By Srianthi Perera
Dan Fellner will spend February and March in Bali, Indonesia, which, he says, is a good chunk of time to immerse in a foreign culture.
Fellner, a faculty associate in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus, is the recipient of a Fulbright Specialist grant to the Southeast Asian country.
The Fulbright is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The six-week grant allows him to teach seminars in intercultural communications and travel writing at Ngurah Rai University in Denpasar, Bali. During this stint, Fellner will also present public lectures on the United States at other universities in the island.
“I have heard from several colleagues that Indonesian students are extremely hard-working, welcoming and eager to learn,” he said. “And I’m really looking forward to meeting and sharing ideas with the faculty at NRU.”
This is Fellner’s sixth Fulbright fellowship; previously he has received grants to Latvia, Moldova and Bulgaria, among others.
The avid traveler has been to more than 115 countries, including many in the region such as Japan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and India. But this is his first to Indonesia.
“It’s been on my bucket list for a long time,” he said. “As I’ve gained more experience as a traveler, I’ve learned to appreciate longer visits—more than just a few days—because they really give you a chance to learn about the local culture rather than just having a superficial experience seeing the main tourist attractions.”
At Ngurah Rai, Fellner will share his views on the importance of international communication today.
“As our world becomes smaller through globalization, the need to communicate with others from different cultures continues to grow,” he said. “This is especially important in a place like Bali, which is so dependent on foreign tourism.”
Fellner stated that one of the project’s goals is to help students learn about the challenges of sustaining the island’s economic development through tourism while preserving Bali’s traditional and fascinating culture.
“And it’s important they feel comfortable interacting with visitors from all over the world, who come to Bali with a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds,” he said.
Fellner, a Chandler resident who used to live in Gilbert, joined ASU as a faculty associate in 1998 and teaches courses in intercultural communications and travel writing. He also is a faculty affiliate with ASU’s Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and teaches courses in Eastern Europe and Asia and travel writing for ASU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
When Fellner isn’t teaching, he works as a freelance travel writer and photographer.
How does one teach travel writing?
“I stress the importance of coming up with a fresh and unique angle about a destination based on a student’s own experience, perspective and individual style, rather than just rehashing something that’s been done numerous times before,” he said. “And travel writers now in this digital age not only have to be proficient at writing, but also taking photos and video to accompany their stories.”