Laugh, smile, and be open-minded!

Table of Contents

The spring semester in Bali has just ended and we wanted to catch up with some of the students about their experiences. Jannik, 24, and Magnus, 22, are friends through their university studies in Hamburg, Germany. They have just finished their two semesters studying in Bali. They were happy to sit down with us and tell more about their time on the island.

three person standing near the cliff Jannik and Magnus studied in Bali for two semesters, and spent time exploring around Indonesia and Asia.

AE: Hi guys! Thank you for coming over! Could you tell us a little bit about how you got the idea to go and study in Bali?

Jannik: We have been friends for a couple of years now through studying business at the same university in Hamburg. Magnus came up with the idea to go to Bali, and I wasn’t so sure at first so we looked into it and contacted the government about study grants, and checked with our University about the study credits, and it all worked out fine!

Magnus: Our University was only offering exchange in Spain, Poland, and Scandinavia, and they also had a spot for one student to do an exchange in England, but it is obviously very hard to get it. As we wanted to go on exchange together, so we wanted to look somewhere else.. We asked the university that why can’t we just go to other places and the answer was “yes you can but you have to organize it yourself”. We looked into it and did some searching online and that’s how we really found the program. After finding Asia Exchange and looking into the courses offered, it was obvious that the two-semester program in Bali would perfectly fit our BBA curriculum at home university.

Jannik: So in two semesters here we got a total of about 60 study credit points. We did nine courses altogether.

a farmer walks on the ricefields Some of the amazing surroundings of Bali. A rice farmer on his field.

AE: Which ones were the most interesting courses you took?

Jannik: For me the most interesting courses were Global Marketing and Entrepreneurship. We are actually planning on starting a business together after our studies so this was definitely something these courses were definitely exciting and very helpful for both of us.

Magnus: For me, I really also enjoyed the History and Culture course, especially the culture part. We had many excursions around Bali with the whole class, and I really got to see local villages and some of the Balinese culture I otherwise might have not ever seen.

student catch up with the ocean Jannik overlooking some of the more remote Indonesian islands

AE: How about the business idea you just said you had? Would you like to share more on that or is it a secret?

Jannik: Not at all! Generally speaking, our idea is to build an app for travelers. Practically with the app you will be able to match with people with similar travel plans to group up so you can travel together and for example share hostel rooms. It’s definitely not Tinder but rather a tool that connects travelers. The app will work based on the interests – so you set your interests to it and based on those it will find people with similar interest nearby you.

Magnus: We actually got this idea when we went to Kuala Lumpur on this trip. We were there only for three days and had no idea what to do on our own. Although you can find some information online, it’s generally hard to find other people to have fun with and explore the travel destinations with. When we finally found a hostel, there were no people there so we just had to go on our own..

Jannik: Also, within the app you will be able to have group chats. With press a button and you can share a location where you want to meet up. So in a nutshell, it is an app to connect travelers. It is sort of like a hostel lobby, but all online, open for anyone, anywhere..

Magnus: We have already started developing the idea, and have started building the design but will still need to find developer to take the ideas to an actual working app! If any of the readers are interested in maybe helping us develop the app, get in touch with us! Our website is

AE: You sound like you have really enjoyed your time. How about your marital status? Do you have girlfriends back home or??

Magnus and Jannik together: No, no! We’re both single!

Jannik: I don’t think it’s a good idea to come over if you do have a girlfriend (laughs)

Magnus: Bali is such an awesome place for a single traveler. The vibes here are so positive, and the sun is always shining everywhere you go..

two guys tanding in front of waterfall in bali Sun is always shining in Bali – and the waterfalls are amazing too!

AE: Did you do any other travels besides around Bali?

Magnus: Yes, in Indonesia we have now been to Komodo islands, and Flores. We also went to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Borneo, and on the way here we went to Thailand.

Jannik: You can easily connect many trips as it is quite cheap to fly anywhere within Asia. Everybody should definitely go to Komodo islands! Diving, swimming with Mantarays, snorkeling.. We did a boat trip for 3 nights. Seeing the dragons was pretty much the best experience I’ve ever had.

Komodo Dragon in Indonesia How’s that for an overgrown gecko!? Jannik looking casual hanging with a Komodo Dragon.

AE: While living in Bali, what type of accommodation did you choose to have?

