And how are things in Bandung?

After having travelled through the whole of Vietnam for 5 weeks, I arrived virtually clueless in Bandung to study at the Institut Teknologi Bandung, the best technical university in Indonesia.


The pre-departure communication of the International Relations Office was rather limited and because we were the first TU/e students to go here, I had no clue what to expect or where to begin. So the first Monday, Youri Meijer (other exchange student from TU/e) and I entered the Service Desk with our Letters of Acceptance and the announcement ‘We are going to study here for six months, what do we have to do?’. And so the exchange semester at the ITB began.

This first encounter with the ITB immediately demonstrates the biggest pitfalls of the University life in Indonesia. The bureaucracy and the lack of communication are the biggest challenges of our faculty in our study. However, once Youri and I finally figured out our courses the fun could finally begin! We were able to schedule all our lectures from Monday to Wednesday, leaving us with a 4 day-weekend. The overall study pace is much lower as opposed to TU/e, but most of the lecturers are very committed to their courses and try to provide as much as possible of the course material in English (2 of the courses are half Bahasa/half English).

Besides the study, Bandung is a really vibrant and creative city that has so much to offer! All the locals are really nice and love to hang out with the internationals, or as they call them bule. Every weekend a different trip to some deserted island with the best surf beaches or beautiful snorkling. And in the weekdays I cruise around on my locally bought Vespa Super 150 from 1978 to explore Bandung and visit one of the many hipster coffee bars. For the coming weeks I’ll be occupied with shaping my own surfboard and a bit of studying for the midterms. Although I’ve been here only for 5 weeks, it seems so much longer and I am loving every moment of it!

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