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

Pre-Course Assignments

Hello! We know that you all have been putting a lot of work into packing and preparing for our journey, and we created this assignment in the hopes that it will further prepare us!

There are three parts to the assignment: first, to begin to learn about one area of Indonesia that we will likely be visiting; then a drawing exercise; finally to write two letters, one to yourself to and another to the instructor team. The letters you can wait to write when you’re on the plane, but you should begin the first two parts of the assignment as soon as possible.

Part 1: Where Are We?

We’d like to assign a little bit of pre-course research that is linked to the locations we will be visiting over the course of the semester.

Each place we’ll visit will have 2-3 students assigned to investigate it. Look into that place’s art, history, current events, food, climate, environment, geology–whatever topics you tend to find interesting. Each of you should investigate the place separately and make notes. Lonely Planet and other guidebooks are great resources, as is a simple Internet search. Once we are all together in Indonesia, you’ll have time to meet up with your partner, compare notes, and decide what to share with the group. No need to contact your partner before the trip begins–we know you all must be very busy these days. We’ll use the information you gather during our orientation at the beginning of the course.

Without further ado, the partners are:

  1. Jackson, Dashiel and Lila with Yogyakarta
  2. Nathan and Sadie with Prambanan, Borobudur, and Mount Merapi (sites nearby Yogyakarta)
  3. Steven and Nicole with Flores Island (especially Bajawa)
  4. Babette and Sam with Sulawesi Tenggara (especially Wakatobi)
  5. Hayley and Otis with Sulawesi Selatan (especially Bira)

Part 2: Draw Your Home:

As we travel through different regions of Indonesia, we’ll often be drawing comparisons between locations, lifestyles, homes, etc. In each homestay we live in you’ll draw and catalogue the items you see in common areas, this will help us spark reflection and conversation. To kick this off we want you to draw your own home. Draw a floor plan of common spaces, decorate it with the things you see around these rooms. You can label it if you wish, but definitely write a list/inventory of all the possessions you see in these common spaces: books, electronics, cooking implements, furniture, etc. What are the things that you surround yourself with?

Part 3: Letter to Instructors & Letter to Self:

Any time before you arrive in Jakarta, please take the time to write a short letter to us, your instructors, telling us anything you think we should know about you. You can tell us about your likes and dislikes, your pet peeves, and your hobbies. Definitely let us know what your priorities are for this semester, and what you hope to get out of your time in Indonesia. Let us know how we can best support you when situations are stressful, and anything relevant about your physical or mental health. In short, help us get to know you a little bit quicker.

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On the flight over, once you have met the group, write a letter to yourself covering the following:

How are you feeling right now? Why are you going on this trip? What kinds of things do you value? What do you expect Indonesia and this trip to be like? How do you expect it will affect you? What are your impressions of your group members who you’ve just met? Any questions you have for your future self? And anything else you feel like writing! Create a snapshot for yourself of who you are at this moment in time.

No one will read this except you, you can put it in a sealed envelope and we’ll give it back to you at a later point in the trip to read and see how you’ve changed and grown.

Thank you all, and of course, feel free to post any questions that come up on the Yak board!