When you start planning your semester abroad, what are the first study destinations that come to your mind? Whatever it is, it’s probably not Bali—mainly known as one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the world. If you have ever seen images of vibrant green rice fields, gorgeous beaches and beautiful Hindu temples, you will understand why Bali is often referred to as the “Island of the Gods”.
But did you know that the idyllic island in the Indonesian archipelago is not only a great holiday destination, but also a fantastic place to find programs abroad? Bali study abroad is a unique opportunity for you to grow both academically and personally. Read on to learn why!
9 great reasons to study in Bali
1. Diverse and international study programs
You might be surprised, but Bali actually has several universities—there is even an international university in Bali. The biggest one, Udayana University, is counted among the top 20 universities in Indonesia. The international study programs are interdisciplinary, including subjects like Indonesian Culture, Business, Law and Tourism. Bali is becoming more and more popular , so it’s a great opportunity expand your network and make friends from all over the world. Universities in Bali for international students NEVER disappoint.
2. A warm and welcome culture
One of the best perks of Bali, Indonesia study abroad is the chance to befriend a new way of living and culture. Yes, you will most likely experience some cultural misunderstandings. You will probably run into communication problems here and there (even though English is relatively common in Bali). But all cultural differences aside, the Balinese people tend to be very kind and open towards foreign visitors. In a culture that values respect as deeply as the Balinese do, guests are always welcome—it’s not rare that a simple friendly chat turns into a dinner invitation.
3. The rise of the Southeast Asian region
With Southeast Asia still being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, personal experience in this region is a valuable skill! In fact, Indonesia is one of the rising powers within this region. Spending a semester in this country will not only give you a unique intercultural experience, but also be an advantage on the job market that will make you stand out for potential future employers.
4. Lots of travel opportunities
Southeast Asia has long been a backpacker favorite. So if you have some time left before you have to go home after your semester, why not use it for traveling around: Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia—all of these countries are only a short plane trip away. And the best thing: flights within Asia are very cheap even if you are traveling on a tight budget. Bali is a great starting point for this!
5. Friendly neighborhood islands
It’s easy to travel to different countries in Asia from Bali, but it’s by no means necessary to leave Indonesia: The archipelago consists of over 17,000 islands—you could basically spend a lifetime exploring them (who says you can never return after you study abroad in Bali?!). How a weekend trip to Bali’s neighbor Lombok or the Gili islands? Or maybe a sailing trip to the Komodo islands, home of the famous Komodo dragons? Many of these islands are still relatively unknown to tourists, so grab the chance to visit them before everyone else!
6. Sports and activities
Imagine this: Classes are over for the day, you and your friends walk out of university. 20 minutes later, you are at the beach for a post-class surf session. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Whether it’s surfing, snorkeling or diving—if you are the active type who needs lots of action, Bali will not disappoint you. And if you prefer staying on land, Bali’s yoga scene is world-famous—nothing is more relaxing than an early-morning yoga session among the rice fields!
7. Rich culture
An essential part of the local culture is Balinese Hinduism, the main religion on the island. It’s omnipresent in daily life: Temples lining the streets, little shrines in every building, the daily offerings to the gods placed everywhere from doorsteps to supermarket checkouts and even nightclub floors. Almost every day, roads are closed for religious ceremonies. These little things are a big part of the city’s charm—you will quickly fall in love with it during Bali study abroad.
8. Incredible nature
One of the best ways to spend your free time is hopping on your scooter and exploring the island—Bali has amazing landscapes to offer. How a road trip through lush green rainforests, stopping at hidden waterfalls along the way? Or a day spent discovering the beautiful beaches in the south? Or, if you prefer something more challenging, go on a sunrise hike at one of Bali’s volcanoes. You will be rewarded with amazing views from the top!
9. Low cost of living
The average cost of living in Southeast Asia is much lower than for example in Europe, North America or Australia, making study abroad in Bali a great destination for ! Of course, it all depends on the lifestyle you choose to live: fancy restaurants or local food markets? Homestay or pool villa (and even this option is very affordable for Western standards)? But if you spend mindfully, you can easily get by on very little—and still have enough money left for traveling.
Don't pack your sunscreen juuuust yet. There are a few items on your Bali, Indonesia study abroad to do list you should check off first.
- Decide when to go. Figuring out when to study abroad in Bali isn’t easy. For the summer, a semester, a whole year? Don't let anything hold you back—choose a time of year that's right for you.
- Your major courses or something more fun and experiential? You don't only have to take classes that pertain to your major back home (though it never hurts to knock out some credits towards graduation). Look at your course options and decide what combination of required classes and just-for-fun-or-because-you-want-to-learn-it classes are out there. Choose from literature, the sciences, education, psychology, and more!
- Choose from the best study abroad programs in Indonesia. Pay attention to past participants’ reviews, program/university reputation, location, and your ease of getting credits. Some schools or providers may even provide info for student ambassadors or past international students if you want the REAL dirt. Here’s our guide to choosing between study abroad programs.
- Plan your finances. Sort out funding before you go to afford daily essentials and splurge in travel (in addition to program costs and airfare). Do your research to have an idea of how much your study abroad program will cost.
- Talk to your home university. Getting all your ducks in a row is largely dependent on what your home university requires. Talk to a study abroad advisor or the equivalent at your university to see what choices are available to you.
You’re ready to study abroad in Bali!
It almost sounds too good to be true, right? Spending a few months on a tropical island with student-friendly living costs, all while continuing your studies and gaining valuable international experience. Of course, things won’t always be easy. You will be living in a culture and environment that’s most likely very different from what you are used to—whether it’s the hot and humid climate, the dense traffic, the different social norms or even mundane things such as unknown foods. But in the end, it’s these things that make your semester challenging and rewarding.
So if you make an effort and keep an open mind, it is true: Studying in Bali comes as close to studying in paradise as it gets! Consider universities in Bali for international students—or other programs—when you head in to chat with your study abroad advisor.
This article was contributed by Asia Exchange, the world’s biggest study abroad provider focusing in Asia.