Ilkka Partanen left his home university in Helsinki to spend a semester at Udayana University in Bali. Read about his epxerience below.
I studied at Udayana University in Bali for the 2013 Fall Semester. As you can imagine, the study environment in Bali differs quite a lot from that of Finland. I had already traveled around Indonesia before I applied for studies at Udayana, so I was prepared for the cultural differences ahead. For the average northern European person staying in Bali, the biggest adjustment would probably be the traffic. Getting around Bali by moped is super convenient, but the traffic can be intimidating. However, once you become comfortable, it is actually quite fun to cruise around.
Back in Finland, at the University of Helsinki, I focused on Development Studies and Southeast Asian Studies. Therefore, it made sense for me to complete a semester in Indonesia. The studies at Udayana were quite relaxed. The content and structure of the courses did not actually differ that much from those in Finnish universities, so they are probably similar to other European institutions as well. Since the exchange students came from many different study backgrounds, the courses were all at a fairly basic level. However, I still felt that my courses enabled me to obtain local perspective and insight into the different issues I was studying. Of all my classes, I probably enjoyed the language courses the most. The basics of Indonesian language are easy learn, so I highly recommend future students at Udayana to pay attention and take advantage of the opportunity.
I began surfing during my past travels around the globe, so that was surely another reason to go study in Bali. I was also happy to avoid the harsh Nordic winter, as I transitioned directly from the Finnish summer to the tropical Indonesian climate. I recommend all future students to travel around Bali and Indonesia while studying at Udayana. One can find cheap domestic plane tickets and, once used to the chaotic traffic, it is easy to hop between different islands by ferry and moped.