“Yoga and Surf Are My Escape From Reality” – Interview with Sarah Hersping

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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Sarah Hersping chose Bali because of the yoga and surf scene.

Sarah Hersping is a yogi and surfer currently studying at Udayana University in, the fall semester of 2019. She lives in Canggu and loves the lively culture there, which includes yoga, surfing, hipster bars, and cafés. This is an interview about Sarah’s experiences so far.

“I love surfing and the island life in general”, says Sarah about Bali. Photo by Emil CC BY

Hello there, who is Sarah Hersping?

I’m Sarah from Germany. I’m studying in Cologne, doing media science and design there, kind of marketing too. At home I’m trying to do a lot of yoga, it’s not working out so well so that’s why I’m here. I love going climbing in Cologne. I’m not really a winter person so whenever I can I escape and go travel somewhere, which is easy with our study system. I’m gone most of the time. I love surfing and the island life in general, which made me choose Bali.

How did you find Asia Exchange then?

First I wanted to study in Australia actually, in Sydney. But then I figured out that it’s super expensive to go there and I didn’t really know if I would like it in the end, and I also didn’t want to live in a big city like Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur or Seoul. So I figured it wouldn’t be Australia but I still want to be on the other side of the world, preferably on an island and definitely on the coast. A friend of mine said he was with Asia Exchange two years ago so that’s how I came to be with AE. I was also on a surf camp last summer so I knew I wanted to surf, and some of the people lived in Bali and then I googled it and was like “yup, it’s gonna be Bali, I’m gonna go!”, and so the decision was made. There was no other choice, just go haha!

Sarah chose to not study abroad in Australia because the tropical island life like Bali was more tempting. Photo By Nils Petterson

Right, so what is your go-to surf spot here in Bali?

Haha, I’m still looking for my go-to surf spot. I am surfing Batu-Bolong in Canggu, it’s too crowded for me but it’s right in front of our door so it’s good. The waves are technically good but very crowded. A lot of my friends go to Kuta a lot so I’m sometimes joining them because it’s so easy to surf the waves there but I’m curious to check out other spots like Nusa Lembongan. I heard Lombok has really nice surf so I think I want to go there and check it out.

Batu-Bolong is right in front of where Sarah lives Photo By Sarah

You said you like to do yoga as well, what makes it special for you?

Yoga is my escape from reality. It helps to calm my mind and not thinking about anything for a while. I think it’s important to take an hour a day for yourself, having nothing on your mind. Also, it’s the perfect workout to keep strong and flexible.

How would you describe the yoga scene in Bali?

In Canggu the scene is really big, there are a lot of good studios. I’m mostly doing yoga at Serenity, which has a local teacher that teaches yoga in a spiritual way, and which I really, really like. Sometimes I do free yoga classes for example at Alternative Beach or the Lawn but it’s more of a sporty yoga, you know, like the trendy stuff – I call it the “Instagram yoga”, haha. I really prefer the spots where locals teach and do a ritual before the class making it ceremonial. In the beginning, it was a bit weird for me because they also sing there so you have to get used to it coming from an European, more sport-style yoga but now I love it. I would do it everywhere.

Sarah prefers doing yoga in Bali with the locals. It has a spiritual element here. Photo By Sarah / CC BY

You’ve been in Bali for some time now. How do you like it so far?

I love it! But I have to say though that I had a bigger culture shock than I thought. I came here thinking I’ve travelled a lot before so I thought I’m just going to sort of slide into it, you know, not feel it in anyway at any point. But it took me around two weeks to actually get used to it and especially to feel home because in the beginning you feel more like a tourist when you live in crowded places where a lot is going on. I had to get used to all vibes and crowded beaches, and to the fact that people come up to you all the time trying to sell you stuff. I kind of expected it but it feels different living it and experiencing it every day from being on vacation and knowing it’s going to happen. But now I’ve found my way through it so to say, I feel like home. And I like my home, my villa where I live. Whenever we go on weekend trips I’m also looking forward going back home!

It can be a bit crowded if you live in Canggu. It´s one of the most popular places to visit and live on the whole island.  Photo by Cassie Gallegos / CC BY

Cool, what have been your favorite places so far?

One of my favorite places is Nyang-Nyang beach near Uluwatu. We always hike down there because the hike is really beautiful and the beach is so uncrowded. I love the white sandy beach there. I also love Echo beach, which is right in front of our door. The sand is black and when the sun is setting the sand starts glittering. That’s where we always go for sunset and to have dinner on the beach, they have the best Mie Goreng in the world. I really love Canggu, we also went to Ubud and did the Mount Batur hike and pretty much everywhere I go is like “wow”.

Everywhere you go in Bali is a wow experience! Photo by Niklas Weiss / CC BY

Describe a typical day for you in Bali.

I guess it depends whether I have Uni or not. If I’m going to school I wake up early because the drive is pretty long! I leave 7.30amish and come back around 1 or 3pm to have lunch with my housemates, we usually go to a warung [local eatery]. Every day I either go surfing or do yoga, or sometimes I also meet other people. That’s something I learned to do also, just meeting people through Facebook or wherever and then go partying, and I actually like meeting people for coffee and doing “normal things”, haha. Then in the night, well we really don’t go out that much. If I don’t go to school we always go for breakfast at some really nice place, which usually ends up being at Crate café. Then we hang out at the beach or go for trips.

How do you feel like your time here so far has changed you, if it has?

It did already, definitely. I feel I got a lot calmer, I think traffic is a good thing to show you how to do it because in the beginning I was really stressed when people would be honking at you all the time. Now I’m so relaxed, so good at ignoring things like that. Also, the Bali culture has taught me a lot about seeing things positively and being happy, and not complaining that much about stupid things. It’s a happy culture and you just have to let it take over, I mean there’s no way of not adapting to it! If you are, for example, a bit moody then everybody will be asking you “what’s wrong?”. In Europe, people would not necessarily notice it but here you are just like “yeah you’re right, I’m in paradise, I should be happy!”. So yeah my mood is always good here. I take things more easy going and not being all structured and so on.

You might also be interested in: Semester start in Bali Autumn 2019

What would you say are some challenges you are facing here in Bali?

I like the challenges here in Bali. For European people I think it’s out of our comfort zone if things don’t go the way we like, you know like things take more time and then we complain about it. That’s a challenge to get used to. What else is challenging, hmm. So far it’s been really nice haha!

“I think it’s important to take an hour a day for yourself”. Photo by Emil.

Haha, sounds like you don’t have too many challenges then!

Yeah, right? Sometimes it’s challenging to choose what to do or where to go because there’s so much stuff and so many places to see that I can’t make any decisions!

Finally, to whom would you recommend studying in Bali?

I would recommend it to everyone who wants an adventure next to their studies, and who wants to live in a different culture and experience a whole different way of teaching methods. And of course, to the ones who love the beach life, it’s perfect here!

Do you want to study in paradise? Apply now!

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This interview was conducted by our marketing intern, Emil!