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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012


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My name's Julia, I'm 17 from Kalispell, Montana, but I've actually lived all over the place, including Maryland, Singapore and I even lived in Indonesia. I lived in Indonesia from when I was a few months old to when I was 13 in Jakarta, its capitol. I hadn't been to many places there, except for the island of Java, Bali, Flores and Kalimantan-- so most of the places we'll be going on this trip will be very new for me. The reason I chose the Indonesia program is because of what it focus' on. I've done a lot of trekking before, and frankly languages are not my strongest subjects, so I looked through most of the programs for one that was more community based-- aka the Indonesia program. Plus I've always wanted to go to Sulawesi! I'm really excited to get to know all of y'all, and I’m hoping that the whole trip will be a lot of fun. If you guys have any questions for me, I’d be happy to answer them! Just so you know though, I rarely find time to get online so it might take a while!

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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Hi from Julia.

Julia Marcou,Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

Description

My name’s Julia, I’m 17 from Kalispell, Montana, but I’ve actually lived all over the place, including Maryland, Singapore and I even lived in Indonesia. I lived in Indonesia from when I was a few months old to when I was 13 in Jakarta, its capitol. I hadn’t been to many places there, except for […]

Posted On

06/15/12

Author

Julia Marcou

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On June 29th, our group departs Los Angeles bound for our adventure in Indonesia. We arrive in Bali the following day and travel northwest by bemo from the island’s largest city, Denpasar, to the village of Kerambitan. Long renowned as a village of artisans, dancers, and musicians, Kerambitan makes a perfect living classroom in which to learn about Bali’s artistic and religious heritage. We spend our first few days in the village in a program orientation and getting to know our fellow travelers. On July 4th, we move into our first homestays. For the next four days, we participate in daily activities with our host families, take Indonesian language lessons with Guru Nyoman, attend religious and artistic events, and learn about the development and environmental issues facing Bali.

On July 9th, we say goodbye to our friends and host families in Bali and fly to the port city of Bau-Bau on the isle of Buton in South East Sulawesi. From Bau-Bau, we travel overnight by boat to the island of Wanci in the Wakatobi Archipelago. The following morning, we take another boat further out in the archipelago to the vibrant Bajau community of Sampela. Home to people that live the majority of their lives on the water, Sampela is a community built entirely over the sea. Once there, we meet our local guide Pak Andar and move into the homes of our second homestay families. In Sampela, we fish in dugout canoes with our host siblings and fathers, snorkel in nearby coral reefs, learn about the Bajau’s maritime mythology, volunteer in the local school, study the unique political and environmental challenges facing the community, and enjoy the daily lives of the people of this effervescent community.

On July 17th, we depart Sampela for Bau-Bau, traveling again by boats via Wanci. Depending on the arrival date of the Pelni ship (Pelni is the name of Indonesia’s national boat line), we depart Bau-Bau for Ambon sometime during the following few days. After an overnight journey, we will arrive in Ambon, capital of the state of Southern Maluku. From there, we travel by bus and commuter boat to the island of Seram where we are joined by our local guide Pak Naldo in the seaside town of Masohi. We spend a day in Masohi learning about the region’s history of religious conflict and reconciliation before traveling by car through Seram’s densely forested interior to the indigenous community of Masihulan. While in Masihulan, we live with our third and final homestay families and learn about bird rehabilitation, mangrove ecology, sago cultivation, hunting and gathering, local religious traditions, and so much more. Our homestay is followed by a trek into five-day adventure in the magnificent jungle that surrounds Masihulan.We will be accompanied by 5 local guides, several of whom will be our host fathers. During our five days in the jungle camp, we hike, explore a cave, enjoy the aquamarine waters of the river running in our camp, learn about bird poaching that existed in Masihulan, hunt with bows and arrows, catch prawns and eel in the river at night, visit an impressive waterfall, and sing local songs late into the night with our guides.

