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

Mini X-Phase: A pilgrimage to Borobudur

Learning to travel can be a bumpy process. There is the challenge of rapidly researching places to visit. There are the awkward and confusing phone calls in a new language to make reservations. There are foreign menus with new foods with unexpected flavors. And there is the tricky process of consensus building among fourteen new friends to create a dynamic schedule.

Yesterday, our group handled a trial run in preparation for their Expedition Phase (or X-Phase), when the group takes over the reigns from the instructors to plan and carry out our travel over 9 days. For this trial run, the group decided to drive about 90 minutes from our base in Yogyakarta to the edge of neighboring Magelang to visit Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the group encountered some hurdles, they navigated them swimmingly, and we had a lovely day exploring and learning about the monumental religious site. They created a budget, hired a local driver and van, selected a restaurant for lunch (with back-up options based on possible plan-changes), organized snacks, and hired a guide to teach us about the history and the religious significance of the ancient temple.

We’ll let the group share some of their stories here on the yak board over the next few days, but here are a couple images of the group from our day out. We are currently reflecting on the experience and honing our skills for a second practice excursion that will take place next week. We are so proud of the group for how they worked together to plan such a meaningful experience, for how they looked out for each other during the trip, and we were especially impressed by the advancements Barnet has made with his Indonesian language skills, which he used to make reservations, and with the way Abby stepped up to handle the budget and to keep the group on track. We’re all looking forward to the next practice excursion!