• Indonesia
4 - 12 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Host Family Lodge Tent
Bahasa Indonesian
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
The land cost for Indonesia: Community, Culture & Conservation is $7,950 for 4 weeks. Need-based scholarships are available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Sep 27, 2023
Dec 13, 2023
13 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience the most diverse archipelago on Earth: live with sea nomad communities, harvest coffee, and learn about efforts to protect the world’s most extraordinary rainforests and coral reefs.

Comprised of over 17,000 islands and 700 living languages, Indonesia is home to the highest level of biodiversity of any nation. Whether you’re hiking dormant volcanoes in Flores, snorkeling with your home-stay father in Sampela, chatting with your homestay family over a cup of locally-roasted coffee or examining gender roles in the world’s largest Muslim democracy, Indonesia is sure to challenge your worldview and stimulate your senses. Students on the Indonesia summer program examine the complex relationship between cultural and environmental preservation as they traverse ecologically and anthropologically distinct islands in Indonesia’s grand archipelago.

Scholarships and college credit is available.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Unfortunately, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and skin tone exists in different forms all over the world. In some destinations, especially rural or ethnically homogenous areas, people may not have had much exposure to racial diversity. As such, people with certain physical characteristics may experience unwanted attention. Most commonly, this might include staring, insensitive comments, people taking your photo (with or without asking), or attempts to touch your skin or hair. Black students traveling in parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa have often reported higher levels of unwanted attention than their peers. White students traveling in parts of Asia and Africa have also reported receiving unwanted attention. Students are encouraged to communicate with staff if they feel their personal boundaries are being violated or if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any situation. We encourage you to believe your peers if/when they share experiences like this with you.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Social, cultural, religious, political, and legal attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community vary around the world. According to the Global Acceptance Index, average levels of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people around the world have been increasing since 1981. However, many countries where Dragons operates programs may have social discrimination or even laws against being LGBTQ+. We have safely supported LGBTQ+ students in all of our program areas, and provide specific cultural and geographic advice to help students stay safe on course.

In some cases, students may be advised not to speak about their sexual orientations and/or gender identities with local contacts (such as homestay families, ISP mentors, language teachers, and guest speakers) due to safety concerns. Likewise, transgender and non-binary students may have to choose to present outwardly as male or female in certain contexts during the program. In other cases, “coming out” to some or all host community members may be a safe choice.

Neurodivergent Support

For students with neuro-differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, TS, and dyspraxia), it is important to be aware that neurodiversity is likely viewed differently abroad than at home. People might not be familiar with labels or terms that are very common where you come from. If you struggle with lots of external stimuli, you should be prepared that you will be in some environments that are louder and busier than what you are used to.

Accessibility Support

If you are a student with a physical disability, you might encounter challenges around accessibility than you have at home. Many of the places we travel at Dragons don’t have building codes or other regulations in place to support people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. You may need accommodations or support that you don’t usually require in your life at home.



Dragons defines responsible travel as travel that is culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in the communities to which we travel. Over the course of Dragons 25+ year history, we have cultivated long-standing relationships with respected community leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs and professionals involved in environmental and cultural preservation. In the more than 20 countries in which Dragons has operated, we have steadfastly adhered to minimum impact travel, an accurate and informed understanding of place, and the realization of maximum benefit for the communities we visit.

Ethical Impact

Dragons believes that we need to shift the way we think of volunteer travel. Instead of focusing on “service work”—on the idea that short-term volunteers can contribute to communities abroad—we advocate a paradigm shift: we choose, instead, to focus on “learning service.”

Learning Service is a holistic experience that combines an intimate and authentic engagement with the local community, the study of effective development, and the contribution to an established community-driven project. It is the process of living, working alongside, and humbly absorbing the culture of those being served while coordinating closely with project managers to understand the trajectory of the project, from inception to completion and beyond. It is an acknowledgment that often it is the volunteer who stands to gain as much or more from the work. And it is a commitment to making contributions that create positive impacts in the communities coupled with the humility to always listen and learn first.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

