Examine resource-use patterns and community-based conservation initiatives on the extraordinary island of Bali.
Investigate conservation in a high-diversity tropical environment.
Indonesia is one of 17 globally recognized “megadiverse” countries, second only to Brazil in terms of numbers of endemic species. It is also experiencing an extreme degree of threat to its biota posed by the extremely dense and rapidly increasing human population, especially in Bali, Java, Sumatra, and Borneo. This has led to a globally high number of critically endangered species, such as the Bali myna, Javan rhinoceros and Sumatran orangutan.
The program is based in Kerambitan, Bali, on the grounds of an ancient palace complex, in an area called the Puri Saren Kangin (“Palace of the Eastern Sleeping Quarters”). You’ll also visit Java and Borneo and experience a three-night homestay with a family in nearby rural Tabanan, famous for its beautiful rice terraces, black sand beaches, and distinctive temples and art. UNESCO recognized Tabanan’s irrigation district and rice fields of Subak Jatiluwih as a World Heritage site.
Experience grassroots conservation focused on habitat restoration, community sustainability, and endangered species management in Bali and Borneo.
Because of the threat to Indonesia’s biota, conservation initiatives of many types have begun, including — notably — community-based projects. Given the limited funding available for top-down (government-funded) conservation, and the continued declines in habitat and wildlife despite these efforts, these grassroots-level projects are potentially vital to changing the trajectory of conservation outcomes in Indonesia and other countries in which they occur.
You’ll assess conservation strategies to ameliorate habitat loss and population reduction, including tropical forest restoration, captive breeding and release programs, protected area management and community conservation approaches.
Study the social and cultural contexts of natural resource management in Bali.
Discuss principles of sustainability, and how these apply to a multifaceted reality. Discover how creative solutions to the problems posed by population growth, environmental exploitation, and tourism require an integration of economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability.
Compare ecotourism with other forms of natural resource use in light of economic and educational values, social costs and benefits, and environmental impacts. See local initiatives including a recycling project, water desalination plant, organic produce market in Nusa Lembongan and organic gardening and fair trade outlets for artisans in Nusa Penida.
Spend extensive time learning in the field: snorkeling, hiking in tropical forest reserves, and exploring human-dominated tropical ecosystems.
Some of the highlights include:
- the Bornean Orangutan research, rehabilitation, and conservation project at Tanjung Puting National Park
- coral reef ecological health assessment, marine park monitoring, and manta ray population and movement monitoring on Nusa Lembongan
- the captive breeding program for Javan banteng and management of leopard, Asian wild dog, rusa deer, and green peafowl populations at Baluran National Park
- community-based projects for reforestation on community land, local employment and tourism benefits, and the reintroduction of the Bali myna to the wild on Nusa Penida
See examples of how human activity impacts the environment.
Evaluate how human settlement and resource-use patterns have led to habitat loss and fragmentation, species endangerment and ongoing threats to terrestrial and marine biodiversity. In Borneo, examine the impact of oil palm plantations on the lowland rainforest habitat of orangutans, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, and many other threatened species. In Nusa Lembongan, see a dramatic example of mass tourism and extreme settlement density, leading to demonstrable impacts on reef, mangrove, and seagrass ecosystems. You’ll also visit Batukaru, West Bali, East Java, Central Kalimantan, and Nusa Penida — all prime examples of habitat loss and fragmentation, with examples of species loss in the most human-modified areas.
Learn basic Bahasa Indonesia.
In addition to your regular classes at the program base, you’ll have sessions three to four times per week during excursions to review vocabulary and general language concepts related to what you’re exploring on the excursion (e.g., tourism and economic topics at Blimbingsari or wildlife management issues at Baluran). You’ll also have one to one and a half hours of language classes five days per week on Nusa Penida. Your new language skills will help you develop better rapport with your hosts and engage better with the communities you visit.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Conservation strategies
- Principles and practices of sustainability and conservation biology
- Habitat fragmentation
- Management of threatened species and populations
The following syllabi are representative of 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 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 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
- (INDO1002 / 2 credits / 30 hours)
- Intermediate Bahasa Indonesia – syllabus
- (INDO2002 / 2 credits / 30 hours)
- Advanced Bahasa Indonesia – syllabus
- (INDO3002 / 2 credits / 30 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 to help students not only 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.
You will visit the Friends of the National Parks Foundation Volunteer & Conservation Center in Ped, helping with maintenance and community-based conservation programs. You will also take day trips.
You will stay for ten days at the Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF) Volunteer and Conservation Center in Ped, helping with maintenance and community-based conservation programs to deepen your understanding of how a grassroots-based conservation organization operates. During this time, you will also participate in research with the aim of monitoring and furthering FNPF’s conservation programs, such as reforestation, biological inventory, and establishment of a population of the endangered Bali myna. You will also take day trips to various parts of the island and see how recent growth in tourism is presenting new challenges to the sustainability of the local communities.
You will undertake studies of marine ecology and conservation on this small island neighboring Nusa Penida. The highly diverse reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds around these islands have recently been declared a marine protected area (MPA), and you will discover and practice the field techniques used to monitor MPAs, including methods for surveying corals, fishes, and some of the significant megafauna such as manta rays.
In West Bali, you will stay in a village whose community is engaged in various ecotourism enterprises, including showcasing the lowland forests of West Bali National Park. You will examine conservation issues in the region, including coral reef conservation, fisheries management, and conservation of species in agricultural landscapes. You will assess the application of conservation principles and their efficacy in managing West Bali National Park.
On the easternmost part of Java, you will encounter some of the island’s largest forest remnants in a patchwork of conservation areas surrounded by intensively used farmlands. Here, the potential for biodiversity conservation is tightly linked to the community’s needs for space, food security, and opportunities to engage in recently flourishing tourism.
On this seven-day excursion, you will visit conservation areas in and around Tanjung Puting National Park, site of the famous long-term study of orangutan ecology and conservation and home to a diverse community of primates and other large fauna. As well as having the opportunity to observe wildlife including these primates in the park, you will stay at the adjacent conservation center of the FNPF, where restoration of habitat on degraded land is a key project. Here you will assist in monitoring reforestation sites and surveying for wildlife on newly acquired forest reserve lands. Surrounding plantations, mainly of oil palm, graphically illustrate the precious value of habitat remnants in this area as well as the ongoing pressure on them.
Program in a minute-ish
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
John (Jack) Grant, PhD, Academic Director
Since 1988, Jack has taught in study abroad programs, including with SIT, for whom he was 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 conservation organization in Australia’s Atherton Tablelands. Jack is a part-time team leader in environmental restoration with Conservation Volunteers Australia, a grassroots environmental action program supporting environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will have a three- to four-day homestay in a Tabanan village, which will introduce you to a Balinese home and offer 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.
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
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: $2,150
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:
Airfare to Program Site
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.
Visa Expenses: $ 50
Books & Supplies: $ 50
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
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.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.