On August 4th, we depart Masihulan and spend the night in Masohi, before heading to Ambon to catch our flight back to Bali. Our incredible journey comes to a close in Ubud, Bali’s traditional cultural capital. We spend our final days together reflecting on our trip and preparing to return to America. Then, on August 8th, we depart Bali bound for Los Angeles.
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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Tentative Itinerary Narrative

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

Description

On June 29th, our group departs Los Angeles bound for our adventure in Indonesia. We arrive in Bali the following day and travel northwest by bemo from the island’s largest city, Denpasar, to the village of Kerambitan. Long renowned as a village of artisans, dancers, and musicians, Kerambitan makes a perfect living classroom in which […]

Posted On

06/2/12

Author

Sarah Byrden

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I just wanted to share some good questions from a parent in case anyone else has similar ones. My responses are in italics.
  1. Is it recommended to soak any and/or all clothing and mosquito netting, etc. in permethrin and if so how many or which items?

We do not have a specific recommendation on soaking clothing/netting in permethrin or other repellants. Past students and instructors have chosen not to do so.

  1. What about water purification tablets or filters? The list just mentions a Nalgene type water bottle.

Students will have access to potable water throughout the trip, so filters/tablets are not necessary.

  1. The list mentions 1 – 2 bottles of sunscreen and that deodorant is not readily available so bring your own. It also mentions “Do Not Bring Toiletries bigger than 3 oz.” Does that mean to bring 1 – 2 bottles of 3 oz. sunscreen and a couple of small deodorants? Is this because of carry-on regulations and ALL of their toiletries including insect repellant and sunscreen have to fit in one quart size zip lock?

Yes, due to flight regulations plus general weight/bulkiness. We'd recommend bringing 1-2 small (3 oz) bottles of suncreen and deodorants are entirely optional. In fact, everyone will likely be sweaty and smelly after about day 2 of the trip! Plus, scented deodorants tend to attract bugs.

  1. One of the instructor posts on the Yak Yak site mentioned to be sure and bring a mask and snorkel, as mentioned on the list, because the quality in Indonesia is poor. However, mask and snorkel are not on the list. Ian has a nice mask and snorkel that fit properly, should he pack it if it fits?

Yes, please bring a mask and snorkel. If you do not have one, you can borrow from another student, but it is much nicer to have your own. Cheap goggles also make great gifts for our home-stay families!

  1. Is there any need to get Indonesian currency here before Ian leaves? If so how much in US dollars should we order from the bank? Not sure about entry, exit fees, taxes, etc.

No, not necessary. Students will be able to change money upon arrival in Indonesia.

  1. How much cash in US dollars should students travel with? Again, not sure about fees, etc. and if US Dollars will work.

Dollars do not work in Indonesia, except in some more touristy locations in Bali. We recommend changing cash into rupiahs in Bali since there is limited access to ATMs and money exchanges once we leave Bali.

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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Parent questions

Aaron Slosberg,Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

Description

I just wanted to share some good questions from a parent in case anyone else has similar ones. My responses are in italics. Is it recommended to soak any and/or all clothing and mosquito netting, etc. in permethrin and if so how many or which items? We do not have a specific recommendation on soaking […]

Posted On

06/1/12

Author

Aaron Slosberg

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    [post_content] => To our soon-to-be students:

In just a few weeks we will meet in Los Angeles and head off together to spend the summer in one of the world’s most culturally and ecologically diverse countries. Indonesia. One nation. Thousands of islands, hundreds of different cultures, languages, religious traditions, artistic practices, and unique species of animals and plants. How do they all coexist within the borders of a single country? You’ll soon find out!

There is an Indonesian saying that goes:Asam di gunung garam di laut bertemu dalam satu belanga. “Tamarind from the mountains and salt from the sea meet inside a single pot.” If there was ever a place where ingredients from disparate sources come together in one pot, it’s Indonesia. You will taste this complexity as you learn the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, with its vocabulary from Malay, Sanskrit, Arabic, Portuguese, and Dutch. You will feel it in Bali, where indigenous culture and Indian religion are inseparably intertwined. You will hear about it in the stories of the Bajau People as they describe fishing trips across the breadth of Southeast Asia’s seas and life-changing encounters with people from Malaysia, Papua, and even Australia. You will gorge on it in the village of Masihulan where the local cuisine is itself a melting pot of historic influences—stir fried jungle fern, Dutch chocolate rolls fresh from the oven, mouthfuls of sago paste slathered with Javanese hot sauce. Although we will spend our summer together in a single country, we will actually be going to three unique but interconnected worlds each made up of agado gado(mixture) of ingredients from numerous cultures, places, and times.

