After completing the Asia 399 course in Indonesia and Thailand this June, Jillian sent us this update!
After molding to the seat of an airplane for over 20 hours, I stepped into the hot air of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Over the course of the following week I would experience a beautiful and insanely diverse culture. To be completely honest, it was only once I saw the posters advertising the class Asia 399 that I even considered traveling to Southeast Asia, but boy am I glad that I did.
The very first thing I noticed in Indonesia were the swarms of bikes flying down the streets, and yet despite the seemingly chaotic road customs, I did not see a single accident. Equally as impressive were the number of vendors on the sides of the roads. In the little street stalls you could find anything from SIM cards to nasi goreng, a traditional fried rice dish that is bound to make your taste buds explode with a heap of spicy sambal.
During a bike tour we saw numerous wet rice fields, some squeezed between buildings and others filling large acres. On another day we visited the Hindu and Buddhist temples Prombanan and Borobudur. The detailed carvings on the temples were mind blowing, as were the excessive demands we received by the local kids that wanted to take pictures with us. Possibly my favorite event was when we learned some “traditional” Javanese dance. While our patient mentor glided to the music with ease, the rest of us floundered through the movements like strange flying reptiles. Priceless.
Every day was a blast made even more memorable by the people involved. I really enjoyed getting to know not only my class mates and professors, but Indonesians as well. During the trip there were a handful of Indonesian college students that joined us on our activities and they definitely put the icing on the cake. The students showed us the best places to eat, helped us communicate with other Indonesians and answered all of our questions about life in that beautiful region that I so desperately wish to return to.