One of the coolest, most transformative, and eye-opening experiences of my life. Past Review

By (University of California - Los Angeles / UCLA) - abroad from 06/28/2015 to 07/11/2015 with

The Sea State: Bali - Creative Nonfiction Writing - Surf Journalism

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
We became informed humanitarians; writing and surfing along the way, but above all, learning conscientiousness. Learning Bali, learning the world. And learning that when we borrow these magnificent places through our travels, we not only come away with beauty, but in turn, leave a huge impact behind as well. I've become a better traveler for this experience, and am changed for the better – and not to mention came away with lifelong friends. "Worthwhile" would be an understatement.

Review Photos

The Sea State: Bali - Creative Nonfiction Writing - Surf Journalism Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned more from my time in Bali – that will be / has been applicable to my post-grad career – than I did during my undergrad at UCLA. Experiential learning is in a league of it's own compared to the traditional classroom/textbook experience. I couldn't be more grateful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Cold showers, but everything else was perfect!

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We had such a unique social/cultural integration to Bali thanks to Matt's long-standing expat status. Truly such a special and transformative experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a 24hr bug of some sort, as well as an anxiety attack, and both were attended to with the utmost care.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I had studied abroad once before, in the Netherlands. This was one of the best times of my life as well, but for entirely different reasons; comparing the two experiences would be apples and oranges. While I may have been traveling with an open mind and heart in the Netherlands, it was not until my second round of international education, to Bali with The Sea State, that someone finally forced me to open my eyes. Under the instruction of Matt George – former professional surfer and now editor-in-chief of Surftime Magazine – in conjunction with surf-tourism expert Dr. Leon Mach, five students and myself embarked on two unforgettable weeks in Uluwatu, Bali, in July of 2015. It was experiential learning – the kind that everyone should seek. Instead of reading about volcanoes, we climbed them. Rather than studying the Hindu Full Moon Ceremony, we knelt with locals at the temple, clad in sarongs. And while we lived in a world-renowned surf village during its largest swell of the decade – housing athletic professionals, cliff-side views, and a famed three-story bar – our focus was instead on the reefs, and ocean water filled with straws.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

They certainly encouraged us to practice the language, but we all spoke English during the trip. I did not pick up Indo or Balinese short of a few select words here and there.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? In Balinese / Indonesian? None.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use it daily! We had a few language lessons, but this was not an integral aspect to our trip.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Classmates / Teachers
  • One-of-a-kind integration/experience with the destination, local peoples, and culture
  • Educational structure
* What could be improved?
  • Warmer showers haha
  • Credit transfer to home institution
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That my credits wouldn't transfer. However, I wouldn't have undone it for the world!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.