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Study in Indonesia

Indonesia is a wonderful and comparatively less explored country. The country is made up of thousands of islands and is the largest economy in Southeast Asia. It is home to hundreds of ethnic groups, cultures and languages. This makes it the perfect destination for international students wanting a study experience like no other.

Why Study In Indonesia?

Indonesia is an excellent choice for an international student. You will be getting a high quality education for a reasonable price. Filled with great food, wonderful sights and friendly people, the country has it all.

You will find public and private institutions of higher education across Indonesia. Both types of institutions are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Since the country became independent in 1945, education has experienced dramatic growth. Universities in Indonesia employ the traditional three-tiered degree system – bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral, as well as awarding Associate degrees. There are three of Indonesia’s universities in the QS World University Ranking top 500. These are Universitas Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and Gadjah Mada University.

There are around 6,000 international students enrolled at Indonesian universities. Many programmes are taught in English or other languages for those who do not speak the Indonesian language. However, studying in Indonesia is a fantastic chance to pick up another language, a skill that looks great on your CV/resume!

About Indonesia

Indonesia is a collection of 17,000 islands located in Southeast Asia straddling the equator. Only around 6,000 of these islands are known to be inhabited. The terrain varies across the country, from gorgeous beaches to impressive mountains. The country is rich in natural resources, including petroleum and natural gas. The country is known for its volcanoes, with some of the highest volcanic activity in the world. Home to nearly 250 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and has the world’s largest Muslim population within Muslim-majority countries.

The country has a tropical climate, meaning that the temperatures remain consistent throughout the year. The climate tends to be warm, with averages of between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius depending on your location. This is due to the country’s proximity to the equator. The driest time is from June to October and monsoon season occurs in January and February.

The culture throughout the country is influenced by both religions and traditions. Music and dance have a distinctive style, and performances are often inspired by traditional culture or mythological events. The cuisine is generally spicy, and reflects the mixing pot of cultures. Common dish ingredients are rice, fish, soy and plenty of fruit.StudyLink recommends

Cost of Studying and Living in Indonesia

Indonesia uses the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) as its currency.

Tuition fees in Indonesia will vary depending on the institution and level of study. International students should on average expect  to pay between £2,300/$3,000 and £4,600/$6,100 per year. If you choose to study a medical degree, you can expect your tuition fees to be higher than this. Check with your chosen institution for the costs of your specific course.

Living costs in Indonesia will depend on the location of your studies. For example, if you choose to study in a big city such as Jakarta, you will likely have higher living costs than in the smaller cities. On average, annual living costs are around £6,500/$8,600 for students.

Another cost that international students should consider is health insurance. You should purchase health insurance before starting your studies. If you already have health insurance, you should ensure that your current policy is valid for your stay in Indonesia.


If you are going to study in Indonesia, you will need to apply for a student visa (KITAS). This can be done at the Indonesian embassy in your home country. You should first apply for a social visit visa, and apply for a student visa when you arrive in the country. The student visa is valid for one year, and can be renewed each year up to four times. To apply for the social visit visa, you will need to provide a copy of your passport, a copy of your most recent transcript and diploma/qualification, colour passport photos, proof of financial means, proof of good health and health insurance and acceptance and sponsor letters from your chosen institution. If you  require more information about this, contact your university.


The official language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesian. Across the islands however, there are over 700 recognised languages.

Whilst English is spoken in the bigger cities, and is used as a teaching language at institutions, you will not find an advanced level of English outside of these major cities. Before you move to Indonesia, it is worth learning some basic phrases so that you can get around in your first few weeks. When you have spent some time in the country, you will find that you have picked up more of the language than you expected to, make sure to utilise that skill and communicate with the locals and other international students.

Whether you choose to study a course in English, Indonesian or any other offered languages, you will probably have to prove your language proficiency. It is common for institutions to offer language courses for international students who do not meet the language requirements. For more information about the required standards of your course and details of language courses, contact your institution.

Social Life and Student Culture in Indonesia

A common practice in Indonesia is for the host university to provide a pendamping or ‘buddy’ for an international student. These guys are an amazing resource for discovering the best and cheapest eateries, the coolest coffee shops and for proof-reading assignments!

As a local student you can sometimes use your ID card to gain entry to attractions for a discount price!

There isn’t much of a drinking culture in Indonesia, especially in the Muslim areas. But Jakarta and Kuta (Bali) are known for their outrageous club scenes and no matter where you are you can always find somewhere to relax with a beer.