Program Highlights

  • Experience life in an urban, mountainous and marine environment by living with three unique host communities, highlighting the outstanding cultural, social, environmental diversity within Indonesia.
  • Snorkel one of the world’s most pristine and endangered coral reefs, Wakatobi Marine Park, while learning about the complexities of international and local marine conservation efforts.
  • Meet with professional, academics, community leaders and laypeople to understand Indonesia’s colonial history and current political state.
  • Spend two weeks completing your own ISP project with respected mentors and teachers in Jogya on: silversmithing, batik, gamlan, wayung kulit (shadow-puppets), street art, cooking, martial arts and more
  • Explore extinct volcanoes and hot springs on the island of Flores reflecting on the positive and negative impacts of mass tourism.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Curiosity, Community, Connection

The Indonesia Semester of Culture and Conservation offered by Where There Be Dragons was truly transformative. It not only allowed me to deeply immerse myself in the rich and diverse Indonesian identity but also fostered an appreciation for the various ways of living and community connections practiced in daily life. Through exploring three distinct homestays in contrasting settings, I gained insights into the history, sociology, and ethics that shape Indonesia today. Witnessing the profound connection to the land within different Indonesian cultures highlighted the importance of standing up for climate justice.

As a non-binary individual, navigating certain aspects was occasionally challenging, but the instructors' consistent check-ins provided valuable support, helping me navigate my experiences effectively. This program served as a steep learning curve, pushing me to question my beliefs surrounding food systems, community challenges, and biases acquired from my identities and upbringing. Overall, it was an eye-opening journey that broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of Indonesia's cultural richness and environmental concerns.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Learn the language! Take effort in learning more about the language and history of the places you visit in Indonesia. Indonesian welcome people wholeheartedly, and when you speak in a language they can understand you go a long way in connecting with the people around you and having a meaningful experience. Indonesian is easy to learn, it has no tenses and articles, and moreover you'll come to appreciate how an invented language can bring 17000+ islands together! Choose to practice curiosity and generosity whilst being in the unknown, you will realise that the 'unknown' holds a huge possibility for a meaningful journey and keep faith no matter what!
  • Community, a sense of belonging
  • Expression, discovering more about myself
  • Hard for those who struggle to be proactive, but a great learning curve!
28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Indescribable Experience

I knew I wanted to travel during the summer, but wasn't sure quite how to channel that into a trip. Many stayed at fancy hotels, and others were more touristy than real traveling. That is, until I found Dragons.

My trip to Indonesia was unlike anything before. I learned more about myself than I have in the traditional classroom setting, and learned how to live in the world, not just walk through it.

Our trip started with a trek into the Sumatran jungle, with a one week orientation nestled against the canopy and the river. We continued into our first homestay in Jogja, a popping urban city with vibrant life around every corner. We then travelled to Langa, a farming community tucked into the mountains on the island of Flores, where we experienced the unique culture and life of Indonesian coffee growing. Our X-Phase, or student lead portion of the trip, traversed the many islands near Labuan Bajo, where we set sail on a boat for two days and one night, falling asleep under the consuming stars and waking up to a painted sky. Our last stop was Sampela, a nomadic community buillt upon stilt and coral houses creating a labrynth of houses right on top of the ocean.

The homestays were more than safe, extremely friendly, and the best part of the trip!

Six weeks of travel, but also six weeks of knowledge, of absorbing a culture so different yet so similar to my own, of making everlasting bonds with the people around me, and eating, smelling, and breathing the excitement that is Indonesia.

What is unique about Dragons is it's mission- it's dedication to not sightseeing and picture taking, but to living in the moment and gaining experiential knowledge. It was the most amazing experience of my life!

85 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Growth and Development

The overall experience of this trip was quite amazing and somewhat life changing. My perception of the world changed entirely as I come from a sheltered part of the nation. By being able to expand my horizons and experience these different lifestyles has caused me to grow in ways that otherwise, would not be possible.
At first, I was like any normal kid, afraid of leaving my family and friends for the entirety of the summer. As soon as I left and was welcomed by the Dragons family I immediately knew I had made the right choice. After the 6 weeks were over it had felt like we just scratched the surface of all Indonesia had to offer. I highly recommend this program if you love to travel, appreciate different cultures and want to have the best experience possible.
Do not hesitate to ask questions or reach out to the Dragons administration as they are very knowledgeable and love to share information.

89 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers