Upskill Study Bachelor Program: Tropical Biology and Conservation 2022
A lot has happened since our last Bachelor’s Semester Program of Tropical Biology and Conservation 2 years ago. We have just now finished our fourth batch since we started the program and this year we are back with an engaging curriculum and more memorable moments for our beloved global students from Germany, Austria and Ireland.
Commenced from 28 August to 16 Dec 2022, this year's Tropical Biology and Conservation Semester Program gathered international students to learn about Bali's rich biodiversity and more. Not only biology, we have several different courses this year, including nature conservation, land use planning, material design bionics and photonics. Our participants this year consists of students from several renowned university, such as Queen's University Belfast, University Hamburg, University of Friedrich-Alexander Nürnberg, University of Innsbruck, Hochschule Neubrandenburg, and Hochschule Hamm-Lippstadt. With Udayana faculty of mathematics and natural sciences, upskill’s Tropical Biology and Conservation semester program invites the students to get deeper insight into the island's tropical flora and fauna. Not only through lectures by finest experts on campus, but they were also set to be engaged in several field trips throughout the 16 weeks study program.
As every batch of upskill’s study program, this year’s winter semester started a week earlier for upskill’s welcome week. On the first day of the welcome week, we invited all the students for an orientation day where everyone meet our team for the first time while completing some administrations and a welcome lunch together before leaving to Taro village for a first excursion to Pemulan organic farm to experience harvesting vegetables and learning basics of Balinese herbs and ingredients for Balinese common dishes such as urap-urap, sambal matah, corn fritters, tuna sate lilit, vegetables curry and more. The Taro village cooperative project aims to enhance Bali's environmental, social, cultural and economic sustainability. After the organic farm visit, students were taken to stay overnight in the serene jungle of Ubud in Bersila La Masion Du Bonheur before continuing our excursion to Payangan village for a cultural workshop.
The welcome week continued with excursions to marine conservation sites of corals and turtles. During these marine conservation sites excursions, the students get to experience getting to know the Turtle Conservation and Education Center's organization's missions and what they currently are working on, after watching a brief documentary on the conservation’s story, our students get to experience releasing the baby turtles to the sea. The field trip continues with a visit to a coral garden guided by Nusa Dua Reef Foundation getting to know their efforts of rehabilitating damaged corals in Nusa Dua beach area. We finally ended upskill’s semester program’s welcome week by taking the students to the beach for a surf session, the best way we could think of ending the exciting and stimulating first week.
Finally, on Friday 26th of August 2022, in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Udayana university in Denpasar, we were all gathered to welcome upskill’s Tropical Biology and Conservation winter semester batch 4. The day went smoothly and successfully, students were introduced and met all Udayana’s lecturer teams and committees for the first time, and the students also got the chance to introduce themselves to everyone.
Throughout the winter semester study program, students studied a total of 6 courses and several field trips and excursions to field trips, visiting some of Bali's conservation sites; such as Bedugul Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Park, Coral Garden, Turtle Conservation Center, Mangrove forest Samsara Life Museum, Batuan Temple and more. Biology & Marine Science professors as well as guest lecturers will also pass on their expert knowledge to the students on the regular theoretical lectures session at Udayana University during the study program for 30 ECTS.
This year’s upskill’s bachelor program was quite unique and challenging, not only post pandemic rudiment changes where new regulations were implemented with the students' entry permit, but also this year’s Bali was the host of G20 international summit. For the term after the program’s midterm, most of the classes were held online as the government implemented strict road closings due to the meetings of the international delegates. The changes of course have not been the most pleasant experiences for our students however everyone adjusted well and planned their days differently and to of course take advantage of the situation and make some visits to different parts of the island and some even went off Bali for several days.
After the quite stressful midterm, several weeks prior to the final exam, our team always prepares the final excursion to hopefully be cherished and remembered by all of upskill’s students in each batch. In the final week of November 2022, we took our students for a north Bali weekend excursion where we got the students to experience the importance of getting to know Balinese ancient irrigation system of Subak. Our first stop was the Subak Museum in Tabanan to get the students briefly introduced on the history and traditions of Subak through watching a short documentary, to then go through the indoor and outdoor exhibitions.
Our journey continues up to Bedugul where made a Strawberry Stop, where of course we were served the most delicious lunch and the most fresh picked strawberries and ice cream desserts. Finally, our trip ends in Lemukih village where we all stayed overnight in mister Buda’s homestay, our most anticipated encounter of the year. We finally got to sit all together with the students to hear some stories and catch up over dinner. The next morning we all continued the excursion in the jungle of Lemukih village for around 5 hours, trekking through the greens, natural water slides, waterfalls, rice fields and finally we finished up in Warung Fiji for our last lunch together. It was definitely a great moment our upskill team shared with the students, everyone was appreciative, kind and definitely in such positive energy.
Last week was the time to close the semester of upskill’s and Udayana’s Tropical Biology and Conservation. The ceremony was attended by the Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences also representing Udayana’s rector Dra. Ni Luh Watiniasih, M.Sc, Ph.D, upskill’s head of study program Ir. Anak Agung Gde Raka Dalem,M.Sc (Hons), representatives from Udayana's head of international office, secretary Ms. Ni Komang Ari Sawitri, S.Kep., M.ScPh.D, the entire Upskill Bali team, upskill’s board of lecturers, committees and of course our students. The closing ceremony marks the end of this year's Upskill Tropical Biology and Conservation Program.
Some students shared their kind and beautiful words of appreciation to upskill and Udayana’s team, that despite some challenges everyone was facing during this semester everyone feels content of being in this island sharing the months together in and out of the classrooms as well as all the places they all got to visit, see and experience, all the people they met and the memories they have all made. We are looking very much forward to our upcoming fifth batch of upskill’s bachelor program of Tropical Biology and Conservation next year!
By Billy Bagus