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Office of International Education | Costa Rica Semester Abroad

Indonesia: Consciousness, Culture, and Community in Bali

Course Location
Program Dates
Summer 2020
Travel Dates: 7/5/2020 - 7/18/2020
HLTH 106 - 3 Credits
Sam Standard and Laura Standard
Please see below for more information about costs associated with this travel study program.
Please call or email Sam Standard at (802) 338-0763 or as soon as possible.

View the syllabus

Course Description

This course will provide opportunities to develop intercultural communication skills including cultural awareness, cultural adaptation, cultural empathy and non-evaluative listening. In addition, students will have opportunities to develop skills in the domain of consciousness or transcultural communication. Some of these include: present moment awareness, tolerance for ambiguity and not knowing, tolerance for different perspectives, holding multiple perspectives, non-reactive stillness, and traditional meditation practice.

We will form a learning community with working guidelines.  This group will operate within the larger Balinese community which will allow students 1) to become more at ease with intercultural and transcultural skills; 2) to deepen their sense of community and; 3) to learn how to balance their own needs with the needs of others.  There will be numerous opportunities for students to interface with Balinese families, teachers and traditional healers.

Our home base will be in Tebesaya, a quiet, traditional, community close to Ubud.   Accommodation will be in Balinese “home stays” permitting close contact with extended families including the full range of generations from babies to grandparents. In this setting, where the arts are a central part of their culture, participants can feel connected to how the Balinese approach daily life at work and relaxation, and in social, organizational, and ritual manners.

After we have settled in Tebesaya for a few days, we will travel to the Nirarta Center (, which is in the rice fields and green hills of rural east Bali.  There we will take time for meditation and reflection, recognizing the rural roots of the Balinese way, and develop a deeper understanding of the Agama Hindu religion.

We will:

  • Consider some of the key frames that shape Balinese holism, as we explore the emergence of polarities, their resolution, and integration
  • Encounter the spirit of Balinese prayer and offerings, with an opportunity to create the latter
  • Enjoy a visit to, and blessings from, a high priest in the village
  • Attend several traditional music and dance performances
  • Visit a Balinese master healer with an opportunity to observe and experience his work

Balinese psychiatrist, healer, and activist, Prof. Luh Ketut Suryani will offer her expertise in combining both traditional and contemporary approaches to what she calls bio-psycho-socio-cultural-spiritual well-being.

Western education and thinking tends to emphasize the rational mind. Categorization, analyzing and splitting, are prominent elements in the foreground of our awareness. In contrast, Balinese tradition, as with many Asian societies, tends to emphasize feeling, intuition, relationship, sensitivity to background context, complexity, balance, and a capacity to embrace change. In Bali the arts, healing, spirituality, and community are interwoven in daily life in a way that is unique in the modern world.

The Balinese perspective provides a compelling contrast to our own, and has profound implications for the maintenance of individual and collective well-being and the resolution of imbalances in our societies.

Our time in Bali will test and refine our assumptions, not just as an interesting cultural backdrop, but also as a profound difference through which we can probe deeper dimensions of well being and inter-being. We will examine the changing nature of Balinese society, getting a first-hand look at how transformational tourism has influenced traditional culture. What is gained from tourism – even so called transformational or spiritual tourism? What is lost? What traditions remain strong in Bali? Which have changed and which are under threat?

Travel Study Costs and Fees

Program Fee: $2,209*

If you are admitted to the course, you will receive an email asking you to accept or decline the spot. To accept your spot, you are required to fill out the commitment deposit form and submit a $500 non-refundable deposit within 48 hours. For more information about payment policies and procedures, view the Travel Study Payment Policy.


  • Student housing accommodations
  • Cultural activities and excursions arranged by the lead instructor
  • In-country transportation
  • Meals

Not Included:

  • College tuition and fees**, see UVM Student Financial Services
  • Airfare, estimated cost $2,185
  • Cancel for any reason flight insurance (strongly encouraged)
  • Baggage fees
  • Vaccinations and any associated costs
  • Passport fees
  • Personal and entertainment expenses
  • Optional excursions
  • Anything not specified as included in the program

*Trip cost subject to change due to unanticipated changes.

**Travel Study courses are regarded as normal UVM courses and as such, normal tuition and fees apply.

Country Information

Visit the U.S. Department of State website for information regarding country health, safety risks, and laws for Indonesia.