AFTER spending her schoolies in Bali last year, a popular destination for Australian school-leavers, Tegan Clarke was keen to kick the bad stereotypes about the place she fell in love with.
The Monto State High School graduate spent 10 days holidaying in the country with her friends in December last year, and was overwhelmed by just how wrong Australians' perception of the place was.
She was inspired to shed some light on the issue.
I cannot fathom why this country has such a bad reputation in Australia, as it would seem that Australians actually cause many of the problems in Bali.
Every single night there were intoxicated, underage Australians zooming around irresponsibly on scooters, generally causing havoc.
According to the BALI FOR SCHOOLIES Facebook page many couldn't "... wait to get BOOZED!" and apparently "Bali (was not) gunna know what's hit it".
When Nine News brought out a report labelled "Bali Schoolies shows its seedy side", it was cause for laughter among my friends and myself, who were aware of the situations alcohol-driven Australian schoolies get themselves into in Bali.
The negative things that happen in Bali occur in every single country that embraces tourism, though for some reason Bali is relentlessly targeted.
The insistent story in the news, regarding the Australian boy who willingly bought illicit drugs in Bali and the Boycott Bali slogans that subsequently followed, are just two examples of the extreme over-reactions which the Australian public continuously vocalise.
Everything about Australia is so different - so money and power hungry; so unfriendly; so inconsiderate; so unhelpful.
Every single Balinese person I encountered was extremely respectful and ultimately there to help you.
These wonderful people only strive for what they need and always have a smile on their face.
Transport is offered everywhere you go and honesty is a given from any Balinese person.
Exuberant high fives and waves on the streets are Bali protocol, which would definitely be questioned and ignored in Australia.
The people of Bali made my schoolies trip unique and amazing, and they are what I will remember for years to come.
I won't remember in detail the clubbing or the many different types of cocktails available, just the lovely people and how they actually cared and had the infectious ability to make you smile.
In the end, what I'm trying to say is, Bali as a country is not the problem; the irresponsible tourists in Bali are the problem.
Until Australia wakes up and realises this, Bali will continue to cop more than its fair share of flack from ill-informed sources, who have never even experienced this beautiful place.
Tegan hopes to study photo journalism at the Griffith University in Brisbane this year.
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