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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

6-Week Tentative Itinerary

Hello Friends, Family, and Participants of Princeton Bridge Year Indonesia!

Please find below our tentative itinerary for our first 6 weeks together. As you know, we will be traveling for our first four weeks together and then we will be based in Jogjakarta, Indonesia (also spelled Yogyakarta). Until we arrive in Jogja, the group will have limited access to electronics. While there will be opportunities to access the internet from time to time, you should not expect to hear from the students regularly at this time. Students will, however, be posting regular updates here on the Field Notes board to let you know where we are, what we’re up to, and we include reflections from staff and students. On-site staff will carry cell phones and a laptop and will be in regular contact with our Dragons Admin (who also pass updates along to the Bridge Year office at Princeton). Thanks for understanding this space that we’re carving out time to be fully present in our first month. Rest assured that we’ll all be in much more frequent contact during our time in Yogyakarta!

Also, please note that our itineraries are always flexible so we can take advantage of unexpected opportunities on the ground and best shape this experience to our group’s unique interests. Thank you for following along on our journey and for all of your support to get us here. We’re excited to share with you on this Yak Board as we pioneer this Bridge Year Program and explore this new place!


Tentative 6 – Week Princeton BY-Indonesia Itinerary, August 30 – October 13, 2017

August 30: Departure from Princeton. We’re taking United Airlines flight 1494 routed through Washington Dulles and Narita Japan, departing Newark Airport at 10:25 am.

August 31: Arrival in Jakarta!  Our flight arrives at 11:55 PM. We’ll pass through immigration and customs and then spend the night in the airport hotel.

Sept 1: We’ll travel from Jakarta to Jogjakarta. Our flight is at 12:45 pm and we’ll arrive in Yogya at 2 pm. Umi (our Local Director) will meet us at the airport with our vans and we’ll drive directly to our Orientation Site in Pakem, located in the north of the Special Region of Jogjakarta near the base of Mt. Merapi. We’ll settle in and relax after our long multi-leg journey.

Sept 1-6: Pakem. Our on-site orientation begins here and we’ll be going over important details to set us up for our new experiences and give us the tools to effectively engage in Indonesia. Some of the topics we’ll cover are: Program Overview, Health and Safety 101, Hygiene 101, Introduction to cultural similarities and differences, Survival Indonesian, Core Values and Program Components, and Goal and Intention Setting. We’ll also spend good time together as a group getting to know each other better and learning how we can best support and guide each other through this amazing 9-month experience.

Sept 7 – 8: Bike trip from Pakem to Kedung Miri. We’ll take a break from our orientation sessions to get hands-on (or wheels-on!) experience exploring Central Java. We’ll visit some sites around Jogja, including ancient temples, verdant rice fields, local markets, and maybe even a beautiful lake to take a dip and cool off. We’ll finish our bike trip at our second orientation location, Kedung Miri.

Sept 9 – 10: Kedung Miri. Located in the southeast corner of Jogja province, we’ll continue our orientation sessions and further familiarize ourselves with Indonesian geography, history, culture, and language.

Sept 11: We’ll depart Kedung Miri and spend the night in the city of Jogja to start our journey to Eastern Indonesia. From Java we will move to the island of Flores where we will stay for about 12 days in the mountain village of Langa, near the town of Bajawa. This community is also home to one of our beloved Dragons instructors, Egen. We will be traveling mostly overland via bus and train and will get to experience what travel is really like for the majority of Indonesians.    

  • Sept 12: We’ll head to Banyuwangi, located on the eastern tip of Java, via an all-day train ride. There will be so much to see so make sure you keep your eyes open!
  • Sept 13: We’ll take a bus that transports us from Java into the island of Bali. We will spend the night at a hotel in Denpasar.   
  • Sept 14: From Bali, we head further east to Flores via an afternoon flight. We’ll land in Ende and take a 4-hour bus ride to Bajawa. We’ll get some well-deserved stillness and put our feet up at our hotel for the night!

Sept 15 – Sept 26: Homestays and service learning in Langa. On the 15th, we’ll meet Egen and take another bus ride (a short one this time, we promise) to the village of Langa. We will meet our homestay families and start learning about life in Flores. The island is home to incredible ecological, cultural, and linguistic diversity and during our time here we will have a chance to learn about some of these unique aspects. Unlike in Java, the majority of people in Flores are Christian, owing to colonial Portuguese influence. The farming community of Langa is built at the base of the impressive volcano Inerie, and the community still practices the ancient traditions of their ancestors paying respect and reverence to the earth and the beauty around them. Here we will stay in homestays, help our host families on their nearby farms, roast coffee over an open fire, and stay up late laughing with the warm faces around us.

Sept 27: Arrival in Jogjakarta! We’ll travel from Langa to Jogja, this time via flights, to start preparing for our long-term stay in Central Java. We will arrive in the evening and stay in a hotel nearby the Program House in Kota Gede for the next few nights.

Sept 28 – Sept 30: Our group will have a short “re-orientation” to get acquainted with our new home. Rising like a sentinel over the rice fields, it is said that the sacred volcano Mount Merapi is the source of a line of power that connects the Northern reaches of Yogyakarta to the gods of the sea off the southern coast. Between these two points lies the palace of Jogja’s Sultan, a beloved figure who embodies the perspective of a people who practice a form of Islam that absorbed elements of early Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms. A dynamic center of learning, activism, and the arts, modern and ancient culture mingle on Jogja’s streets, where a diverse community from all over Indonesia mix in a social world informed by the Javanese philosophy of living. Jogjakarta is the the cultural and artistic heart of Java. Home to many universities, including the oldest in Indonesia and the country’s premiere art institute, there is no place better to experience art and culture. The ritual crafts of the gamelan orchestra, Javanese dance, shadow puppet theatre, batik making, and more continue to be practiced in the community as they have been for centuries.

Oct 1: Move into homestays!

Oct 1 – Oct 13: Get oriented to Yogyakarta, visit service sites, begin intensive language study. These two weeks will lay the foundation for our time in Jogja with intensive language instruction, service site discussions and visits, and a myriad of applicable lessons that will become important scaffolding for understanding the political, historical, and environmental complexity of Indonesia. We’ll have opportunities to explore our new city with our homestay families and as a group.

Oct 13: Anticipated first day at service sites