Indonesia | Summer Abroad | Conservation | Environmental Studies

Indonesia: Community Nature Conservation in Bali (Summer)

Examine resource-use patterns and community-based conservation initiatives on the extraordinary island of Bali.

Explore the chal­lenges of nature conservation in one of the world’s most biodiverse and heavily populated countries: Indonesia. From a base on the beautiful island of Bali, discover how resource-use patterns in Indonesia are threatening the future sustainability of Bali’s globally significant natural resources—above all, its rainfor­est and coral reef ecosystems—as well as the viability of its human communities. You will spend extensive time learning in the field: snorkeling, hiking in tropical forest reserves, and exploring human-dominated tropical ecosystems.

Major topics of study:

  • Conservation strategies
  • Prin­ciples and practices of sustainability and conservation biology
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Management of threatened species and populations 

Meet the program’s academic director.

Examine multiple approaches to conserva­tion but places particular emphasis on locally initiated conservation strategies. You can expect to experience and scrutinize the grassroots activities underway within Bali, for example, by assessing the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the Bali Myna Reintroduction Project.

The program base is in Kerambitan, located about 45 minutes outside of Denpasar, where you will have the initial program orientation, including introductory lectures, before a three-night homestay with a local family in the Kerambitan area. You will return to Kerambitan for several nights at the end of the program for final evaluation sessions, project presentations, and completion of all coursework.

Program Key Features—At a Glance:

  • Investigate the ecological context of conservation in a high-diversity tropical environment.
  • Conduct field research and acquire field skills in biological inventory and ecological monitoring.
  • Examine community outreach programs integrating habitat restoration, food security, and endangered species management.
  • Study the social and cultural contexts of natural resources management in Bali.
  • Engage with Balinese faculty, students, and local residents and learn in a variety of locations on mainland Bali and Nusa Penida Island.
  • Gain knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia and practice your language skills with local residents.
  • Construct a framework for assessing environmental impacts of human activities.
  • Compare ecotourism with other forms of natural resource use in terms of economic and educational values, social costs and benefits, and environmental impacts.
  • Analyze public, private, and community-based approaches to conservation.

Program Center in Kerambitan (Tabanan Regency)

The program is based in the town of Kerambitan, located in Tabanan regency about an hour’s drive from Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar. The program center is located on the grounds of one of the two ancient palace complexes of Kerambitan, in an area called the Puri Saren Kangin or “Palace of the Eastern Sleeping Quarters”.

Although you will spend most of the summer out in the field, the majority of the classroom-based activities will take place at the program center. Classroom-based activities are scheduled for shortly after arrival and then again at the close of the program. The program's library, office, and classroom facilities at the program center will be within walking distance from your host family’s home. You will return to Kerambitan for several nights at the end of the program for final evaluation sessions, project presentations, and completion of all coursework.

Tabanan is famous for its beautiful rice terraces, black sand beaches, and distinctive temples and art forms and has rightfully earned its reputation as “the rice-granary of Bali.” In 2010, UNESCO recognized the irrigation district and rice fields of Subak Jatiluwih, a sub-district of Tabanan, as a World Heritage site.

A subak is an irrigation organization unique to Bali, whose members share the water from a common feeder stream or river and cooperate in ensuring equal distribution of water and prosperity of the fields. The importance of irrigation in Tabanan district also comes out in the several “lakeshore temples” dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of lakes. Natural water sources are considered sacred in Bali and are often the sites of important temples and centers of local pilgrimage.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Biodiversity and Natural Resource Conservation – syllabus
(ENVI3010 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course focuses on biodiversity conservation in the ecological context of tropical Asian reef and rainforest systems. Against a backdrop of historical and contemporary patterns of natural resource use patterns in Indonesia and particularly Bali, students examine the responses of the biota to large-scale habitat loss and fragmentation, extraction of resources (for example timber and fishes), and changes to hydrological and nutrient dynamics that accompany conversion of the landscape to agricultural dominance. Understanding the processes and patterns of change gives students insight into potential solutions, which may include government-initiated programs, privately funded ventures, and community-based approaches. Students examine these different models by means of social, economic, and environmental indicators of success, looking in particular at integration of these aspects and potential for long-term, sustainable solutions.
Biodiversity and Conservation Study Project – syllabus
(ENVI3060 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course, students engage in research on a topic of relevance to biodiversity and conservation in Bali. The emphasis in this project is on building a solid framework for facilitating field research, including development of appropriate research questions and methodology, use of literature and other resources to construct a strong context for proposed project work, and cultivation of sound primary data collection skills (including interview and laboratory-based skills as well as fieldwork in a narrower sense). Each student conducts research with a field component and produces an original academic paper whose contents are also presented orally to student peers. This course gives students the opportunity to engage in more detail with one of the themes examined in the seminar and to develop their research skills.
Beginning Bahasa Indonesia – syllabus
(INDO1000 / 2 credits / 30 class hours)
Intermediate Bahasa Indonesia – syllabus
(INDO2000 / 2 credits / 30 class hours)
Advanced Bahasa Indonesia – syllabus
(INDO3000 / 2 credits / 30 class hours)
This course is designed to develop student proficiency and communication in Indonesian language in order to deepen experiential learning about community nature conservation practices in Bali. While emphasis is placed primarily on oral comprehension and conversational skills (i.e., listening and speaking), reading and writing are highlighted as crucial to the reinforcement of those skills. Thus, the course is designed not only to help students acquire Indonesian language skills, but also to grasp cultural practices in Indonesia. Cultural context is built into the course and introduced through experiential activities accompanying the textbook. Beginning Indonesian introduces students to pronunciation and writing systems of basic grammar, basic vocabulary, and sentence structure.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Time on the program is divided between the island of Nusa Penida; Denpasar and Kerambitan (Bali); and  central, north, and west Bali.

