual students to help them define and achieve their goals. After my first year of teaching, I traveled through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, and India for a year. My travels left a very deep impression on me and following my second year of teaching in Canada, I returned to Asia with a friend and a mountain bike, determined to delve a little deeper into the secret corners and niches I had been unable to explore by bus and train on my previous trip. Our journey took us from Kathmandu (Nepal) into Tibet where we headed west to the ancient trading center of Kashgar in Xinjiang, across the Khunjerab Pass and into Pakistan, traveling down the glorious Karakoram Highway eventually traveling down India’s west coast. After 10 months of grueling cycle travel, I returned to Kathmandu, Nepal to volunteer at an orphanage, study language, and apprentice in Buddhist art with a Tibetan teacher.Despite choosing a pretty different path to a lot of my friends back home, I was confident that I was on the right one. Every day present me with so many learning opportunities and I was growing in leaps and bounds, as I know you will too.

During the summer of 1999, I co-instructed my first Dragons summer program to Mt. Kailas, in western Tibet. Finally, my love of working with young adults, of traveling in Asia, and my interest in education, art and religious studies had found a place to flourish! Following a short trip to Laos and Burma, I returned to Boulder to work as the Program Director. In 2000, I instructed another Kailas program, and again, was greatly moved by the personal transformations I witnessed both in the field and long after the return home. I co-instructed the fall Himalayan Studies Semester in 2001, the Sikkim summer program in 2003, and the Himalayan Studies fall semester in 2004. Since then, I have continued to create Dragons Custom Programs for schools.

In January of 2009, I moved to Bali with my family, to develop programming for the Green School, an international school which focuses on environmental sustainability. But, the more I learned about Indonesia, and the more I explored, the more I dreamed about Dragons in Indonesia. With its pristine rain forests, incredible biodiversity, stunning marine environments, and unique indigenous communities - it was a program waiting to happen. So, after months of scouting and over a year of meeting with people who know Indonesia intimately, we designed an itinerary that would take Dragons students to some of the most spectacular parts of this vast archipelago. And, in the fall of 2010, the pioneering group of students made their way through the jungles, temples, and azure waters of Bali, Sulawesi and Maluku, blazing the trail for other Dragons students to come. Each group has brought with them their own distinct energy and defined each program in such distinct ways.

There is no doubt that this new group of fall explorers will discover new places and communities, forge new friendships, and define their own experience in a way that will be completely unique to this semester but one thing is certain - it will be a challenging, profound, and life changing experience. I am so excited about everything that will unfold over the coming twelve weeks, and look forward to sharing it with all of you.

I commend you for diving in and if you are a parent, for supporting your son or daughter’s decision to go out and explore the world. It is a big step that takes a lot of courage - on both your parts. I will leave you with the words of Herman Hes se who so eloquently captures the essence and magic of experiential learning and inspiring adventure travel in the following quotation from Steppenwolf:

"Only within yourself exists that other reality for which you long. I can give you nothing that has not already its being within yourself. I can throw open to you no picture gallery but your own soul. All I can give you is the opportunity, the impulse, the key. I can help you to make your own world visible. That is all."

I look forward to getting to know all of you over the coming months and welcome your questions anytime!

Best regards,

Jamie Woodall

Indonesia Semester Director

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Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

View post

Introduction to Indonesia Semester Program Director

Jamie Woodall,Indonesia Semester, Fall 2011

Description

Dear Indonesia Fall 2011 Semester Students, Families and Friends, Selamat Datang or Welcome! Over the coming months, I have no doubt that we will all get to know one another as we share the journey of these 12 intrepid travelers through the extraordinary cultural and physical landscapes of Bali, Sulawesi and Maluku. Indonesia’s stunning archipelago […]

Posted On

07/8/11

Author

Jamie Woodall