SIT Indonesia: Art, Religion & Social Change

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Explore the evolving relationships among religion, fine arts, performing arts, and social organization in contemporary Indonesia.

The Arts, Religion, and Social Change program based in Bali blends contemporary culture and politics with rich cultural traditions in the arts and religion. Combining homestays, lectures, fields visits, and excursions in historically Hindu Bali and predominantly Muslim Java, this program integrates students in the lives of urban and rural residents of one of Asia’s most dynamic societies and in the deep artistic traditions and contemporary socio-political challenges of the world’s largest Muslim country.

Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 7.3
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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Living Experientially - appreciation, gratitude, & living in the moment

Readings nicely accompanied the excursions and other experiences we had in the program. Our instructors encouraged us to connect what we were reading with what we were seeing. However, the assignments we turned in were based more on observations and less on readings. The readings supplemented what we learned experientially when we took the midterm and final exams. Directors, coordinators, and instructors were available 24/7 and went above and beyond in making sure we were safe and comfortable! My host family was wonderful, caring, attentive, patient, kind - everything good in the world! I got lucky. I miss Indonesian food so, so much. And the food provided at the program center was amazing - and there were options for every diet. Learning the language was a fully integrated experience! Living at home with my host family, speaking Indonesian in class and at home, on the streets, in stores, restaurants, etc. And going on every excursion or small trip offered - that helped with getting comfortable with new surroundings. Also asking questions helps a lot!
Health issues was the topic of one of the first discussions we had as a group - a local doctor also served as a guest speaker. When anyone had health issues, they were cared for immediately and as a priority above all academic and extra-curricular activities. Everyone stayed safe throughout our trip, and I think a key to accomplishing this was following the advice of our director and teachers, and sometimes families. We spoke Indonesian every day and had intensive language study from the beginning of the program until we departed for independent study projects. Excursions and conversations with everyone we saw when away from the program center were crucial to learning the language - speaking the language you are studying by practicing with your host family is so beneficial!! Speak with your host families, don't be shy or afraid of making mistakes, understand that the people you speak with probably appreciate that you are trying, laugh at any mistakes you make and ask questions in class! Also pay attention to the links between language and cultural customs, practices, social behaviors, etc. I became a calmer, less worried, less frantic, more patient, more loving, more open, happier person because of my experience abroad. I learned to treat everything in life as a learning experience and to approach things and people without expectations or reservations.

How can this program be improved?
There could have been better guest speakers at the university lectures we attended. And perhaps more conversational practice in language class, especially at the beginning.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Culturally Enriching and Spiritually Freeing!

The staff in Indonesia are incredible. They are very involved with the students and the community and will do anything to help you. The fast paced and intensive language program is very beneficial for speaking to host families and locals. The lectures in combination with the many field trips will enhance your overall knowledge and immersion into Indonesian life and culture. Added bonus: the program center has amazing food!

How can this program be improved?
I would have wanted more freedom and less tim in the classroom.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Life Changing and Rewarding! Got a Fulbright!

I studied economics and anthropology and wanted a program that would get me into the real world... not send me on some bike tour type vacation in Europe.

We lived in Jakarta which is a massive sprawling city that you can't imagine if you haven't been through Asia. The streets are jammed with traffic that is 20 cars wide and 1,000 bikes mixed in. There is astounding wealth and privilege mixed with total poverty.

We lived with local high school students and their families while taking intensive language classes and also getting to know this major city.

Then after a few weeks, we punched out to Bali. A truly unique culture. I went on to write an 80 page thesis on the macro economic drivers of the region - everything from Gap factories to ex military real estate developers and tiny street corner entrepreneurs.

The entire program was about 15 students. All of them bright, motivated and engaged. Our classrooms were big open air straw covered decks with a view over rice paddies and palm trees. The level of academic work was intense in an unusual way. We had regular, almost daily, guest speakers who gave real world insight into the way Indonesia worked. The arts, culture, economics, history, violence, religion, dance... you name it, we dug into it.

When I came back to my university it was painful to go back to sitting in rows with disengaged students. this was the best educational experience of my life. I strongly encourage you to go SIT - find a program with them and do it!

As a result of my thesis that I wrote in Indonesia, I was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to go back to Bali after I graduated.

Yes, I recommend this program

About SIT Study Abroad

SIT has been providing immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates for more than 50 years. SIT offers more than 70 programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs in...