Study in INDONESIA with YES Abroad!

The Republic of Indonesia is comprised of over 17,000 islands, hundreds of ethnic groups, and is the fourth most populated nation in the world. Despite having the largest population of Muslims in the world, there is still a prominent Christian, Buddhist and Hindu culture. After years of Japanese occupation and subsequent occupation by the Netherlands, Indonesia declared independence in 1945. Today, it is populated by a diverse yet harmonious number of ethnic groups, mainly Javanese, Sundanese, Maduranese, and Minangkabau, speaking languages ranging from the official language of Bahasa Indonesia, to English, Javanese, and other local languages. Indonesia has a tropically hot and humid climate that is often more moderate in its highlands.

The capital city, Jakarta, has its own Betawi culture. Betawi is a blend of Chinese, Arab, Portuguese, Dutch, and Indonesian elements, creating a unique and colorful atmosphere. Indonesian cuisine similarly draws from several cultures and varies significantly based on the region. Over time, Indonesia has mixed Indian, Middle Eastern, Chinese, and European elements into its traditionally spicy food, creating a cuisine rich with noodles, vegetables, fish and poultry, with rice as a national staple and spices as a necessity. Indonesians often display their warm sense of generosity through food; it is common for family and friends to drop by unannounced for a meal and bring along food for everyone to share.

Indonesians are similarly generous with their time. Rather than filling calendars with blocks of meetings, activities and errands weeks in advance, Indonesians often are not concerned with the concept of "wasting time." It is an expression of friendship to wait for the arrival of a friend for what could be hours. 

Indonesia's fusion of culture, language, and food serves as the basis for its national unity. This important element of Indonesian identity is expressed in the national motto: "Unity through Diversity."

Learn more about being a YES Abroad student in Indonesia:

Host Family

Students will live with host families in order to experience true immersion in the local culture. Families are selected based on recommendations by members of the local community, and each is carefully screened by AFS staff and volunteers. Families are carefully vetted through a thorough application process and are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. Hosting communities exist through the presence of a strong support network, with a local volunteer, staff member, or "liaison" available to each student.

Your High School

Students will attend public school. The primary language of instruction will be Bahasa Indonesia. School typically runs Monday to Saturday, and uniforms are customary. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a number of extramural and extracurricular activities, such as music, dance, scouting, and Youth Red Cross.

The Political & Security Environment

The United States enjoys good relations with Indonesia. Indonesia is an active member in organizations such as the ASEAN, APEC, the NAM, and the G-20.

For more information, visit the CIA World Factbook.

Health & Safety

With AFS's 59-year presence in Indonesia, we are able to draw on strong local connections for a deep understanding of the intercultural, health, safety, and security issues. Prior to departure and upon arrival, students are given safety briefings by AFS staff. They will also receive security information from the U.S. Embassy’s Security Office, and will be registered for the Embassy’s travel alert system. AFS works closely before arrival and throughout the exchange year to discuss and prepare for students' well-being. YES Abroad students are covered by medical as well as Political and Security Evacuation Insurance. Students will have access to a 24-hour emergency number, and our staff members are thoroughly trained. Each student will be given a cell phone upon arrival and will be given the contact number for their local support representative and his/her national AFS-Indonesia office. In the case of an emergency, a Duty Officer is on-call 24/7 in both Indonesia and the United States. This number is made available to both students and their parents while on program. For further information on Indonesia, visit the U.S. Department of State's website.

Enrichment Activities

Students will have the opportunity to take part in various activities to increase their interaction with local peers in Indonesia. Activities may include field trips, sporting events, cultural excursions, social outings, and community service projects. Examples of previous enrichment activities include: 

  • Meeting with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy;
  • Cultural days with Indonesian YES alumni who studied in the United States;
  • Traditional Indonesian dance and music opportunities;
  • Community service activities, such as volunteering with organizations for children or teaching English.