american student surfing in bali

How Is It To Be An American Student in Bali?

Our American students share their experiences about studying in Bali

Harri Suominen, the co-founder of Asia Exchange, traveled to Asia in early March and met some of our current students also in Bali, Indonesia. Miles and Kevin from the United States are studying at Udayana University. Stoked about their life in paradise, guys shared their experiences on how it is to study and live on the Island of Gods.

american student surfing in bali The world class waves were one of the biggest factors why Miles and Kevin chose Bali as their study abroad destination. Photo By Fabian

Studying abroad for life-changing experiences

Miles and Kevin are into surfing, so they had many good reasons to choose Bali as a study abroad destination. “Definitely the biggest factor was surfing. Bali is like one of the best places in the world to surf. We have always been interested in traveling to South East Asia. Bali kind of seemed perfect.”, says Miles. Kevin has a list of things to add too: “The unique culture, very welcoming local people, beautiful beaches and amazing waves.”

Other students from their home university who go for a semester abroad tend to go to kind of the same destinations, like Europe or Australia. Miles and Kevin wanted to learn a lot from a new culture and get an experience that was different. “Something that would kind of make us beyond our toes the entire time.”, as they describe.

Back home in the US guys are studying at the University of California, Berkeley. They are also the first ones ever studying in Bali from their university. That makes them feel great. Guys have met new people and made friends around the globe. “Students who go to other programs often group with other American students, people are used to group with. Here there are students from all around the world. We already have friends from Germany, Austria, Sweden, and Finland. It’s been a great experience.”, Kevin tells.

Studies haven’t been interrupted

News about COVID-19 that affects the world could have not been missed by anyone. The situation made obviously some changes to studying in Bali as well and the students are studying online for the rest of the semester. “Our midterms were all transitioned to be executed online and the plan for the rest of the semester is that instructions will be conducted online as well.”, Miles explains. Guys are hopeful that everything will go smoothly. “From the beginning of the semester, we have had a positive experience of the transition to online instructions.” Kevin agrees: “Thus far everything has been communicated perfectly by Asia Exchange and Udayana University. I think it will be a pretty seamless transition.”

When asked if guys think that Bali is a good place to come to study and live, the answer is short and simple. “Absolutely.”, says Miles. “I love it, hope you guys feel comfortable here. I have felt very comfortable and excited to be here.”, Kevin adds. Miles continues: “Exactly. It’s been very comfortable here. Studies haven’t been interrupted.”

Saving money by living the good life in Bali

Except for surfing, life is quite different in Bali than in California. There were a couple of big transitions in the beginning. For Miles, it was driving a scooter. “I hadn’t ever driven a scooter and you get everywhere here with a scooter. That was a little bit of a learning curve for the first week or two. Now it’s like the most fun way to get around ever compared to sitting in traffic back home.”

You might also be interested in: How Expensive Is It To Live In Bali?

The price level in Indonesia is better than they imagined, and life is cheap compared to life in the US. Kevin says that the cost of his attendance in Bali is tenth of what it would have been home! He is actually saving tens of thousands of dollars while staying in Indonesia. “If you go any restaurant, you get quality food and you’re eating like a king for 4 USD. Beyond everything, we get to wake up and go watch a sunrise. Go surfing beautiful waves on beautiful beaches. Daily life is definitely on the up and up.”

Bali is 100 % recommended for studying abroad

Guys mention more positive experiences about studying. Teachers and fellow students have been active and helpful, and everybody wants to learn together. “Our favorite subject has definitely been Indonesian language. We came with a goal of learning the most Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) we could. At our home university, it can sometimes be competitive, and people are competing with each other. Here everybody is lifting each other up.”, Kevin says.

The course credits from Udayana university are transferred to their home degrees. “My major back home is Business administration and over here classes I’m taking, like International tourism management, Global Marketing, and Business and economy of South East Asia, are accessible to my major back home so I’m not only getting unique credits, but I actually get some of my major requirements for filled from the classes over here.”, Miles explains.

Guys are praising Bali as a study abroad destination. “100 % recommend.”

Kevin summarizes: “Everything works out in Bali and for the most part it’s been completely true. Definitely would recommend.”

Thank you Miles and Kevin for sharing your thoughts about Bali life! We wish you the best for finishing your studies online and hope you will return to Bali soon for more waves and experiences!

Do you want to study abroad in Bali, Indonesia?

Find out more about foreign study abroad programs in Asia

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.

This interview was conducted by Noora and Fabian!