Indonesia is a country of 17,508 islands and home to a population of nearly 250 million people. It’s small, but has strength in numbers and of course, boasts a great deal of cultural diversity, making it a energetic and interesting place to experience. Those looking to teach English will discover opportunities to stay short-term or long-term, with TEFL courses and teaching jobs offered in multiple locations. From the beaches of Bali to the urban sprawl of Jakarta, teacher trainees will find the perfect destination to travel, learn, and most importantly, teach.

Course Types

Teachers are often bombarded with an abundance of choices when it comes to TEFL courses (as well as TESOL, CELTA, etc.). What makes Indonesia a great destination for TEFL students is that there are options, but not too many (so it’s perhaps the Goldilocks of TEFL locations). Most travelers will find quality courses that offer the standard teachings, only with the possibility of learning more.

TEFL + Advanced Certificate:

For teachers looking to specialize in a specific educational field, you can obtain your TEFL and an advanced certificate at the same time. In Indonesia, some providers offer joint programs for those looking to teach young learners or business English. If you are considering a lifelong career in English education, these courses are affordable and very useful.

120-Hour TEFL Courses:

Spanning over 4 to 6 weeks, 120-hour TEFL courses are the most common option for teachers looking to spend time or teach in Indonesia. Courses are taught by accredited professionals and offer hands-on experience for teacher trainees. More often than not, the program fees for the 120-hour course also covers accommodation, making your transition into teaching abroad run smoothly. Lastly, many of these courses have vast alumni and resource networks; while job placement is not guaranteed, you will become part of a worldwide group of TEFL teachers while you search for jobs or advice abroad.

Planning Your Trip

When and Where to Look:

TEFL courses are held year-round, with start dates at the beginning of every month. Additionally, you’ll find that Indonesia’s TEFL courses are located in some of the most beautiful places in the country (and even the world!). For one, many courses are located on the famous island of Bali, known for its unique Hindu culture, pristine beaches, and natural scenery. Another popular location includes Surabaya, the second largest city on the island of Java, where the food is excellent and holds great historical importance as the “city of heroes” during the National Revolution.


ESL teachers in Indonesia are required to be citizens of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or South Africa by law. In addition to being a citizen, teachers must hold a TEFL certificate or a bachelor’s degree. Though, educators with all three will be highly considered.

Post-TEFL Resources:

While the majority of TEFL courses do not provide job placement services, staff members will be happy to put you in touch with alumni in the ESL field. There are primarily two options for teachers looking to work in Indonesia: private schools and language academies. Today, most Indonesian students have a solid grasp of English, with instruction beginning in elementary school. However, native-speaking teachers are needed in the ESL classroom and private schools will actively recruit TEFL teacher trainees.

English language schools are very common today in Indonesia; many younger learners will attend these schools in the afternoons or on the weekends in an effort to improve their proficiency. These schools are great for beginner teachers looking to experience what it’s like in an ESL classroom. In addition, these schools offer flexible schedules (most courses do not begin until the late afternoon to early evening on weekdays).

Cost of Living:

The cost of living in Indonesia is relatively low, with meals averaging around $2 USD (or less). While some programs will offer housing during the length of the course, it is not uncommon for schools (private and language) to house their teachers. Note that sometimes these arrangements call for shared housing or subsidized costs. In general, teachers in Indonesia can live comfortably on a salary of around $1,500 to $1,700 USD per month, and also save a large chunk of those earnings.

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