Published: Nov. 1, 2018 By

CAS introduces a series of blog posts written by students who participated in Global Seminar courses last simmer. We hope they give inspitation for and perspective on the summer learning opportunities available at CU Boulder.

Indonesia Global Seminar blog by Bella Stephens

      This is summer was one of the best summers of my entire life. A lot of that is thanks to to the global seminar in Indonesia. The CU Boulder main campus equivalent course is Culture and Media in South East Asia. We obviously focused more on Indonesia rather than all of South East Asia, but we spent a lot of time making connections to what we were learning through experience into the greater South East Asia region.  The class isn’t really something I would have thought about taking at CU main campus, but the opportunity sounded like something I couldn’t pass up and I am so grateful to my past self for that. The class was incredible, and the teacher Chris Hammons adapted to the non traditional classroom which a non traditional teaching style flawlessly. He allowed all of us to adapt to our surrounding, learn by doing, and created thought provoking conversation allowing for self understanding. 

         We began our trip, six very confused girls meeting for only the second or third time in Denver International Airport. We luckily found a way to meet up before the trip, and book ourselves onto the same flight. We were looking ahead at easily 35 hours of travel, and none of us really knew what the meant in terms of our sanity. None of us had very much information about the trip, we were all diving head first and excited, though definitely nervous. Little did we know after all that flying, the real travelling was not even close to finished. When we finally arrived in Padang, we had Chris Hammons waiting for us, as a friendly face and we couldn’t have been more excited. We were all dead tired, but we forced ourselves to stay up to recover from jet lag. After two days of rest and recovery in Padang, we were in for the real adventure. We headed out to the Mentawais, this was a full day of rigorous travel, and sore butts but it was really the most worth it treck I have ever made. Travelling with Chris Hammons to Indonesia is such a privilege and special experience. He has so many connections, an extensive knowledge of the language and culture, as well the ability to show you parts of Indonesia no one just casually travelling could never see.

            We had the most amazing time learning, log hiking, and just being in the jungle. The sleeping was definitely a trick, but I got used to it after the first night. As long as you remember to reapply bug spray before you go to sleep, you will be okay (in your bug tent). At the end of the week it was incredibly sad to move on, after experiencing the unparalleled kindness we had encountered. Between Professor Hammon’s friend opening his home to us, his family cooking for us all, and the whole village opening their whole lives for us to see. A definite con to leaving was having to do the whole boat trek back, but we had Bali waiting on the other side.

             We spent the fair majority of our trip in Bali, studying the effects of tourism on culture throughout the southern part of the island. I ended up staying a few weeks longer after the trip so I was there for about a month. Getting to spend such a chunk of time in one area was truly incredible. Chris Hammons taught us the importance of using your brain when you travel. It’s one thing to travel to a place, and be conscious and it's something else entirely to not even look at the tourism industry’s effect on the culture your in. The tourism industry affects every aspect of life in Bali, and its a huge chunk of the economic revenue. Thanks to this trip, I will never travel the same way, I will forever be conscious of trends, especially in tourism. This trip not only changed the way I travel, but also showed me some of the most fun I have ever had. I would like to thank Professor Hammons, the other five girls on my trip, and CU Boulder for making my summer of a lifetime entirely possible.