By Miryam Moutillet
Om Swastiastu! In Ubud, Indonesia, 15 Union students pursued an intensive study of Balinese performing arts. They ventured to a series of significant rituals and artistic endeavors.
Highlights included their participation in the Galungan festivities and their attendance of a traditional marriage and cremation ceremony. In doing so, students familiarized themselves with the local Balinese people.
Kyle Irwin ’16 and Laura Pacheco ’16 each commented on the cultural experience of the Bali Mini-Term Abroad.
Irwin stated, “The exotically rich Balinese community and culture forced us out of our comfort zones and required us to truly come together as a group, and each individual took away an aspect of life that will aid him or her in a way we never could have imagined.”
Pacheco said, “Having the opportunity to be completely immersed in a culture on the other side of the world for three weeks was life recognizing and helped me understand the meaning of a ‘keluarga’ (family) and community, both Balinese and American.”
During this term abroad, students attended daily group instruction with master performers in both gamelan, which is a Balinese orchestra, and dance.
Private teachers gave lessons in an art form of the students’ choosing, such as mask making, drums and female dancing. The educative experience culminated in a final performance with full costume and make-up.
Grace Kernohan ’17 stated about her experience on the Bali Mini-Term Abroad, “Bali is a place like no other, and without this mini-term, I never would have experienced its joy, vibrancy, dedication and unending welcoming spirit.”
“The Balinese are the most welcoming, sincere and thoughtful people I have ever encountered, which made my experience in Bali one of the most wonderful experiences of my life,” said Jacqueline Zannos ’17.
“Spending three weeks in Bali taught me how to make amazing connections with people, even with serious language barriers between us. A smile goes a long way there,” observed Matthew Hellauer ’16.
Madeleine Lewis ’17 stated, “The mini-term to Bali was an absolutely amazing experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I learned more than I thought possible not only about the performing arts of Bali but also about myself, and for that I am very grateful.”
The Bali Mini-Term Abroad is a winter mini-term that occurs on evenly numbered years.