With over 17,000 islands, 300 languages spoken and a population of 240 million, Indonesia is one of the most diverse destinations on the planet. The 300 ethnic groups that exist harmoniously create a potpourri of cultures and fascinating people. Indonesia's multiracial and multireligious culture offers festivals steeped in tradition, including dances, wayang theater and other performing arts. The rising popularity of Indonesia makes this a hot destination for a semester or year abroad.

Languages Spoken:

Indonesian

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION OVERVIEW 

The education system in Indonesia is organized in two different paths: formal and informal (or out-of-school) education. Formal education is organized in schools through teaching and learning activities that are gradual, hierarchical and continuous. Informal education is organized outside the formal schooling through teaching and learning activities that may or may not be hierarchical and continuous. Education within the family constitutes an important part of the out-of-school education and provides religious, cultural and moral values, and the family’s skills.  

Higher education in Indonesia is offered by both private and public institutions, which are all supervised by the Ministry of National Education. The types of higher education institutions include universities, institutes, academics and polytechnics.  

In order to apply to higher education institutions, a student must complete 12 years of primary and secondary school (the latter may be completed at a technical institution) and receive a secondary school-leaving certificate. Admission depends upon grades and qualifying exams.  

It takes four years (146 credits) to obtain a bachelor degree (Sarjana), two years for master degrees and minimum three years for doctoral programs. 

The academic calendar is divided into two semesters — odd semester (semester 1) runs from September to February, and even semester (semester 2) runs from February to July. Some universities have compact semester (summer) from July to August. 

 

STUDYING IN INDONESIA 

Courses 

A variety of courses will be available to you, depending on your institution and program of study, and may include topics in economics, international business, the arts, Indonesian culture and international relations. The language of instruction is English, though you may have the opportunity to enroll in Indonesian language courses as well.  

Registration 

Course enrollment processes vary, be sure to check with your host institution to see if there is anything you need to prepare ahead of time. You may select classes online ahead of time, or not enroll until a registration period after arrival on campus.  

Course Load 

To be considered a full-time student at BINUS, you must enroll in a minimum of 12 SCU (system credit unit) and a maximum of 25 SCU. The credits at Udayana University are granted directly as ECTS credits.  In both cases, you will be enrolled in four to six classes per term, spending between 12 and 18 hours in class per week. A semester runs approximately 13 weeks long, with an additional two weeks for midterms and two weeks for final exams.  

Exams & Grading 

The teaching style in Indonesian universities is teacher-centric. Courses will mostly be lecture-style. The student’s progress is assessed through assignments, mid-terms, and final exams. 

BINUS University uses an evaluation system of scores ranging from 100 to 0 with corresponding letter grades of A through F. A score of 91-100 corresponds with an A (excellent), while a score of 50 or lower corresponds with an E (fail). A score of zero, or non-attendance, equates to an F. Course credits are referred to as Semester Credit Units (SCUs). One SCU is a minimum construct of 50 minutes lecture contact, and a minimum requirement of 50 minutes of self-study. 

Transcripts 

Your host institution will send all transcripts to the ISEP Global Office in Arlington, VA. Keep in mind that this could take up to four months to process and send, and you should check with your host coordinator to make sure they have everything they need to send your transcript to ISEP. If there are no outstanding issues or dues, ISEP will forward the transcript to your home university. 

Visa and Residency

Visa regulations can change at any time and without notice. Students should always consult their local Consulate or Embassy to verify the most up to date visa information. All students are required to obtain a visa to enter Indonesia. Visa requirements can vary depending on the country your passport is issued in. 

Type of visa: Limited Stay Visa

Visa fee: $50 - $110 USD and $57 Telex Fee

When to apply: Immediately upon receiving the official acceptance letter

 

View the application here

Indonesia embassy in the United States consular services

 

Application Requirements:

1. Semester students: a passport valid for at least 12 months after the semester has ended
Full year students: a passport valid for at lesat 18 months after the semester has ended

2. Two recent color photographs (passport size) with white background on picture-quality paper. Note: Do not staple or affixed the photographs on the form.

3. Complete the online application.

4. Letter of invitation from family, social organization, school/university or cultural residence in Indonesia, which describes the purpose of the visit and guaranteeing all transportation and living expenses that will incur during stay.

5. Copy of the K.T.P (Indonesian ID Card) of the principal/person who signed the letter of Invitation if the person is an Indonesian citizen.

6. Copy of KIMS/KITAS (Indonesian Immigration's temporary stay permit) of the principal/person who is a non-Indonesian citizen that sponsoring your visit, or Identification card for foreigner. Foreign citizen in Indonesia who does not have KIMS/KITAS nor Identification Card for Foreign National could not sponsor a family visit.

7. Copy of inbound and outbound travel itinerary or a letter from travel agents, airline, steamship company, confirming the purchase of tickets.

8. Applicants under 18 years of age should attach a notarized copy of birth certificate. In addition, a notarized letter of consent signed by non-traveling legal guardian must be attached if the applicant under 18 years of age travels without the legal guardian.