I could think of no better way to introduce myself to you than to use the metaphor from this Indonesian saying. Having spent so much of my life learning from mentors and friends in foreign countries, I feel rather like the pot in which ingredients from disparate sources simmer together into one dish. It has been ten years since I first left America. I was 16 and somehow convinced my parents to let me spend several months living in Spain with family friends from the University of Madrid. After that, I was hooked. I returned to Spain each summer of high school. In college, I managed to spend three semesters abroad. First I spent six months in Mali, West Africa, working with an indigenous human rights education project. Then I backpacked through India and Nepal before moving into a monastery to spend a semester studying Buddhist philosophy and meditation. I was so inspired by the activists and Buddhist practitioners I met in India that as soon as I graduated from college I returned to the country on a fellowship that allowed me to spend a year working on human rights and environmental campaigns with a foundation in New Delhi. Since then, I’ve been hopping back and forth between India and Indonesia working as an instructor with Dragons and studying South Asian languages, history, politics, and religion.

As my life unfolds in different corners of the world, what once seemed foreign and separate comes together naturally like tamarind from the mountains and salt from the sea.I hope you too will feel inspired this summer to open yourself up and add
to your potall that Indonesia—its wonderful people, cultures, and environment—has to offer. Get ready! The identity of a place like this has a way of seeping into you and forever changing yours...

So, that’s a little about me. How about you? Use the Yak Board to introduce yourself to the group. Food metaphors welcome.
We can’t wait to meet you all!!!
-- Matt
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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Introduction from Matt

Matt Colaciello,Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

Description

To our soon-to-be students: In just a few weeks we will meet in Los Angeles and head off together to spend the summer in one of the world’s most culturally and ecologically diverse countries. Indonesia. One nation. Thousands of islands, hundreds of different cultures, languages, religious traditions, artistic practices, and unique species of animals and […]

Posted On

05/23/12

Author

Matt Colaciello

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Dari Sabang Sampai Maurake

berjarjar pulau-pulau

Sambung menyambung jadi satu

itulah Indonesia

From Sabang to Merauke

islands in a line

uniting into one

that’s Indonesia

http://beingindonesian.com/

Indonesia. Over 17,000 islands and 726 distinct languages under the banner of one nation. Home to the largest Muslim population in the world, yet ruled by a secular constitution that guarantees the right to individual beliefs. It’s a developed nation that has more citizens on Facebook than there are people in Canada, where you can debate the differences between Western and Asian democracies while sipping on a type of traditional health drink so old it’s featured on the walls on of a 7th century Buddhist monument in central Java. Here in the city of Yogyakarta, gong orchestras recount centuries-old Hindu epics in a tradition that has been passed down through countless generations, but their music and morals are also featured by one of the nation’s most popular hip-hop ensembles. Traditional Islamic educational institutions called pesantren have been in existence here for hundreds of years, but our city is also home to first pesantren in the world for transgender Muslims. To speak of ‘Indonesia’ is to encompass a startling diversity of histories, lifeways, beliefs, geographies, and practices that defy easy categorization, and challenge common perceptions about what a “modern” nation should look like.

Too many, Indonesia evokes images of exotic wilderness, remote tribal peoples, and mysterious cultural rituals that seem obscured in the mists of some primordial past. These images capture, in part, the reality of a chain of islands that contains some of the most breathtaking geographic and cultural diversity on the face of the globe. Yet like photos in a glossy magazine, they also lack dimension and depth, telling us little of dynamic and modern context from which they come. You no doubt have been drawn to this journey by images of compelling landscapes and faces that speak of a reality seemingly so different from your own. We are inviting you to come and step outside the frame. We ask you to consider who falls outside the edges of those images, who decides what symbols ‘represent’ such a diverse group of people, and to see that those ‘pristine’ wildernesses are contested spaces, influenced by the interests of various groups: politicians, local inhabitants, environmentalists, religious practitioners, and us. No matter where we are, from the crowded city streets of Makassar to deep jungle of Masihulan, we’ll be examining issues that are just as connected to who we are as they are of great importance to the communities we visit.

