• Indonesia
    • Bali
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Anthropology Art History Arts Asian Studies Cultural Studies Performing Arts Religious Studies Social Sciences Sociology

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family
Bahasa Indonesian


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Some Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Visa
May 24, 2023
Feb 12, 2020
1 traveler is looking at this program

About Program

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.

Video and Photos


SIT Robert Kantor Memorial Scholarship

Each year one student will be granted $10,000 in scholarship aid to study abroad with a SIT program. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the requirements are tight: seeking first-generation college students who've never traveled abroad before, currently attend an HBCU, and demonstrate strong financial need.


Program Reviews

4.50 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 5 rating 50%
  • 4 rating 50%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 3.75
  • Support 4.5
  • Fun 4.5
  • Housing 4
  • Safety 4.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic cultural experience, but awkward academic experience

From the homestays, to the excursions, to the staff’s expert understanding of local custom, and to the final Independent Study Project (ISP), the program from start to finish helps dip its participants into Indonesian culture. By the end of the program, I felt confident in my ability to navigate Indonesian life and problem solve unfamiliar situations there; and I gained life-changing skills that have followed me out of Indonesia.

On the other hand, the academic assignments (with the exception of the ISP) left much to be desired. It was clear that the staff was unfamiliar with the Western-esque standards of oral presentations and essays. As a result, rarely could the staff provide assistance with said assignments--either help during the process of crafting the assignments themselves or afterwards when locating areas for improvement--and they graded only on the basis of whether or not we followed basic instructions such as the correct page limit and citation style, rather than grading for content, structure, and/or style.
If these assignments weren’t going to end up on our transcripts, then I could let this oversight go; but the fact remains that our academic work in Indonesia has consequences back in America.

What would you improve about this program?
We spend too much time in Bali--we perhaps spent three weeks out of three and a half total months outside of Bali. Considering that the program is about Indonesia (and not Bali exclusively), I would suggest branching out.
45 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
47 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have wanted more freedom and less tim in the classroom.
51 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

46 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers