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

Selamat datang from a former Dragon

Selamat jalan-jalan, Naga!

Rita, one of your wonderful instructors whom you will meet very soon, asked one of her former Indonesia students (me) to write a short yak for you all to read pre-departure (p.s. Olivia, you’re very wonderful as well). I’m sure you’ve been notified that your life is about to change and you’ll remember this experience forever, which remains to be very true, but oftentimes the clichés aren’t taken to heart very easily.

My encouragement to you, as a former Dragon, is to capitalize on this experience and to jumpstart your thoughts on the human being that will step back into “home” three months from now. Before you step onto the plane, be aware of why you sent yourself on this trip. Something as simple as recognizing your own intent can be incredibly helpful when the image of home begins to blur in your mind.

The sights you see and the people you encounter will no doubt make your stomach jump and your heart leap, but do not forget to ask yourself why we don’t typically experience the same feelings back home. In short, soak up the view and stuff yourself full of Indonesian desserts and enjoy the incredibly unique situation that you’re in, but don’t neglect to devote thought to the circumstances that brought you there.

Life is about to get a whole lot more complicated, but yet simpler as well. The lifestyle of Indonesians, as you will learn, is typically laid back, giving plenty of time for reflection. As you are traveling, I encourage you to fall freely into the moment, not forgetting to be present in the profound reflections that will inevitably follow.

Hati-hati sekali,