Bali: Water & Culture from Rainforests to Reefs

Bali: Water & Culture from Rainforests to Reefs — About

About Bali: Water & Culture from Rainforests to Reefs

Learning will take place at numerous locations on two of Indonesia’s islands, Bali and Java. Indonesia provides a natural classroom for learning, with its status as a newly industrialized economy with burgeoning urban and industrial sector, yet with a significant portion of its citizens living as subsistence farmers. Indonesians make decisions every day that affect not only individual/family/village welfare, but also have global consequences.

Students will spend approximately seven days in Java and 11 days in Bali.

Course Description

Students in this course will embark on a journey of a lifetime, through tropical rainforests, traditional villages, plantations, and cooperatives, to waken and deepen their understanding of the environment, and how they connect with it. Students will learn about and reflect on the influences of local and global forces on rainforest habitat, the status of water resources, and community resiliency in Indonesia.

Students will attend lectures and presentations by local experts, partake in numerous field excursions, and learn about the challenges, opportunities, and successes experienced by Indonesians as they grapple with daily issues of clean water. Students will interact with Indonesian students, residents, and experts while visiting local villages and universities.

Download a draft version of the course outline.

Through guided reflection, guest lectures, field excursions, and research, students will:

Housing & Meals

Students will stay in shared hotel rooms with other program participants in both Java and Bali. They will have the unique opportunity to stay with a local host family for approximately five days while in Bali, giving them a unique look into the culture.

All meals are included in the program fee.


Excursions assist in illuminating program coursework and will take place in Bali, Java, and surrounding villages.

Excursions may include visits to: Mount Merapi Volcano, Ancient Brambanan (Hindu) and Borobudur (Buddhist) Temples, Islamic Mosques, Cultural and Arts Center of Java, International Heritage Site - Subak Irrigation Systems, Green School in Bali, and a rural excursion to local village with host family stay.

The program may also include a two-night excursion to another part of Bali. Potential destinations may be: highland rainforests of central Bali, coral reefs of the north coast, or the monsoon forest of West Bali National Park.

Learning Outcomes

Faculty & Staff

Dr. Gary Sands is a professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the U. He has been traveling to and working in Indonesia and Bali for over 30 years and is fluent in the Indonesian language. Dr. Sands' teaching and research is focused on water and the environment, and he is anxious to lead students on a cultural and environmental journey in Bali and Java. Dr. Sands says that Bali is where we see a fascinating and unique intersection of culture, art, spirituality, and the environment.