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Photo by Emily Shahrzad Rahravan, Indonesia Semester.

FAQ, Relevant for Everyone

Hi all,

We’ve gotten a few questions via email that we think will be helpful for the entire group.

Q: Is a long skirt required?

A: No. You’ll be fine if you end up wearing pants (and swimming shorts) the whole trip.


Q: How often will we be swimming on course?

A: We will be swimming daily while we’re in Sampela. We’ll also be swimming during one of the days in our first homestay in Kedungmiri.


Q: Can/will I be able to use my phone on course?

A: You can certainly bring your phone. If you have an international data plan, your phone will get access during most of the course, though it’ll be slow in rural areas. Instructors will have phones with local SIM cards, and in case of emergency, participants can use those phones to call home. If it’s not an emergency, participants can wait for wifi and place calls on their phones. On this course, we’ll have wifi access every few days (from hotels and on layovers in the Makassar and Jakarta airports).


Q: Can I bring an iPad or laptop?

A: Feel free to bring what you need (and can comfortably carry); we understand that you have responsibilities you may need to attend to while on course. Please know that during our homestay in Sampela, we’ll ask that you leave your devices at the instructor house. When we work with students, they aren’t permitted to bring their devices with them on course because they tend to take away from the experience, so host families aren’t used to their homestay “children” having extra tech with them. Further, if a device were to get broken, fall into the water, or get misplaced during the homestay, families would likely feel guilt about it, and it could create discomfort in the community. While we clearly wouldn’t expect host families to replace a damaged device, they could feel pressure to do so – or concern about not being able to. While we certainly trust you as adults to use your devices thoughtfully and sparingly while on course, we’ll ask that you use and store them in the instructor house during the Sampela homestay.


Q: What if my family is concerned about my safety and wants to know if the group is ok, given recent violence/attacks?

A: Dragons is very proactive about posting on the Yak board regarding any regional issues and the status of the groups in those areas. Dragons admin is also great about answering questions when called by family members, and they have systems for putting participants in touch with family members (using instructor phones if a participant doesn’t have global coverage) should the need arise.


Q: How are the airlines we are using in country?

A: We’ve chosen to fly on Indonesia’s highest quality airline on every flight, with the exception of one short flight on a subsidiary of Lion, because that’s what’s available in that area.  That said, this is a route we’ve flown with on every Indonesia course without any problems, and it’s not a route on which there has been any history of threats.


Q: What do I need to know about my arrival in Indonesia, and how do I find my instructors?

A: Most of you are arriving around the same time in Jakarta. When you pass through immigration after disembarking in Jakarta, be sure that you get the free 30 day visa on arrival stamp. There is a paid option that is extendable to 60 days, but since we are all staying under 30 days you will only need the free non-renewable visa on arrival. Once you pass through immigration you will claim your luggage and exit through customs. The customs exit is a “T” shape (a short corridor with exit doors to the left and right). Please exit to the LEFT side door, and we’ll be waiting (in Dragons shirts) to greet you!


Q: What kind of adapter do I need to have for using electronics?

A: If you use Apple products, you don’t need a current adaptor. You WILL need a plug adapter. You’ll need the one with a round, two-pronged plug that’s used in most of Europe and Asia. REI has a great option here.

Q: If I’m on my period in Sampela, which type of product is most convenient to use?

A: It’s possible to use tampons, pads, or menstruation cups on course, depending on your preference for your body. In Sampela, participants can use the bathroom at the instructor house, which is more private than what is available in those homestays, if needed. If tampons are a viable option for you, we’d probably recommend that. If you use tampons or pads, please plan to bag them (ziplock bag + a colored/opaque bag) after use and pack them out with you when we leave Sampela. If you have more questions about this, please feel free to ask of ahead of time. We’ll also be covering health and hygiene related content/questions during our in-country orientation.


Q: What will our boat travel be like?

A: We’ll be taking big open-air boats to and from Sampela (1-2 hours). You can bring bring less-drowsy Dramamine (if you’re comfortable taking that) or other products that you know work for you, if you’re concerned about motion sickness. We also may take a boat into the mangroves near Sampela one day, take a boat out for snorkeling on nearby reefs, and take canoe-like boats out for fishing with homestay families, but those experiences will be optional and we’ll be in an area of the sea that is calm during those activities.


Q: Any recommendations for dealing with jet lag?

Preparing physically will help to make the transition smoother. Making sure you are well hydrated on the plane and bringing some vitamin/mineral packs for the flight is a great way to give your body a boost for this transition over the international date line.


Please let us know via Yak or on our upcoming (final!) webinar if you have other questions! In the meantime, be well!