I hope that what we can discover is how ‘their’ stories are actually our stories too. This was the lesson that has stayed with me since I first set foot on Indonesian soil ten years ago. My plan to travel around Southeast Asia in the months after the events of September 11th was a catalyst for people’s fear and uncertainty, leading both strangers and friends at home to caution me that the world was not a safe place for Americans, especially when it came to ‘Muslim’ countries. When I arrived in Indonesia, nervous and unsure of how people would react to my presence, the most common question I was asked, from island to island, in city cafes and the simple homes of farmers, was “why do you hate us?” Where I had expected anger, I found genuine puzzlement, concern, and the very real result of the discourse of American essentialism. What people were saying in the United States had rippled outward across the world, been interpreted, and was being used interpret me. I was unprepared to explain to most of the people that I met that not only did I not hate them, but that I knew almost nothing about them. This brought about the realization that I needed to rethink how where I came from influenced, and would continue to influence, my interactions with others half a world from home. Instead of just recognizing that the larger context of world politics and diplomatic relations was coded into how we thought about each other, I also began to consider that improving those interactions required me to examine some of the tacit (unconscious) assumptions that were part of my cultural upbringing. Not just so I could move us beyond the question that bothered me so much, but also so we could have better discussions about how that question came about and the assumptions it contained. Even, perhaps, to change them.

It’s a process that for me that has no foreseeable end. Ten years later, I’m still thinking about how we understand who we are in relation to others, in an ever-changing flow of circumstances. Classification is a basic part of human social interaction. It is influenced not only by our individual selves but also in our participation in larger shared ideas that we call “culture”. One of the challenges we face as global citizens is not only in recognizing that people classify things differently, but in understanding that power comes from the ability to claim that your way of classifying things is the only way, the ‘right’ way, or the authoritative way. In other words, is it possible for us to recognize that the world is populated by different perspectives, without needing to claim that ours is the only one that has the right to exist?

In Indonesia, these questions are essential to the future of a diverse citizenry. As a lecturer in a religious studies program at one of the oldest universities in Indonesia, admitting a diversity of perspectives is the first step in finding a common ground from which we can decide on the direction of a shared future. Recently, I marched in solidarity with residents of the city of Yogyakarta to demand that the government protect people’s right to have different opinions, not just between groups, but within them. Students involved in this effort wanted to point out that what it means to be “Muslim” is always in negotiation, and no one group has the right to insist that their version of Islam is the only one. More abstractly, they are asking questions that are essential to all of us: who has the right to represent the ‘identities’ (religious, national, ethnic) that we belong to? How do we deal with diverse interpretations within one religious and moral system? What’s the best way to approach conflict and disagreement over those life-practices that we feel define us? How can we live together if we don’t always agree on everything? What role do political institutions and civil society organizations play in building a system that works for the benefit of more than one group? I am certain that these questions are not just about what’s going on in Indonesia, but about what human societies are facing everywhere, everyday, at this moment in time.

Our task for you entails an aspect of risk. We’ll ask you to think about how the people we’ll meet may have a very different understanding of those images that represent Indonesia – where you and I see a pristine beach and water full of vulnerable coral reef, our local hosts may see a landmarks that map the heroic deeds of their ancestors and tell them the story of who they are. Where we see women engaging in veiling practices that we classify as repressive, we may be surprised when they describe their actions as an expression of individual choice. We’ll ask you to listen to others’ view of you, a view that may seem so one-dimensional you won’t be able to recognize yourself in it. Perhaps most importantly, we’ll ask you to turn the lens on yourself and make a new image of who you are.

