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These are the top 10 things you need to know before studying in Bali
Hi, my name is Nele, and I’m from Germany. I studied abroad in Bali with Asia Exchange before the pandemic. My decision to apply for a semester abroad in Bali was spontaneous. Consequently, I wrote my last exam at my home university in Germany, packed my bags, and hopped on a plane to Bali one day later. After all, it was one of the best decisions of my whole life! However, there are some things I wish I had known before going to Bali. Here are my top 10:
1. Airport taxi
Many taxi drivers will approach you when you arrive at the airport in Denpasar. They want to convince you to use their services, which can be overwhelming after a long flight. So, better be prepared. Firstly, you should never take the first offer. Continue walking straight and bargaining the price to avoid paying exorbitant fees. Additionally, you can order a cheaper taxi provider such as Gojek or Grab. You only need to walk a few meters outside the airport and find your driver. And it would be the cheapest option.
2. Four months will be over so quickly
When you study in Bali for a semester, it may sound like a long time at first. But trust me, time flies when you are enjoying yourself. Don’t wait too long to tackle your bucket list and dive right into the island life! Nevertheless, take your time to enjoy every day as it comes.
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3. Don’t be afraid and hop on a scooter
You will most likely download Gojek or Grab on your phone. With those apps, you can order a driver. And that’s great for getting from A to B at a low price. However, there are many beaches and places where those apps are not allowed. Having your own scooter will give you so much more freedom while studying in Bali. Of course, it can be scary at first to get used to the Bali traffic. But in the end, it’s so much worth it! Don’t be afraid and give it a go but take one step at a time.
4. You will experience a culture shock when studying in Bali – And that’s great
Studying overseas seemed more exciting to me than studying somewhere in Europe. I chose Bali because I wanted to experience a culture shock. Being in a new and completely different environment can be overwhelming at first. But it’s so worth it! I would recommend everyone go abroad to experience a culture shock once in their lives. In hindsight, it was a great feeling.
You might also be interested in 8 tips on how to deal with a culture shock
5. Connect with the locals while you’re studying in Bali
When you study abroad in Bali, you will have students from many different nationalities in your program. Of course, you will find your first friends within your exchange program. However, making local friends in Bali deepened my experience abroad. I wish I had started making local friends earlier to understand the culture better. Also, Balinese people are so much fun!
Josy shared her 10 tips on how to make local friends while studying abroad. Click here to read it!
6. Don’t be shy about speaking Bahasa
Another thing I have noticed during my semester abroad in Bali was that Indonesian’s love it when you speak a few words Bahasa. That’s why I encourage you to start putting your Bahasa skills into practice as soon as possible. The language is relatively easy to pick up, and if you get all into it, you will have a pretty good basis at the end of your stay in Bali. Moreover, speaking Bahasa is very beneficial to bargain prices or communicate with locals in less touristic areas. I remember how I was driving through Java with my friend. We would have been lost without our Indonesian language skills.
You might also be interested in “Student interview with Fabian – Currently I’m living my best life in Bali“
7. Don’t buy fruit and veggies in the supermarket
In contrast to Germany, I wouldn’t buy fruits and veggies in one of the stores. Instead, visit the local markets. At least for me, going grocery shopping at a stand or market was one of my favorite weekly activities. Why would you shop in a supermarket when you can experience the Indonesian culture at a traditional market? You can bargain prices, practice your Bahasa, connect with the people and try exotic fruits and veggies.
8. When you are studying in Bali, you will rarely cook
Even if I went to buy fresh fruits regularly, that was just for breakfast or after-surf snacks. I never cooked in Bali. And at home, I cook every day! I knew that I would eat out more often, but I never expected to eat out for each meal every day. The food is too good not to eat out all the time. Moreover, I felt like Nasi Campur from a local Warung was way cheaper than cooking lunch myself.
9. You will have so much spare time
When I came to Bali, I expected to make compromises in exploring the island due to my studies. The reality was different than expected. Even though I had six courses, I managed to do everything I wanted to do. The only issue was scheduling my surfing sessions during the full moon and new moon besides classes (Yes, I’m scared of the reef at low tide). In the middle of the semester, the holidays allowed more extensive trips to explore Indonesia. Also, classes only took place from Monday to Wednesday. So, you have plenty of time for island hopping, for instance, to Lombok or Java. Moreover, in Bali, you will save time by outsourcing all your housekeeping, including cleaning, laundry, or cooking.
Read also: Udayana University vs. Warmadewa University – What is the best university in Bali for international students?
10. Buy a custom-made surfboard
Lastly, I recommend beginner or intermediate surfers buy a custom-made surfboard when studying in Bali. You can save a lot of money when you find an excellent shaper that will make copies of all shapes and colors of your dreams. After your semester in Bali, you can either sell it (for example, on Facebook Bali Surfboards Buy And Sell) or take it home! This way, you support the local surf community and save so much money.
Are you interested in studying in Bali, Indonesia? Find out more!
Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.