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Study of Sustainable Tourism in Lake Toba, Indonesia

My trip to Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia, began on the 22nd of June 2022. As one of the 17 students who went on this two-week trip, I can safely say it was everything more than we had ever expected it to be.

Going into this project, I was unsure of what to expect. I had little knowledge of Indonesia or its culture, but this turned into a focal point for me, and I enjoyed experiencing a new culture and a new way of life that came with visiting Indonesia. I enjoyed the activities we did, such as swimming at the base of waterfalls, visiting traditional villages and a six-hour jungle trek which involved sightseeing orangutans in the wild, a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever. The places we stayed included Medan, Samosir island, and Balige.

I enjoyed the work we did being a study of sustainable tourism, staying in, drawing, and diagramming these hotels and homestays, and how much knowledge and information the locals were willing to share. It was so rewarding to present to a room filled with hand drawings and fellow students who I didn’t know three weeks before.

This trip positively impacted and shaped my perspective around the indo-pacific as I got to experience things I would never have taken upon myself to see. This trip also changed and challenged my perceptions as north Sumatra was like entering an entirely new world to the country’s tourism capital of Bali however, there were still similarities like the constant scooters and non-existent road rules. While in North Sumatra, we connected with the community and formed a new understanding of tourism. A new understanding of how it can shape a town, a city, and a region but more importantly, how it can shape the locals that live their lives. The jungle we trekked, the waterfalls we swam in, the people we met, the villages we visited, and the grand Lake Toba we stayed beside all convinced me that going off the beaten path when it comes to traveling is so rewarding.

I  enjoyed the connections I made on this trip, not just to the country but to the community and to my fellow students.

Heather Tetley

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Honours)

Global Short Program Student (Faculty-Led)

New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant Recipient

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