In many ways, Indonesia encapsulates the global story of how ‘traditional’ societies interact with the forces, institutions and ideas that come along with modernity. But don’t be lulled into thinking this means we can draw a clear line between the ‘traditional’ past and now, or between the “indigenous” and the imported. If we think about globalization as having something to do with networks of contact, then Indonesia has been globalizing since the 7th century, when strains of Hinduism and Buddhism mingled with early religious practices here. This process continued into the 14th century when Chinese and Arab merchants carried Islam to the shores of archipelago along with the products of other civilizations, and into the colonial period, when the Dutch East Indies company and later the Dutch state began to classify the societies of the archipelago according to European hierarchies. Diversity, change, and contestation are as much a tangible aspect of the Indonesian landscape as its great towering volcanoes are. Like photos, black and white categorizations like “new” and “old”, or “authentic” and “inauthentic” have the tendency to freeze the frame and deny the flow of history. History has already changed with your decision to set sail on your own ship for distant shores – your history, our history, and the history of all the people you have yet to meet here.

Stepping outside the frame is frightening. When we see only the image, it can’t change or speak back. When we hold the camera, we can control what gets in and what gets left out, and that control is comforting. But if we never dare to challenge the borders of the picture, we are always restricted to the narrow view. Come with us and see the multi-faceted hues of a world that can never be fully captured in images, all the subtle shades the still picture misses. It’s something that can only be experienced with all your senses in the course of human interaction. We are waiting for you here beyond the borders of what you see and know.

The link above leads to the website “dari Sabang ke Merauke” (from Sabang to Merauke) where you’ll find some great images from across the Indonesian archipelago. Check out some of the images and see which places draw you in. Try and imagine what might be right outside the borders of the image. Even better, do some reading and start to learn about the world beyond the image. If something catches your eye and you want to explore further, I am happy to chat with you about further reading and additional resources, or just share with you what I’ve learned in my ten years of living and studying here. I can be reached at swazey@hawaii.edu to correspond in writing or to set up time to chat over skype.

Salam hangat (warm regards)

Kelli Swazey

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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Introduction from instructor Kelli!

Kelli Swazey,Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

Description

Dari Sabang Sampai Maurake berjarjar pulau-pulau Sambung menyambung jadi satu itulah Indonesia From Sabang to Merauke islands in a line uniting into one that’s Indonesia http://beingindonesian.com/ Indonesia. Over 17,000 islands and 726 distinct languages under the banner of one nation. Home to the largest Muslim population in the world, yet ruled by a secular constitution […]

Posted On

05/15/12

Author

Kelli Swazey

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Dear fellow explorers,


Hello!


I write to you from a refreshingly cloudy day in Bali, overlooking a newly harvested rice paddy. Soon, your eyes will rest on a very similar view, and you will feel this gentle air of the tropics on your own skin. Be excited. Be very excited! We will be here on this wonderful island together in just 6 short weeks, and will begin an adventure that I assure you, you will never forget.

This note is to shower you with a resounding and emphatic W E L C O M E and to be our introductory virtual handshake until we meet in person, very soon.



A bit about me....


I love getting dirty. With dirt.

I love dancing.

I love movies with great kitchen scenes. (I know, weird)

I love the rain.

I love sleeping on the ground.

I love Indonesia.

I love Indonesia.

I love working with students....like you.


I was born and raised in Denver, CO and graduated from the University of Colorado in 2000 with a BA in Anthropology. For me, anthropology was an inquiry into being a human on planet earth. It highlighted a fundamental way of seeing and engaging in life that was at the core of my own personal ethic. It beckoned the effort to understand people, to respect their values and ways of life, and to rest in the primary sameness of our humanity. My longing to meet the people I was reading about in books led me to Semester at Sea during my sophomore year. We voyaged to 9 countries in South America, Africa and Asia in 3 short months... and so began my intense love of travel and the profound learning that occurs when we depart from our concepts and defer to our direct experience. It was this little seed of global inspiration that grew into the landscape of my life, and is the reason that I am looking at a banana tree in Bali right now.


Upon graduating from CU, I extended my great love of learning and people to a professional path as an educator and facilitator in this great realm of “experience”. I began work as a field staff in a clinically therapeutic wilderness program for at-risk teens in Utah. Beyond the proof I had in my own life, It was here that I first saw the power and potential of the wilderness and experiential education to facilitate profound transformation and empowerment.