9. For Non-US citizen: Please provide a copy of US Permanent Residence/Visa/Valid I-20 from schools/universities.

10. Inoculation is recommended but not mandatory, and is required only if applicant had previously traveled to areas/ countries infected by yellow fever.

11. Payment in money order, company’s check or cashier’s check. Click here for the list of consular transaction's fee

 

General Processing Time: 2-3 months

 

Culture

LANGUAGE AND RELIGION

Indonesia is a land of rich cultural diversity, with many peoples, customs, foods, artworks, etc. Indonesia consists of at least 300 ethnic groups, the majority being Javanese, spread throughout the 6,000 inhabited islands. Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of the country, with English, Dutch and local dialects widely spoken. An overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim, with Christian religions and Hinduism represented, as well. Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and European colonialist influences can be felt throughout the country. Due to the extreme diversity throughout Indonesia, most people define themselves locally before nationally.

RAMADAN

During Ramadan, it is important to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public. Some restaurants will have different operating hours. Restaurants that specifically cater to tourists should be open as usual, but will use screens to keep tourists sectioned off from Muslim guests. Business hours may become shorter during the day, as well.

COMMUNICATION STYLE

Greetings among people are usually formal as a sign of respect. A handshake is the most common greeting accompanied by the word "Selamat." Many Indonesians also bow slightly or place their hands on their heart after shaking your hand.

Titles are also important in Indonesia as they signify status. Generally, Indonesians only have one name, however now it is more common for people to have a first name and last name.

Indonesians communicate indirectly and generally avoid confrontation. For example, direct eye contact with your superior can sometimes be considered rude. In efforts to maintain peace and harmony within society, people in the country are expected to understand the unspoken needs of those around them. In particular, one very important aspect of Indonesian cultural is to maintain dignity and self-respect. Indonesians are not accustomed to showing outright emotion. In Indonesia it may be especially difficult to bring bad news to another and, if possible, it will be avoided. Public display of affection is also looked down upon in Indonesia. Sometimes Indonesians may smile to show they are confused or nervous.

FAMILY AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE

The people of Indonesia are deeply rooted in the group, whether the family, village or island. As stated previously, they identify locally first, by ethnic group family or place of birth. The family is a very traditional structure to this day, and family members have clearly defined roles and a great sense of interdependence. Families are hierarchical; respect is shown to the elders or superiors, who are often called "bapak" and "ibu" which mean father or sir and mother or madam, respectively.

FOOD

Indonesian cuisine is quite diverse given that the country occupies over 6,000 islands. Rice is a national staple and corn is also very commonly used in eastern Indonesia. Indonesian food is usually hot and spicy; red chili paste and spicy peanut sauce are commonly used condiments. Soy and tempe are found in many dishes, which makes Indonesian food very vegetarian-friendly. A wide range of fruit can be found throughout the country, including durian, star fruit, mango and papaya.

Some traditional dishes include sate (meat roasted on a skewer), krupuk (friend shrimp or fish-flavored chips), gado gado (cold vegetable salad) and nasi goring (fried rice).

LGBTQAI+

It is recommended that LGBTQAI+ students conduct personal research on their host country before departing for their program. The articles BELOW may be a good starting point on such research. However, students should keep in mind that social attitudes and acceptance may vary based on a number of factors including region, age, and the local political climate. If you would like to be connected with your host coordinator or an alumni who identifies as LGBTQAI+ before your departure, please contact your Program Manager.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/02/14/criminalizing-indonesias-lgbt-people-wont-protect-them

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/09/indonesia-dodges-bullet-moral-panic-about-sexuality-persists

 

 

Daily Life

LANGUAGE AND RELIGION

Indonesia is a land of rich cultural diversity, with many peoples, customs, foods, artworks, etc. Indonesia consists of at least 300 ethnic groups, the majority being Javanese, spread throughout the 6,000 inhabited islands. Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of the country, with English, Dutch and local dialects widely spoken. An overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim, with Christian religions and Hinduism represented, as well. Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and European colonialist influences can be felt throughout the country. Due to the extreme diversity throughout Indonesia, most people define themselves locally before nationally.

RAMADAN

During Ramadan, it is important to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public. Some restaurants will have different operating hours. Restaurants that specifically cater to tourists should be open as usual, but will use screens to keep tourists sectioned off from Muslim guests. Business hours may become shorter during the day, as well.

COMMUNICATION STYLE

Greetings among people are usually formal as a sign of respect. A handshake is the most common greeting accompanied by the word "Selamat." Many Indonesians also bow slightly or place their hands on their heart after shaking your hand.

Titles are also important in Indonesia as they signify status. Generally, Indonesians only have one name, however now it is more common for people to have a first name and last name.

Indonesians communicate indirectly and generally avoid confrontation. For example, direct eye contact with your superior can sometimes be considered rude. In efforts to maintain peace and harmony within society, people in the country are expected to understand the unspoken needs of those around them. In particular, one very important aspect of Indonesian cultural is to maintain dignity and self-respect. Indonesians are not accustomed to showing outright emotion. In Indonesia it may be especially difficult to bring bad news to another and, if possible, it will be avoided. Public display of affection is also looked down upon in Indonesia. Sometimes Indonesians may smile to show they are confused or nervous.

