Introduction Week – Semester Abroad in Bali
This year, for the first time, we kicked-off the Tropical Biology & Marine Conservation Semester with a whole week of introductory events. One week prior to the start of the lectures all students got the chance to meet each other for the very first time. After a small introduction to customs and culture in Bali at the university, we departed for our overnight stay in Ubud.
What’s the best way to get to know a new country and culture? Right, through eating traditional food! That’s why we decided that participating in a cooking class is a great way to start the adventure semester abroad in Bali. The students learned how to prepare traditional Balinese dishes and what’s the secret behind the very tasty spices used in the Indonesian cuisine. After an afternoon full of laughing, cooking and eating, we continued our journey to our accommodation which was located in the middle of the rice fields in Tegallalang.
Cultural Workshop with a local family
The next day the students got the chance to learn more about the traditional way of living while visiting a local Balinese family in Payangan. The highlight of the day was definitely when the students got to learn how to make a typical Hindu offering and later pray together with the family in the family’s temple.
Since making offerings is a task that usually only women do, our male students had the chance to craft their very own woven coconut leaf hat (topi anyaman daun kelapa).
On our way back to the campus, we visited the Bali Starling conservation center where our students saw the famous Bali Star for the very first time. The Bali Star is a critically endangered bird endemic to Bali.
Coral Transplantation Workshop
During the third day of the introduction week, we visited the turtle conservation and education center in Serangan to learn more about the different species of sea turtles, what threats they are facing (especially in Bali due to cultural ceremonies) and what is done to conserve them. After this, we continued our trip to Nusa Dua.
In Nusa Dua we met with lovely Ibu Pariama from Nusa Dua Reef Foundation. Together with some biology students from Udayana University, she showed us how to transplant corals: newly fragmented corals will be attached to a metal spider, which then will be carried out to the ocean to place it at the edge of an already existing and beautifully growing coral garden out in Nusa Dua Bay.
Opening Ceremony at the University
On Thursday, the students finally got to meet their lecturers during the official opening ceremony held by Udayana University. As typical for the Balinese tradition, the ceremony was opened with the Panyembrama dance which is considered to be a welcome dance for the gods. After a speech from the dean and the head of the organization committee, the students got to try some typical Indonesian snacks. In the afternoon, each lecturer introduced themselves and their subject and gave a small overview about what the students could expect from the upcoming 4 month.
The last day of the introduction week was dedicated to have fun. Around lunch time we met up at Kuta beach for a surf lesson. Almost everyone was keen to try catching some waves. After two hours of giving everything an eventful first week in Bali came to an end.
We’d like to thank all students, projects and partners who had their part in making this introduction week such a success.