Jannik: W just first got here, met up with some people and took a villa together. I think it’s better to come over first and then find a villa, rather than pre book one with people you don’t necessarily even know.. We also wanted to make sure the villa we live in would be international so we teamed up with a few different nationalities to make sure we wouldn’t only speak German with other Germans, that’s not why you go on exchange!

a boat sailing in the middle of the ocean Jannik and Magnus also spent three nights sleeping on a boat. Highly recommended experience!

AE: If you could live anywhere in Bali while studying, where would you live?

Jannik: Kerobokan! That’s where we stayed. It is a bit cheaper, there are nice villas, and it’s so quick to drive into every direction. Whether you want to go to Canggu, Seminyak, or Kuta, you’ll get there in next to no tim. And to the university it’s only about 20-25 minutes on a motorbike. Jimbaran area close to the school has great surfing and beautiful beaches but to catch up with friends, and to go out in the evenings you would almost every time have to ride – or if you are having beers – take a taxi or Uber all the way to Seminyak or Canggu.

Magnus: Also in Kerobokan you will find more Balinese lifestyle than you would in the more touristy areas like Seminyak. Our neigbourhood for example, our neigbours are all Balinese families. You drive down the street and everyone smiles at you..

AE: Surfing?

Jannik: We learned to surf here. First we rented some boards, and then we were like “what should we do now??” We ended up taking a local instructor for a couple of hours to show us what to do and it was sooo exhausting.. but so much fun! Then we rented some boards for a couple of weeks, and then finally bought our own boards.

Magnus: Make sure you start with a bigger board and don’t make the mistake many do and just buy a cool looking short board, as you will just end up getting frustrated not catching any waves! Rent out your boards first and get to know what kind of a board you prefer before buying one!

surfing is the most important things to do in your freetime in bali Many students try surfing for the first time while in Bali. Magnus showing how it’s done!

AE: Favorite surf spots?

Jannik: I always surf at Canggu!

Magnus: I surf a lot at Canggu, and I’ve also been to Medewi which is a nice point break about 1,5h ride away.. Some really really nice long waves up there! Also Balangan which is just five minutes awat from the University campus is a nice wave, and not so crowded. Plus the beach there is so beautiful!

After surfing on most nights we just hang out with friends. The vibes are always positive, and there are great places for meeting young people like Old Man’s in Canggu, Just need to make sure not to stay up too late especially when there’s uni the next day. It’s so nice how it’s always warm and you can practically go outside every day, whereas in Europe it is often so cold that you just want to stay at home.

Just through our studies we’ve met with about ten different nationalities, and it’s amazing what a mixture of people there is on this island.

baby orang utan in the jungle It’s not just people that you can meet in Indonesia 🙂

Jannik: Here I learned how German I really am. I always thought I’m not so German, and that those are just stereotypes. But now, having got to spend time with so many different nationalities, I do realize that I am actually very German. (laughs)

Magnus: Just don’t hesitate, talk to people. Other students, local people, tourists. It’s the most important thing!

AE: You’re heading back home soon. What do you think would be the best thing that you got out of this experience for your future?

Jannik: I have learned so many things about myself. I can now reflect my self better than before. And going back home, I think I will be more relaxed than before.

Magnus: I guess the best thing I’ve learned is the Balinese lifestyle: Laughing, smiling, always being open minded, and talking to more people. That’s the most important one for me.

Jannik: Yes indeed! The most important lesson I’ve learned from Bali is to always have a positive view on everything. When you’re back in Europe, or Hamburg in particular, it’s a pretty cold city, also with emotions, so when I go back I will be the only one who will be sitting in a train and just smiling!

AE: What will be the biggest thing you will miss about Bali?

Jannik: I am going to miss the friendly, warm hearted people. And of course the lifestyle because it gave us the opportunity to develop our app idea..

Magnus: University, surfing, meeting all the students, going to the beach with friends, going out with friends and having a few beers.. It’s just been perfect, and this type of lifestyle is hard to come by anywhere else.

student waving his hand to say gooodbye Magnus and Jannik signing off. All the best for your future travels and business endeavours!

Asia Exchange would like to thank Magnus and Jannik for the interview, and wishes all the best for them in the future!

Like Jannik and Magnus, many students decide to spend a full year in Asia. Read more about the benefits of spending two semesters abroad.

Learn more about studying in Bali