a blue boat is resting on the shore of a beautiful beach

16th Bali Semester of Asia Exchange

gili_trawangan_beach Bali and the nearby island of Lombok are very popular tourist destinations – beaches like this are one of the reason why so many tourists decide to holiday there.

Asia Exchange is turning ten years this year. At our currently most popular study abroad destination, Bali, we have been running our study abroad program for eight years now. Last week was the orientation week for the 16th semester that Asia Exchange has organized in Bali with Udayana University.

Bali’s popularity can be explained partially based on the fact that the island is known world wide as a major tourist attraction and millions of tourists visit yearly to enjoy the sun and the ocean, jungles and rice fields, and to get to take a look into an entirely different culture than what most people are used to back home.

Tourism has also evolved the offerings to include modern five star hotels, supermarkets with western foods and dining options of all sorts, so anything and everything a holiday goer would like, is easily available. This naturally makes the life of an exchange student a bit easier too.

_MG_2021-Edit Besides its beaches and nature, Bali is also known for its rich culture. Balinese dancers enriching the opening ceremony of the 16th Asia Exchange semester.

Orientation week was a success!

Monday and Tuesday were spent at the auditorium of Faculty of Letters campus of UNUD in Denpasar. Even the Rector of Udayana University Prof. Dr. dr. Ketut Suastika,Sp. PD. KEMD visited on the first day to welcome the new students and voice his satisfaction with the long term cooperation with Asia Exchange.

udayana_rector_ketut_suastika The Rector of Udayana University Prof. Dr. dr. Ketut Suastika, Sp. PD. KEMD giving his welcome speech to the new students

Other speeches included presentations from deans and lecturers of UNUD, a speech from a representative of the Finnish Embassy of Indonesia, speeches from older Asia Exchange students, and of course presentations from Asia Exchange staff. Bali TV was there to document the first day, and the clip was later on aired on television all over Bali – including the interview with Rector and Asia Exchange co-founders Tuomas Kauppinen and Harri Suominen.

harri_suominen Harri Suominen from Asia Exchange interviewed by Bali TV. Accompanied by Udayana University Rector Ketut Suastika, and Asia Exchange co-founder Tuomas Kauppinen.

While Wednesday and Thursday were days for some relaxation and exploring Bali as they were public holidays for the Indonesians (in Bali there are quite a few public holidays), on Friday everyone met up at the campus in Jimbaran for the first time.

Campus Chill Out Day was blessed with nice, partially sunny weather and a little cooling breeze, so the weather was perfect for hanging on the green yard of BIPAS campus. Everyone was having a good time and we even did a few interviews of the students, asking what they were expecting from the starting semester (see one right below).

dee_muay_thai_baliDee Muay Thai was showing the students some basic moves, and also hosted a fun speed kicking competition. What a great way to stay fit!

Activities throughout the day included a campus tour, motorbike riding training, and some music from a Balinese X-Factor star Gede Bagus. Through some team building exercises hosted by Udayana University intern Fabian, even the more shyer of students got to meet up with all the new friends! A few local companies and non-profits had also showed up and set up a stand for our students to get to know them better. Thank you to BAWA, YKPA, EcoBali, Study in Bali, and Dee Muay Thai for participating! 

team_building Students were divided into three groups, and the groups then took part on the activities. Here’s one group in the midst of a team building exercise.

asia_exchange_gede_bagus One of our interns, Fabian, has already proven to be a man of many talents. Here his is jamming with a great Balinese musician Gede Bagus.

bali_scooter Students were given a chance to go and get a feeling on riding a scooter on the gated parking lot. With some instructions from Indonesian guys from a bike rental company, everyone now has got the basics down! As we are concerned about traffic safety, we can’t stress how important it is to always wear a safe helmet and ride with care.

As a nice cake needs an icing, on Saturday it was time for some surfing and the classic ice breaking party for the Bali and Lombok students. During the day, those students who wanted to get some professional teaching on surfing, joined for a class at Pro Surf. After a theory class, several successful waves ridden, and big smiles on everyone’s faces, it was on to the party!

pro_surf_bali_learn Students were divide into two groups – those who had never tried surfing before, and those who were a bit more familiar with the sport already. Pro Surf teacher instructing, and intermediate group students listening to the tips.

ae_bali_pool_party This picture summarises the party pretty well – except that it was taken early. Later on the ratio of people in the pool vs dry people was a lot different.

Now for the 16th time in our history, all the students gathered up for a fun night together spent partying around (and in) a big swimming pool. Pro Surf School right on the shores of Kuta Beach was filled with students and friends, and with some help from a local DJ playing some hip hop tunes, the students were ready to get to know each other better and party the night away. One of the memorable moments for us was a happy birthday song sung to the students who got one year older the same week, and of course for the 10-year-old Asia Exchange (see the video below).

party_bali Bali is known for its parties too. We encourage our students to have fun yet the studies should always be the priority! Have fun and be safe – enjoy your time abroad to the fullest! (Note to single male students: girl to guy ratio this semester is about 80:20 – we are not saying that it means anything but there have been some times that two people on our program met each other. and ended up together for good…)

We were pleased to see how many of the students arrived to the party using taxi, Uber or Go-Jek! We highly advise each and everyone of our students to steer clear from riding a motorbike when going out for some nighttime fun, especially so if there’s even a slight chance that you might be having a drink or two. Have fun and play safe! All the best for our students in Bali and Lombok; we hope you will experience new things and create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime!

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