Respect > Comfort
Because my classmates and I were representatives of John Jay College and The United States, we were advised of the appropriate dress and behavior. My professor who led the trip was very connected to the people in Bali as well as Balinese culture. It was her 7th year conducting the study abroad program and her 10th year visiting Bali. She wanted to insure that John Jay was welcomed back so it was imperative that we respected the culture.
In a way, it put a damper on outfit choices. She recommended that we not show too much skin, specifically thigh. The clothing we were accustomed to wearing for our New York summers was highly discouraged. I'm one of those gals who prefer as less clothes as possible for practical reason. In general, I find clothes to be uncomfortable, especially in the heat. But when it comes to assimilating to another's culture, I think respect precedes comfort.
At first, it was a challenge adjusting to the heat with the clothing restrictions in mind, especially for me because I wanted to look cute. Eventually, I found my happy medium when I purchased a few pants from the local women in the market.
The dress I'm wearing is from the mega outlet Krisna Oleh-Oleh Khas Bali which translates to Balinese souvenirs. It was only Rp 27,000 (Indonesian rupiah) which is $2.00. The only reason I didn't buy more because I ran out of room in my suitcase. This place alone was ridiculous, and after weeks of over spending in the market, we learned our purchases were 3X cheaper in Krisna.
Between the color, design, and fit, I couldn't leave Bali without it.