Indonesia: Spicy poeple, bland education Past Review

By (N/A, Sarah Lawrence College) for

SIT Study Abroad: Indonesia - Arts, Religion, and Social Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
In a country rapidly westernizing, I learned that people with less concern for objects have happier lifestyles.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The language classes provided me with a satisfactory level of instruction, and the language professors thoroughly enjoyed teaching their students. The quality of the cultural themed classes (Arts, Religion, and Social Change) was inconstant. A handful were intellectually stimulating, but most could not compare to the quality of education had at my University stateside. Few classes provided by the Jogjakarta university, UGM, stood out. Those that did were satisfying. Most of the lectures provided by this university were underwhelming, often bordering on utterly dreadful. UGM does not allow SIT any control over these classes, and it shows. In my short experience, education to an Indonesian student is analogous with an unenthusiastic lecturer pointing to bullet points on a power point.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My Faculty Leader was a superwoman. Making and keeping a date with an Indonesian, including lecturers, is difficult and not guaranteed. On many occasions, a Lecturer flaked days before a lecture, yet somehow our faculty leader was able to schedule a lecture every single per-determined time-slot. The accessibility of the internet and internet based research archives is non-existent. This made research projects less satisfying, as students were forced to rely on the school's library, but easier, as the library was small. My biggest complaint regarding "getting things done" and support services were the academic advisers for our Independent Study Projects. The school does not have an established way to connect the students with advisers that care to help them. My adviser stopped correspondence with me midway though the project, and he did not get back to me until after I sent an email to his mother expressing concern for his well being. The program size was near 25 students and this kept everyone close. Sometimes I felt suffocated by the small class dynamics, but we all got along.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

If you are scared or not confident around dogs, consider avoiding this program.

* Food:

Indonesian food sanitation is scary to a westerner, but it wont make you sick. Avoid mall food. Your diet at home consists mostly of rice, but you will learn to love it. School serves you the best meals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed jakarta

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city is very safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

From my experience, about 1/4 of the people I met spoke English. If you want to learn the language, it is important to constantly review vocabulary. Everyone on the program is sufficiently coerced into practicing Indonesian enough so as to achieve confidence using the language somewhat casually. The more you practice. The easier it becomes.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Indonesians
* What could be improved?
  • Lectures
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is great for anybody interested in learning Indonesian language or who has particular interests within Indonesia.