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Spanning the equator for nearly 5,000km, Indonesia encompasses more than 17,000 islands, two-thirds of which are inhabited and richly layered with character. Indonesia’s urban spaces are in a constant state of evolution. They are characterised by the cohabitation of dense populations, new technologies and continuous construction.


Higher education in Indonesia

Higher education in Indonesia is offered through polytechnics, academies for vocational education, universities, institutes and advanced tertiary schools (Sekolah Tinggi). If you wish to study at a higher education institution in Indonesia, you must have completed a high school certificate.

Indonesian undergraduate degrees are four year programs (eight semesters). Each semester is 14 weeks in duration. Foreign elective students are generally able to have pre-requisites waived for enrolment in senior units. Senior-level units are generally better suited to Australian students.

Timing of study sessions

Indonesian universities adhere to a northern hemisphere academic calendar. The Indonesian semester 1 commences in August-September and runs for approximately 14 weeks until December-January. The Indonesian semester 2 commences in January-February and concludes in May-June. The long university break takes place between June and August, with a shorter 1-2 week break in January.

Preparatory language opportunities

There are several institutions in Indonesia that offer preparatory programs and short courses that may be taken with licensed private providersThe Indonesian Australia Language Foundation (IALF) with branches in Jakarta and Bali, for example provide a range of general and specialist language programs.

Studying in English

While the majority of study programs in Indonesian universities are delivered in the national language, Bahasa Indonesia, an increasing number of universities now offer international undergraduate programs (where English is the language of instruction) that opens the door to study in Indonesia for non-Indonesian speakers. In addition to semester academic programs, universities now offer an increasing range of short courses and practicum-based options for foreign students.

Work and internships


The website of the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights provides information about Indonesian regulations and laws, including immigration laws. You can also contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate General for advice.


A number of universities offer internship programs. The university track has the distinct advantage of smoothing out visa issues. Large organisations in Jakarta may also offer independent track internship programs that will be advertised in the human resources section of their websites. Keep in mind that a standard internship period in Indonesia is three months. Most organisations will not consider a shorter period.


Accessing money

The archipelago is covered by a modern banking sector. Only in more remote parts of the country are services limited. Currency exchange can be done in major banks throughout the country and authorised money changers. You need to ensure that you exchange currency at an authorised institution to avoid any fraudulence and counterfeited money bills.

It is a good idea to use a combination of different funds because some are more appropriate for certain situations and reduce the risk of losing all of your money through a single source. These include cash and travellers’ cheques, which are useful in remote locations, and ATM and credit cards, which are useful in urban centres.

Opening an Indonesian bank account is useful if you are staying for a year or more. The process is straight forward and then funds can be transferred from home or with an ATM card. Both the Commonwealth and ANZ banks have branches in large cities.

Scholarships and support

See Money matters for general information about scholarships and financial support for studying overseas.

Applications for the Indonesian Government Damasiswa program open in October with the program commencing the following September. Six and twelve month non-credit awarding programs in the fields of arts and culture are offered. See the darmasiswa kemdiknas website or visit your nearest Indonesian Consulate General or Embassy for information.
The Indonesia Arts and Culture Scholarship program provides an opportunity to study language and traditional arts in five cities and is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See their website or visit your nearest Indonesian Consulate General or Embassy for information.

Visas and insurance

Visas for study in Indonesia

International Office websites will carry details on the type of visa require for particular study programs. Check with your institution regarding visa requirements as most should be able to provide you with appropriate advice. Most institutions have a good understanding of local requirements.

The website of the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights provides more detailed information about Indonesian immigration law.


Healthcare and insurance

It is a good idea to consult a GP or travel health clinic as early as possible to discuss vaccination requirements before leaving for Indonesia. It is also wise to have a general medical and dental health check before your departure.

If you require medication for any existing medical conditions you have when you’re in Indonesia, make sure you take an adequate supply.

Major cities in Indonesia have good health care facilities, although only a few private hospitals are of the same standard as Australian hospitals. It is advisable to have medical insurance with specific coverage for medical repatriation in case of emergency.


Accommodation and transport


Accommodation options include on-campus dormitories, rental properties, and homestays. But the premier choice for Indonesian students is the indekos or kos. University precincts are saturated with kos—dedicated dormitories or converted residential properties that rent rooms for anywhere from one month to one year. They range from basic unfurnished rooms with shared bathrooms, to luxurious hotel-style rooms with flat-screen TVs, internet connections, and laundry services. With assistance from your host university international office, consortia, or third party provider, finding the right kos is simply matter of taking a walk around the university precinct and making inquiries. Location and facilities determine price. Basic rooms can cost as little as $35 a month, while a top-end kos in Jakarta can reach $500 a month. $80-250 is the average range for Australian students in large cities.

Getting around

It may not always leave on time, but you can be guaranteed that there is a public transport option to take you to every corner of the archipelago. Taxis are numerous and very cheap in large cities, or fleets of small city buses ply networks for as little as $0.20 per route. Major centres in Java are connected by rail, buses ply the highways to every conceivable destination, and Indonesia has one of the fastest growing domestic airline industries in the world. An extensive inter-island ferry system connects the outer islands and is a great option for those who are not in a hurry. In comparison to regional Australia, the scope of public transport networks in Indonesia is astounding.