A nation made up of 17,508 islands, right along the equator, Indonesia boasts great ecological and cultural diversity. In Indonesia, you can surf the clear waters off Lombok Island or survey Komodo dragons, or explore the architecturally-stunning 9th century Buddhist temple of Borobudur. With a population of about 238 million, there is never a dull moment as you meet and teach incredibly spirited and friendly people.
Indonesian students love hearing about pop culture from other countries, and are eager to improve and practice their language skills. If you want to experience the pulsing traffic of Jakarta, eat fresh seafood on the Balinese shore, or visit orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia welcomes new teachers looking to inspire and be inspired.
Formerly a Dutch colony, Indonesia gained independence in 1945. Afterward, the government replaced a Dutch language study with the English language, establishing it as a compulsory subject, beginning in elementary school. Today, most students study English as their primary second language.
However, overall proficiency is much higher in students attending private schools, considering public schools have little funding for native-speaking English teachers. Additionally, the Ministry of Education manages English programs in public schools, and it recently shifted goals to create a broader curriculum for Bahasa Indonesia. Private and private international schools continue to seek English instructors for K-12, and generally pay their teachers well.
Language Schools/Extra-Curricular Programs:
Other teaching opportunities are at language schools or after-school centers. The EF language school has a large presence in many Indonesian cities. At these types of schools, students range from primary school aged to university level. These take on the model of an after-school or evening program, so if you are not an early riser, then this schedule might be perfect for you!
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
The school year starts mid-July and ends in mid-June. Students receive a break in December and for the Muslim Eid Holiday, which changes each year. However, most programs hire teachers year-round.
Most teaching opportunities are on the largest island of Java, where the cities of Jakarta (the capital), Surabaya, Bandung, and Yogyakarta are located. While many wish to teach in Bali, the job search there is very competitive as the island is globally celebrated for its beautiful beaches and resorts. All of these locations are rapidly modernizing and bear an array of amenities that you could find in any international city.
Indonesia will only issue work visas to nationals of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa (these are classified as English-speaking nations). By law, teachers must have a TEFL or TESOL certificate, or BA or BS. In addition, most programs require a one-year commitment.
Schools or programs will help you to obtain a work visa, known as KITAS (the identity card for foreigners). Programs can arrange a company-sponsorship for visas and any other legal working papers.
Salary & Cost of Living:
The cost of living is quite murah (cheap in Bahasa Indonesia) in comparison to life in the U.S. or Europe. However, while Indonesian food is cheap (around $2/meal), Western food is not. Though, in general, if you avoid some of the international chains or high-end restaurants, and opt for a local eatery instead, you will save a good portion of your funds.
Classroom & Work Culture:
About 86% of Indonesians practice Islam. Thus, it is recommended that teachers wear conservative clothing to work; women should not dress in revealing tank tops, shorts, or miniskirts. Though, hot spots for tourists, such as Bali, tend to be more relaxed about showing skin. A great deal of the younger generation have adopted Western fashions, as Indonesia integrates further into the global economy.