top of page

About Indonesia


Background Information

  • Official language: Bahasa Indonesia

  • Five official religions: Islam (86.7%), Catholicism/Protestantism (11%), Hinduism, Buddhism

  • Capital city: Jakarta in Java

  • Five main islands: Java, Sulawesi, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sumatra, and Papua

  • Incredibly diverse: 700 languages and 1,300 ethnic groups

  • Population of 270,200,000 - 4th largest in the world

  • There are 3 official timezones: Western Indonesian Time (WIB), Central Indonesian Time (WITA), Eastern Indonesian Time (WIT). Most volunteers will have students from WIB (GMT+7) or WITA (GMT+8)

Tips with Students & ESL Learners

  • Because of the Muslim majority, many Indonesians wake up before 4 AM for the morning prayer. Depending on their schedule and preferences, 4 AM WIB to whenever school starts (usually 7-9 AM) may be a good time to have a meeting (2 PM PDT).

  • Good times to meet are 2 PM-1 AM PDT and 6-10 AM PDT.

  • Some students will write time in military format. Example: 2pm = 14.00; 7am = 7.00

  • Most common communication app is WhatsApp. We highly recommend you to download it and ask for your student's account.

  • Dates in Indonesia are usually written DD/MM/YY, so make sure you are both clear with the month and date.

  • Americans tend to seem "overly friendly" to other countries, so don't worry too much if your buddy doesn't seem as excited as you are!

  • Politeness and courtesy is a big deal in Indonesian culture, so don't be surprised if your student tends to apologize a lot or tiptoe around sensitive subjects. Respect towards parents and the elderly is also very important, so be cautious in how you address family members in general.

  • Junior high school (7th-9th grade) = SMP

    • SMP 1 = 7th grade

    • SMP 2 = 8th grade

    • SMP 3 = 9th grade

  • Senior high school (10th-12th grade) = SMA/SMK

    • SMA 1 = 10th grade

    • SMA 2 = 11th grade

    • SMA 3 = 12th grade

bottom of page