US-Bali students join forces to solve social problems

by on 2012-06-05

After five weeks of collaboration, students from the Northeastern University in Boston and their friends from the Ganesha University in Singaraja in Buleleng regency, north Bali, will be proud on Tuesday to present their research and studies on various social and cultural issues at the Ganesha University Seminar Building.

Around 60 students from both universities have been involved in conducting projects covering problems faced by young people in Singaraja, the capital of Buleleng regency, and neighboring villages.

Ryan Feinstein, Bali Institute’s youth program development director, shared with Bali Daily, that the students had been divided into 10 groups. “Every group comprises Balinese and American students working on specific issues ranging from education, water management, poor infrastructure, drug and alcohol abuse, population issues, basic health facilities, as well as cultural subjects,” explained Feinstein.

The Bali Institute has worked with Northeastern University to bring these 32 American students and their professor to Bali to undergo a rare five-week cultural immersion here.

During their stay in Bali, the students participated in cross-cultural classes at Ganesha University in Singaraja for three weeks to learn about Balinese culture in particular, and Indonesian culture in general.

“This is also a part of the global youth initiative to promote global social entrepreneurial studies among young people around the globe,” Feinstein said.

He continued saying that this was the first time the Bali Institute had organized a student exchange program in Singaraja. “This city is amazing, rich in multicultural elements. The population comprises different ethnic backgrounds, each with their own problems.” Previously, foreign students have been very comfortable working in the famous Ubud art village in Gianyar regency.

Today’s presentation will be the highlight of the event to mark the end of the five-week cross-cultural program. During their time here, the American students made several field trips to a number of villages in the regency, such as Sudaji village.

Every group has identified several crucial social and cultural issues faced by the people in Buleleng regency.

The management of Ganesha University is expecting that the local authorities, NGO and the private sector will be present to learn about the findings and solutions presented by these talented students.

Marcia Jaffe, president of Bali Institute, said the social entrepreneurial studies required active participation and collaboration among young people to solve problems faced by their communities, their cities, their nations and the international world.

“There is no better creative and innovative way to draw these young students from different countries with different cultures to find solutions to local problems,” Jaffe had said previously.

Bali Institute has been active in building cross-cultural bridges by organizing student exchange programs and international cultural events involving influential world leaders and distinguished figures to share their views on important global problems.

“It would be a great and rare opportunity for students to closely interact with each other, despite their language and cultural barriers. This is the way we should forge our youth, the leaders of tomorrow, to communicate and to bridge differences to create a better world in the future,” Feinstein added.

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