The premise: I'm going to Indonesia for the summer, and some people say they want to hear about it. And as I continue to travel to interesting places in the future, I'll write about them here too. I don't know yet quite what the internet situation will be in Indonesia, but I'll try to post every week or so, and put up pictures when I can.
Where I'm going/What I'm doing: I'll be in Malang, East Java from June 14th to August 8th. Malang is here:
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I'm going as part of the Critical Language Scholarship program run by the State Department. (Their spiel is here: www.clscholarship.org/index.html) Your tax dollars hard at work, buying me a plane ticket to Indonesia. (And thanks too to the Yale Southeast Asian Studies Department for giving me a grant to cover all the travel vaccines. Any undergrads out there, that's your tuition dollars hard at work.) I'll be in language classes for five hours a day, followed by some culture classes (yoga and Javanese cooking, in my case) and peer tutoring. On the side I'll be writing my portfolio papers for school. I'm living with a host family - all I know about them so far is that they're Muslim and they have a pet fish and a 23-year-old daughter named Rani who friended me on facebook. There's a few excursions as part of the program, and I'll be various weekend side trips while I'm there. Apparently we're right near the ferry to Bali. Sweet. I'm not allowed to leave the country during the program, but afterwards I'll try to travel around Southeast Asia a bit, probably to Singapore and Vietnam, maybe a bit of Malaysia too. We'll see.
The disclaimers: I signed a thing for CLS saying I'd follow some blogging guidelines, so here they are:
"• Acknowledge that your blog and posts are not official Department of State Web sites and the views and information presented are your own, not those of the CLS Program, the Department of State, or American Councils.
• As a participant in an academic exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State-Department, you have full academic and artistic freedom to write, publish, and create, but you are also expected to maintain a standard of conduct that is in keeping with the spirit and intent of the CLS Program, which is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and of other countries.
• Any CLS participant who posts inappropriate or offensive material on the Internet in relation to the CLS Program may be subject to revocation or termination of the CLS grant. What is deemed culturally acceptable in the U.S. may not be received well overseas. Describing the challenges of living in a foreign country is fine, but please do not use disparaging language to describe the country you are in and the people you live and work with."
So everything I write is my opinion and not that of the State Department, and I may have to leave out some of the more scandalous bits. Though my parents and their friends are reading this, so I'd probably do that anyway. (Hi Deena!) Not that I'd ever do anything remotely scandalous, of course.
And on that note, back to the packing...