Nusa Penida

On the island of Nusa Penida, you will engage with the Friends of the National Parks Foundation Volunteer & Conservation Center in the town of Ped. You will also undertake day excursions and activities and participate in the maintenance of the center and its community-based conservation programs.


In the city of Denpasar, you will have introductory lectures and later give presentations to your peer group and local guests regarding your research and studies while on Nusa Penida. During the program period in Denpasar, you can expect to examine aspects of the wildlife trade and other biodiversity conservation issues, as seen from the perspective of Bali's largest city.

Central, North, and West Bali

This approximately two-week excursion involves moving to various sites throughout Bali, including the highland rainforests of central Bali, coral reefs of the north coast, and the monsoon forest of West Bali National Park. You will examine conservation issues in several communities en route, including issues related to coral reef conservation, fisheries management, and conservation of species within agriculturally dominated landscapes. You will assess the application of conservation principles learned earlier in the program, in terms of their efficacy in managing West Bali National Park and conserving biodiversity within the park.

Dr. John (Jack) Grant, Academic Director

Jack GrantSince 1988, Dr. Jack Grant has been teaching in various study abroad programs, including SIT, where he also served as academic director of the Australia: Natural and Cultural Ecology program for five years. Jack is a zoologist, specializing in ornithology and wildlife ecology of tropical forests and conservation biology. He was a long-serving president of the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group, a community conservation organization on Australia’s Atherton Tablelands. Jack also works on a part-time basis as a team leader in environmental restoration with Conservation Volunteers Australia, a grassroots environmental action program that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia.

Tony Cummings

Tony CummingsTony Cummings has served as academic director for the Australia: Natural and Cultural Ecology program since 2002. Tony has a BS in environmental studies and biology from St. Lawrence University and a master’s degree in environmental science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His main research interests involve rainforest succession, especially reforestation plantings. He is also involved in conservation organizations, including the Society for Conservation Biology, Trees for the Tablelands, and the Tree Kangaroo and Mammal Group.

You will have a short homestay (three to four days) in a Kerambitan village, near the program classroom, which will introduce you to a Balinese home and provide you with additional insight into the predominant Hindu culture. The homestay also gives you a good opportunity to practice your new Indonesian language skills.

Other accommodations on the program include hostels and small hotels.

  • Indonesia: Community Nature Conservation in Bali (Summer) is available only in the summer semester.
  • The summer semester generally begins in mid-June and ends in late July.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Apr 1, 2016

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: Not yet available.

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:

  • The Biodiversity and Natural Resource Conservation course
  • The Biodiversity and Conservation Study Project
  • All educational excursions associated with the Biodiversity and Conservation Study Project and the Biodiversity and Natural Resource Conservation course
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: Not yet available.

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation; the homestay; time in the program base (Kerambitan); on excursions to locations such as West Bali, East Java, and Nusa Penida; and during the evaluation period.
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad directly or through an appropriate stipend.

Estimated Additional Costs:

International Airfare to Program Launch Site

International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Immunizations: Varies

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.


Tap to display sub-menu choices,
press & hold to open topic in new page.


SIT, 1 Kipling Road, PO Box 676, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676
802 258-3212, 888 272-7881 (Toll-free in the US), Fax: 802 258-3296 

SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

Accreditation | Privacy Policy | Site Map

Copyright 2016. World Learning. All rights reserved.

Back to top