Back to
Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

What is an ISP?

What is an Independent Study Project (ISP)?

The goal of the ISP component is that you find something you are passionate about that combines inspiration from your Head, Hands and Heart.

In many ways the ISP is the culmination of your Dragons course; it combines elements, from language study to cultural literacy to your leadership development into a project inspired by your own curiosity and sense of wonder. And it perhaps one of the few times in your life where you can decide what you want to learn, instead of what others’ ask of you.

It is important that the study is experiential and pertinent to your place. Experiential means that you are learning from people, places and activities that you encounter in Indonesia. Do not focus on activities that you could do equally well from your room at home. i.e. internet research, isolated book research, etc. While these may be valuable to your ISP, we encourage you to keep them to a minimum and instead focus on the experience of self-directed learning.

The ISP is a way for you to pursue something you are excited about. The majority of the hands-on ISP work is done in Jogja because that’s where we have the most consistent access to mentors/teachers in specific crafts and traditions. You can expect to devote several afternoons a week exploring a hands-on topic in Jogja (e.g., learning a craft such as silver smithing, creating woodblock printing, cooking Indonesian dishes, etc.).

We’ll talk more about all of this in-country. For now, here are some options that past students have pursued in Jogja:

  • Food: cooking, street food, the spice trade, rice cultivation, identity through food e.g. Chinese, Muslim, Hindu, Javanese, Bajau, Flores cuisine.
    • Performing Arts: Gamelan, Javanese dance.
    • Crafts and Textiles: Silver smithing, batik, leather puppet making (wayang kulit), bird cage making.
    • Medicine and Healing: traditional medicine (Jamu).
    • Economies: exploring different livelihoods in/around the city.
    • Visual Story Telling: Street art, woodblock printing, story telling through photography/video/drawings
    • Indonesian Martial art (Pencak Silat)

We’ll talk more about the ISPs during our in-country orientation, but it would be helpful if you identified a couple of topics/projects that interest you, even if it’s pretty vague like music, art, dance, cooking, etc., so we can setup meetings for our first week in Jogja.

Sampai Jumpa!

pictures: Emma doing her Javanese dance ISP and Chloe doing her Pencak Silat (Indonesian martial art) ISP.