a girl in white dress looking at her right side

Bali or Sweden?

Bali or Sweden? It’s a tough choice – especially so for Putu-Marie Matis who has some family ties to both of these countries. Putu-Marie is currently studying at the BIPAS program in Bali, and our Bali intern at Udayana University, Fabian, visited Pura Luhur Uluwatu (Uluwatu Temple) with Putu-Marie  and interviewed her about the study abroad experience so far.

Balinese_Culture Putu-Marie grew up in Sweden but has grown into appreciating Balinese Hindu culture.

Hi Putu-Marie, thank you for finding time to be interviewed for Asia Exchange blog. First,  could you please tell our readers a little about yourself and your background.

Well, I´m from Malmö, the southern part of Sweden. I’m turning 22 in April and I used to work for Zara in my hometown. Malmö will always be my home and I see myself living in Sweden in the future. Not many countries in the world give its people as much freedom as Sweden does and I want to be close to my family. They mean everything to me and I think families should always stick together. They give you security.

Are you currently studying something back in Sweden?

I studied economy in senior high school but I don’t think it is what I want to do in the future. I want to work with humans so I’m planning to apply for the human resource program taught at a university in Malmö. I feel that many people tend to trust in me, and therefore human resources will suit me well.

You don’t have a typical Swedish name. Where is your name from?

Haha, no it’s not! Putu is actually Balinese and it means the ‘first born child’. My mom is from Bali and she moved to Sweden in 1993. My dad is half Swedish, half Hungarian and my parents met when my dad was backpacking around Asia.

uluwatu_temple Putu-Marie admiring the view from the cliff of Uluwatu temple, one of the five most important temples of Bali. Uluwatu can be loosely translated to cliff edge; ‘ulu’ in Balinese means edge, and ‘watu’ means rock.

That is a great story. How many languages do you speak?

I can´t speak Hungarian and my Indonesian is a bit limited; my Bahasa Indonesia is not fluent but I can get around with it quite well. So, I guess three languages? Anyway, that is one of the main reasons why I chose to study in Bali: I’m here to get fluent in Bahasa Indonesia.

So you do have your roots here in Bali? Have you visited Indonesia before?

I have relatives and friends living here in Bali and I try to visit them once every year.

Besides your family, what else attracts you about Bali?

It is just the feeling – I cannot describe it. I feel like I belong here, that this is my second home. I can relate to things others cannot but at the same time there are many values I do not share. I feel trapped because, like I said, my future is in Sweden but Bali is calling now. I wish there would be a magic door where I’d just enter and be one day in Sweden and the next in Bali. I want the best from both but I cannot.

How did you first find about Asia Exchange program in Bali?

It was a coincidence really. I knew I wanted to end up here so I started to Google around and then the Asia Exchange web page suddenly popped up. I have nothing to complain about! The Asia Exchange staff is very polite and you get help fast whenever you need it.

Balinese Hindu culture is very visible in the daily life of the local people. Putu-Marie likes it how the Hindu culture breaks the western patterns.

Is this your first time being an exchange student?

I have no academic background at a university level yet. So yes, this is my first time as a university student and as an exchange student.

How have you liked the exchange program so far?

I have nothing to compare with but I feel I have developed my language skills. Though, I have three different languages in my head and it´s confusing at times. In Sweden you get everything served on a plate, whereas here in Bali you have to learn to be individual, take responsibilities, and have a lot of patience.

Have you been to other islands in Indonesia?

I’ve been to Jakarta and Yogyakarta in Java. People in Jakarta are not as used to tourism as the people here in Bali are. It´s very different and I have hard time trying to understand them because they have another accent and they talk way faster.

What part of the Balinese culture do you appreciate the most?

I love the fact that Bali is predominantly Hindu. My Dad was Christian but when he married my mom he converted to Hinduism. I´m partly Hindu myself and I love to visit the temples and be part of the Hindu rituals. I have visited temples ever since I was a kid so the religion has always been around. The Hindu culture is so different in comparison with the western culture. The temples and houses around here in Bali make you feel like you are going back in time. They are so beautifully made and one thing I really appreciate a lot is the how the Hindu culture breaks the western patterns.

Thank you for the interview Putu-Marie! Enjoy your time in Bali! If you would like to learn more about Asia Exchange study abroad programs in Bali, click here

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