Teaching English in Indonesia

Teaching English in Indonesia

Indonesia Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan$1000 – $2500

Indonesia is one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world, consisting of a spectacular archipelago studded with active volcanoes. There are many language center franchises including English First in most of the congested cities of western Indonesia. National Plus schools pay more and offer good holidays although you generally need previous teaching experience in Indonesia.

Flag of Indonesia - Wikipedia

Typical Requirements

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?
Yes (preferably in English or Education)YesNo

For inexperienced English teachers, a job at English First makes for a decent first year of teaching in Indonesia.

When searching for accommodation, look for β€˜kost’ or β€˜kos-kosan’ which are inexpensive boarding houses that can be paid for on a month-by-month basis.

In Java, it may be a good idea to choose a city or town served by Kereta Api, the national railway service. This way you can enjoy frequent and inexpensive trips away at weekends.

Your employer should sponsor you and pay for a KITAS (temporary stay permit) to be issued for you. This will probably entail arriving on a tourist visa and then flying out to Singapore for the day whilst it is processed.

Once a resident, you need to report to your local RT or RW (neighborhood security man). As an utterly antiquated and confusing system to the inexperienced, it may be a good idea to ask your employer to send someone who speaks fluent Indonesian to join you when you fill in the forms.

In 2011 it was announced that language centers were only allowed to employ teachers who have a degree in English, Education, or Linguistics. However, the reality is that many employers ignore this totally unnecessary new rule.

If you wish to leave Indonesia for a short holiday you will have to pay for an exit permit in advance. These can be either for one trip or several trips – the latter costs rather more.

In Jakarta, you can rent a room for around 200 US dollars per month or an apartment or house from 3,000 US dollars per year (payable in advance). Prices drop significantly outside the capital although there are very few apartments to be found.

Local food is incredibly inexpensive so if you enjoy chicken, rice and tropical fruits then you can eat very cheaply. Western imports can be expensive and most ex-pats shudder at the price of a bottom-of-the-range bottle of wine.

Pros of Teaching in Indonesia

  • Very friendly and welcoming people – your students are very likely to be pleasant, calm and eager to learn
  • Slow, relaxed pace of life (and work).
  • Once you get out of the cities, Indonesia is a genuine tropical paradise of stunning beaches, jungles, and volcanoes

Cons of Teaching in Indonesia

  • May be increasingly difficult without an English or Linguistics degree
  • High levels of nonsensical bureaucracy and ingrained corruption
  • Navigating the congested cities of Java can be rather difficult at first and holidaying abroad is a costly business unless your employer pays for an exit/re-entry permit for you