Student Visas

To study in Indonesia you will need a sosial/budaya (social/cultural) visa. These can be obtained by most nationalities if you have a sponsor (usually your university or educational institution). Sosial/budaya visas are generally valid for three months and are extendable. They must be obtained from an Indonesian embassy or consulate before you travel. It’s always worth checking the current visa regulations because they can change without notice.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and its economy is one of the fastest growing. If you’re looking for a leg up in the international business world, the challenge of living a new way of life or respite from a cold climate then spend a semester in Indonesia!


Your best bet for securing a scholarship to study in Indonesia is to look within your home country. Many governments around the world are encouraging students to learn Asian languages and will gladly contribute funds to your Indo-Odyssey (this is particularly true in Australia). Here are some places to start your search:


In all honesty, there are way more than five. But if you’re interested in something different or looking to get ahead in the Asian century, Indonesian is one of your best options. We’ve put together the five main reasons we think Indonesian is a great language to learn.

It’s really not that hard!

For a beginner trying to learn a new language, it doesn’t get much more accessible than Indonesian. Bahasa Indonesia has an uncomplicated system of grammar and vocabulary and, as a result, it is not unusual for students to reach a basic conversation level within 1-2 months of intensive study. Most importantly for those interested in learning an Asian language, unlike Chinese or Japanese, Indonesian has no tones and uses the Roman alphabet.

Don’t just take our word for it – research suggests Indonesian is one of the world’s most accessible languages. The Foreign Service Institute in the US concluded that it takes around 30-36 weeks of full time study (the equivalent 750-900 class hours) to achieve a fluent standard of speaking and reading in Indonesian. To reach the same level in Japanese or Mandarin required around 88 weeks, or 2200 class hours. Nevertheless, while it is relatively easy to gain a basic level of proficiency, it is important to remember that, like any foreign language, getting to grips with Indonesian requires time, perseverance and hard work.

It’s fun

Learning Indonesian opens up a vast archipelago of some of the friendliest, fun-loving, and most hospitable people you will ever meet. Incorporating some travel into the ‘learning process’ will allow you to explore Indonesia’s many different regions, people and cultures.

With only a basic level of Indonesian, you can easily take yourself off the beaten track and find yourself motor biking across Java’s mountains and volcanoes, chilling in Bali’s rice paddies and beaches, partying in Jakarta or Yogyakarta, getting cultural in Sulawesi and Kalimantan, diving some of the most beautiful spots in the world at Raja Ampat and the Banda islands, or exploring the local wildlife with the komodo dragons in Lombok and the orangutans in Sumatra.

Given its proximity, low cost of living, and incredibly hospitable people, a little background in Indonesian opens up a traveller’s paradise.

It might just make you a better person

Well, not necessarily, but learning Indonesian will give you a means to access and understand a unique culture that is an eclectic mix of Eastern, Western and Islamic influences. The experience will challenge you to think outside of your comfort zone and engage with unfamiliar values and practices. It will also allow you to learn more about yourself and your own culture by forcing you to reflect on your cultural pre-conceptions – for example, on time, on religion, and on politics – and how they differ to those in Indonesia.

In an increasingly connected world, it will become more and more necessary to engage with those of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Learning Indonesian is one of the best ways to equip yourself with the cross-cultural literacy to thrive in this Asian Century.

It will help you get a job

The Indonesian economy is big and it’s growing rapidly. Not long ago, Indonesia’s economy overtook Australia’s in terms of gross domestic product; by the end of this decade, it’s expected that the Indonesian economy will become the world’s 10th biggest. While the majority of eyes are turning to China, Indonesia is slowly becoming a regional economic powerhouse. This means jobs – lots of them.

Those students who speak Indonesian – especially when combined with other academic studies such as in law, business, engineering, health, and the humanities – will have a competitive advantage in accessing these opportunities. As you can see in our careers champion profiles, being ‘Indonesia-savvy’ can open doors to a wide range of employment opportunities in government, education, business, hospitality, translating and interpreting, law, engineering and journalism.

Indonesia is important

Indonesia is Australia’s largest and nearest neighbour in the Asian region. It is a maturing democracy, a major trading partner, and a key member of ASEAN. For Australia, Indonesia truly matters. All too often, however, the relationship is described in abstract terms as a series of ‘ties’ – commercial ties, security ties, educational ties. What is lost is these descriptions is the fact that it is the relationships of everyday people – ordinary Australians and ordinary Indonesians – that forms the foundation of all these links.

By learning Indonesian, grappling with a fascinating and foreign culture, and most importantly, making new friendships, you are doing your bit for the relationship and helping transform the bilateral relationship from one of neighbours to one of friends.












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