Studying Cultural Tourism at Udayana University: The View from Melbourne

By Troy Jackel, University of Melbourne

A warm welcome for University of Melbourne students by Vice Rector University of Udayana for International Affairs Prof. Suastra and Dean of Faculty of Letters I Made Sendra during the opening ceremony.

Winter in Melbourne isn’t known for warm, sunny days. Instead, think cold, blustery and generally bleak weather. With that in mind, the opportunity to escape to Bali’s lush, tropical conditions was hardly difficult to accept.

Thus, by mid-July I was in laid-back Sanur with fifteen other Melbourne University students, about to embark on two weeks of anthropologically-based tourism studies.

The majority of our mornings throughout the two weeks were spent in Denpasar, at Udayana University.

Here, we were lectured on the intricacies of tourist interactions with the world, focusing particularly on the Balinese context. Our ensuing discussions covered topics ranging from the ethics of travel, to sustainable tourism programs.

Vice Rector Prof. Suastra (centre) dan Dean Made Sendra with course partcicipants.


Discussion Continued on the Bus

Each field of investigation seemed to draw into another, and our classroom discussions regularly continued on the bus back to Sanur. All manner of depth and consideration was added to our discussions by the Udayana students who joined us for the course, illuminating us with local knowledge and insight.

The Udayana students rapidly became our friends both inside and outside of class, and for that we can thank the first classroom session.

As tends to be the case when meeting a group of new people, there was a mild sense of nervousness amongst the Australian students on the morning of our first class at Udayana.

Field trip to Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation, Nusa Dua.

Welcome Banner

Arriving at the University we were met with a tremendous welcome banner – certainly one of the nicer ways I’ve been greeted by University at 9am.

After some introductory words from Dr. Paul Green and Professor Darma Putra, the nerves were no longer, and the mood shifted to one of informal greetings, g’days, and good to meet you.

Welcome dinner.

The room rapidly became a cacophony of conversation. With various people I talked about various adventures and misadventures, fields of study, and unexpectedly, how to organise an internationally renowned music festival.

The opening day of class was very nearly flawless, except for one unfortunate Melbourne University student (that student being myself) who mistook a chili for a green bean. With tears streaming down my face, and words failing to escape my burning mouth, I made a note to never assume knowledge again. A sentiment just as useful to the safety of my taste buds as to engaging in the subject itself.

As far as first days in class go, it’s safe to say Udayana had it all.

At Taman Ayun Temple, UNESCO World Heritage site, 15 July 2017.

Between our first class and the last was a whole lot of learning, moments of comedy, iconic sites explored, and hours spent in the hotel pool.

Field trip to Ubud

The last class of the trip was in the form of a field trip to Ubud. An idyllic manner in which to conclude a memorable and rewarding two weeks of study.

Our primary venture of the day was to visit Janet DeNeefe, founder of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, at her phenomenal restaurant overlooking the Campuhan Ridge.

Janet DeNeefe gave a talk in her restaurant in Ubud.

Everyone frenetically took photos of the superb view, and basked in the midday sun. As for lunch, let’s say the food was every bit as good as the view. I heard many utterances along the lines of “best meal ever”, and, “I never want to leave”.

Sincere Thanks

Perpetual praise and commendation was a common theme among the students during our stay in Bali, so at this point it seems appropriate to extend sincere thanks to Dr. Paul Green and Professor Darma Putra.

The inaugural orchestration of Cultural Tourism in Southeast Asia ran seamlessly from beginning to end. As students, we were able to immerse ourselves completely in the places we visited, the reading we were assigned, and the experiences we encountered.

Course material.

Our ability to wholly engage with the subject, and Bali itself, was only possible through the tireless organisational work undertaken by Dr. Green and Professor Darma Putra, and I write on behalf of the students from both Melbourne University and Udayana University in saying many thanks for everything that went into the subject, and our wider experiences across the course. Even the assessment has been a joy.

Until next time, Udayana.***