In 2004, I was inspired to expand my education and knowledge of healing and transformation to include the somatic realm of body based healing. I completed a 2 year/ 1200 hour certification program at a school in Northern California, in the healing modalities of shiatsu, massage, craniosacral therapy, watsu and waterdance (2 aquatic modalities).


For me, the marriage of wilderness/experiential education + body awareness/healing and presence offered incredible opportunities for my students and clients to engage in transformation, applied education and leadership empowerment. In the decade that followed, I continued to work as both an instructor/facilitator with programs in Utah, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, and as a bodywork practitioner. Currently, I work for the Bali-based Odyssey Institute as a facilitator for their experiential and environmental education programs with students, and have been here since March.


In 2011, I had the strong desire to be both challenged and inspired to new levels as an educator, and to work with an organization in which I could further synthesize my passions, collaborate with rock-star colleagues, and contribute to a meaningful evolution for students. I found my way to Where There Be Dragons, and my wish was granted.


Last year, I worked with Dragons as an instructor for the Sikkim, India Summer and the Indonesia Fall Semester Programs. It was my first time to Indonesia, and absolutely opened my mind and heart in ways that I never expected.


It is worth mentioning that during our Fall Semester, I was offered this position on the 2012 summer program, and turned it down (3 different times, I might add) in lieu of being at the marriage of 2 of my closest friends in the states this August. Three weeks before our semester ended in Indo, I felt like I was about to leave a home that I never knew I had, and literally couldn't bear the thought of leaving Indonesia without a return date and another group of students.


I promptly called Dragons, accepted the position and c'est la vie!


I am so honored, grateful and excited to share this adventure with you. Indonesia is a very special place indeed. The Indo program not only holds the promise of deep impacts on all of us, but the opportunity to offer respect and support to the communities we visit through our desire to learn from and live with them. An incredibly valuable exchange is about to take place.


Just a few logistics:


  1. Please make a regular practice of checking the Yak board. We will be posting important announcements in the weeks to come, and it will serve as way for you all to introduce yourselves and begin dialogue with us. Make sure you check each and every update- they will all contain valuable information.

  2. Bring a strong and healthy immune system and body. Your health at the start of our trip will make a difference to your overall health on the trip. You may want to begin boosting your immune and digestive systems for new levels of stress (jet lag, new foods, lots of travel, new environments etc.) with your favorite immune boosting helpers (Vitamin C, probiotics etc.)

  3. Our packing list is very comprehensive. Please, especially, do not forgo the snorkel set or mosquito net- both of those will be incredibly hard to come by here given the remote nature of our destinations.


Matt and Kelli, our other 2 instructors will be introducing themselves very soon on the yak board. The 3 of us had the chance to work together in the Fall and are absolutely elated to be coming back for this adventure with you. (For the record, we are an awesome team!)



So dear friends, as you prepare for this adventure, pack your bags well and unpack your minds. Leave your expectations and preconceived notions of this trip at home. Come with an empty cup, so that it may be filled by all that is before you.


I challenge you to ask yourselves “Why have I chosen this journey....I mean really, deep down, why have I chosen this?” And let yourselves hear the most honest answer from inside.


Bring that.

We need that.

Indonesia needs that.

This group needs your honest hearts and open minds and wide eyes.


Please reach out to me with any questions or just to say hi at sarahbyrden@gmail.com.


I am so looking forward to meeting each and every one of you.


More to come on the yak board...


Until then...All my best,


Sarah Byrden

Indonesia Summer Course Director













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Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Welcome and Introduction from your Course Director

Sarah Byrden,Indonesia: Studies in Culture, Conservation and Development, Summer 2012

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Dear fellow explorers, Hello! I write to you from a refreshingly cloudy day in Bali, overlooking a newly harvested rice paddy. Soon, your eyes will rest on a very similar view, and you will feel this gentle air of the tropics on your own skin. Be excited. Be very excited! We will be here on […]

Posted On

05/13/12

Author

Sarah Byrden

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