FAMILY AND SOCIAL STRUCTURE

The people of Indonesia are deeply rooted in the group, whether the family, village or island. As stated previously, they identify locally first, by ethnic group family or place of birth. The family is a very traditional structure to this day, and family members have clearly defined roles and a great sense of interdependence. Families are hierarchical; respect is shown to the elders or superiors, who are often called "bapak" and "ibu" which mean father or sir and mother or madam, respectively.

FOOD

Indonesian cuisine is quite diverse given that the country occupies over 6,000 islands. Rice is a national staple and corn is also very commonly used in eastern Indonesia. Indonesian food is usually hot and spicy; red chili paste and spicy peanut sauce are commonly used condiments. Soy and tempe are found in many dishes, which makes Indonesian food very vegetarian-friendly. A wide range of fruit can be found throughout the country, including durian, star fruit, mango and papaya.

Some traditional dishes include sate (meat roasted on a skewer), krupuk (friend shrimp or fish-flavored chips), gado gado (cold vegetable salad) and nasi goring (fried rice).

LGBTQAI+

It is recommended that LGBTQAI+ students conduct personal research on their host country before departing for their program. The articles BELOW may be a good starting point on such research. However, students should keep in mind that social attitudes and acceptance may vary based on a number of factors including region, age, and the local political climate. If you would like to be connected with your host coordinator or an alumni who identifies as LGBTQAI+ before your departure, please contact your Program Manager.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/02/14/criminalizing-indonesias-lgbt-people-wont-protect-them

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/09/indonesia-dodges-bullet-moral-panic-about-sexuality-persists

Health and Safety

Your health and safety is our number one priority. Please read and reference our Guides and Tips section for general information regarding health and safety abroad. 

Detailed information about Indonesia can be found here. Please pay special attention to the Safety and Security, Local Laws and Special Circumstances and Health sections. 

Note: Information sourced on this page is provided by the U.S. Department of State. Non-U.S. nationals should disregard the Embassies and Consulates and Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements sections.

If you are planning to bring your prescription or over-the-counter medicine on your trip, you need to make sure your medicine is travel-ready.   

Currency

CURRENCY AND CONVERSION

The official currency of Indonesia is the rupiah (Rp). Indonesian banknotes are distributed in denominations of 1,000 rupiah up to 100,000 rupiah. The value of rupiah is generally low compared to other currencies around the globe, and even the largest banknote (100,000 rupiah) is only worth about USD $10 at any given time. See Xe.com for the current exchange rate.

Foreign currency can be exchanged at the bank and money changers in Indonesia. It is recommended to exchange the currency with a money changer rather than at a bank. A money changer can sometimes offer better rates than banks. Money changers are found in areas where foreigners and tourists congregate: in airports, malls, hotels, near tourist attractions, as well as in major business districts. Please note that Indonesian banks and money changers only take foreign currency bills in perfectly good condition. A small (even miniscule) fold, ink mark, rip, wrinkle or imperfection of any kind will cause a significant difference in the exchange rate.

BANKS, CREDIT CARDS AND ATMs

There are numerous foreign and local banks throughout Jakarta. Many offer both Rupiah and foreign currency savings and checking accounts, as well as credit and debit card accounts and foreign exchange services. Safe deposit boxes are also available at some banks. In order to open an Indonesian bank account, foreigners are required to show KITAS (limited-stay permit visa-card). Since the majority of ISEP students will stay for only one or two semesters, opening an Indonesian account is not necessarily required.

Be careful when using credit cards, as cloning and fraud are a major problem in Indonesia. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, but American Express can be problematic. At smaller operations, surcharges of 2-5% over cash are common.

ATMs are located in shopping malls, bank branches and most tourist locations. When using an ATM, choose well-lit, secure machines, and be careful when withdrawing large amounts of money.

TIPPING

Tipping is not as widely practiced in Indonesia as in other countries. Situations in which tipping will be expected include salon service, taxi transport and restaurants. When a gratuity charge is already added to your bill, no additional tip is necessary, although it is appreciated. It is best to hand your tip directly to the person who assisted you, as it is likely that someone else could pick it up if left on a table.

COST OF LIVING

Living in Indonesia can be very inexpensive. For example, Rp 10,000 (less than USD $1) will get you a meal on the street, three kilometers in a taxi or three bottles of water. Fancy restaurants, hotels and the like will often slap on a 10% service charge plus 6-11% tax. This may be denoted with "++" after the price or just written in tiny print on the bottom of the menu. The estimated personal expenses (to include daily necessities, books, leisure activities, etc) is USD $200-400 per month depending on personal habits.

DISCOUNTS

Look into purchasing an International Student ID Card (ISIC) card from STA travel. It costs just $25 and can often get you discounts on travel, movie tickets and more. You should also research whether a monthly public transportation pass is available for purchase, and whether this is more cost advantageous than individual fares, which can add up quickly.

{{articleTitle}}

More Topics in Visa and Residency