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

Indonesia is beautiful

When I came to Indonesia I had a preconception in my mind that it would be a tropical paradise full of beaches and palm trees, and some of it is, but the interaction with the environment and the community has been so much more impactful than I ever thought it would be. Every day we have a one and a half hour Indonesian language lesson. So far I can ask pretty basic questions like “Apa ini?” (What is this?) or “Dimana pohon mangga?” (Where are the mango trees?) but even with those basic communication skills I feel like I have exited the traditional tourist experience and am participating in cultural exchange. Yes, the crystal clear water as we pulled into port in Bali was breathtaking, but so was the market in Pakem right after Catholic Mass where balloons and sweet buns were being sold to the local children. These instances that make up the day to day cultural lifestyle of Indonesia, to me, are more beautiful than the postcards.