Jessica Plewright is a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient from Murdoch University. Jess participated in the 2020 Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum in Bali, Indonesia, where she interned with Puri Lumbung Cottages. Throughout the practicum, Jess was an ACICIS Social Media Ambassador, tasked and trusted with using social media to facilitate meaningful discussions about life, study and travel in Indonesia. Here is Jessica’s story…

My incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity of living, studying and working in Bali
By Jessica Plewright  (STPP 2020)

Participating in the Sustainable Tourism Professional Practicum in January 2020 was fulfilling, exciting, interesting and my expectations were exceeded in all the best ways. For me personally, there was a lot of uncertainty going into the course as the idea of 6 weeks in a foreign country was very daunting, despite having spent the last year learning Indonesian at Uni. However, our first day of orientation cleared up any and all questions I had and suddenly the prospect of the following weeks was exciting, and I couldn’t wait to get started!

I pretty much hit the jackpot when it became time to find a place to stay for our time at Udayana University in Jimbaran, South Bali. Some friends and I found the perfect homestay, one kilometre away, with everything we wanted and needed, and the Ibu and Bapak Kos were so hospitable and caring toward us during our stay! Ibu even started making us a cooked breakfast every day before Uni!

If you’re doing a short course in Bali and need to find a place to stay, make sure you have a good look around and know what amenities you want because there will be the perfect place waiting for you to find it. Something I was really worried about going into the course was finding a place to stay, but with half a day of looking at different places and a little bit of patience, the perfect one was there for me.

The first two weeks at the University were a whirlwind of Indonesian language lessons which greatly improved all our conversational Indonesian, and a series of seminars delivered by many different speakers from Bali and beyond. Sustainable tourism is a concept that is so important, and with each speaker delivering a different perspective on it, we were exposed to so many new ideas and ways of thinking about the issues faced in the tourism sector, with a focus on tourism impacts in Bali and Indonesia.

Following our two weeks studying, each of us were placed either by ourselves or in pairs at different tourism community-based organisations, environment-based organisations or in hotels or resorts. I was placed with my friend in the North of Bali among the beautiful mountains in a sustainable, eco hotel, the Puri Lumbung Cottages. We were met with open arms and were immediately welcomed into the happenings of the hotel. Once settled, we discussed with our supervisor about our goals and what we wished to get out of our time there and had a lot of free reign on the tasks we wished to try. We agreed on spending a few days with each different department that helped the hotel run, and when we found a department that we really enjoyed working with, we were able to stay in that department and found tasks to do and work with the staff there. Working in the front office with the front reception staff really drew me in and I enjoyed the customer service side of the hotel business while my friend really enjoyed the service and restaurant side of things. While working in the office I was able to read through and edit/correct the English on articles written by the owner and his entire rationale and vision for the hotel, and understand the philosophy upon which Puri Lumbung was created.

If you are thinking of participating in an ACICIS short course for 6 weeks or the semester long course, I could not recommend the experience more! It can get challenging at times, but the people you meet, the experiences you have and the things you learn are things that you just cannot replicate anywhere else and are worth any challenges you may face. Indonesia is such a beautiful, intriguing, culturally rich nation and Bali is incredibly unique, so experiencing what its like to live, study and work in a place so different to Australia is something I won’t ever forget.

This article was first published on LinkedIn, you can find the original post here.