February 16, 2011

Why More Americans should study abroad in Indonesia ?

Story by : Elliza Miller's Blog (Exchange student from U.S to Indonesia, 2010-2011)
1. The food is amazing!! Food in Bandung is tasty from what you get from street vendors to food in the Malls. Even McDonald's and KFC tastes better than the ones in the US. Fancy bakeries are also popular here, not to mention they are quite cheap. High-end steaks cost about $5 USD for local Indonesian beef and $8 USD for fancy imported Australian Beef.

2. There is so much to do. In Bandung there is a festival almost every weekend so you can't be bored. Plus, its ok that you can't drive because public transit its easy to find from taxi to Ojek to public transit buses.

3. No winter. Always a plus haha.

4. School has a much more relaxed feel than many other places in the world. My school even has a beautiful garden!

5. Its primarily Islamic. Americans would really benefit from learning about Islam since we are currently at war with Islamic extremists and its quite possible we will end up at war with Iran (also Muslim). Its important to realize not all Muslims are like the Taliban or the government in Iran, and Islam in Indonesia is about as far away from that as possible.

6. FREEDOOMM! You will find a greater degree of Freedom to go and do what in Indonesia than in similar countries like India. Indonesian parents aren't usually too overprotective so I've ended up having a lot of fun doing things with my friends, even only a month into my stay.

7. Easy language. The precursor to Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, was a trading language so it has very simple grammar. Indonesia was also a Dutch colony, which means they use our alphabet and even have quite a few English cognates. So you really only have to worry about is learning vocabulary and dealing with local-language-words and slang that pop up in conversation but not in your dictionary.

8. Its American Friendly! Indonesians greatly respect Americans, more so than Europeans. They are thrilled that Barack Obama lived in Indonesia and most Indonesians either dream of visiting the US, have already visited US or are planning on visiting the US. Its one of the most popular countries to go to on student exchange, partly because the US government gives scholarships to come. Native English speakers (especially Americans) are rare as well, so lots of people will love for you to give them English lessons.

9. Similar standards of fun. Indonesians and Americans like to have fun in the same ways. They go to the mall, play in arcades, go swimming, and (I've heard but haven't actually experienced since I live inland) like to surf. They may like to sing karaoke, which isn't too American, but they do it in a more American way—in a private room, which means no public humiliation. The only big difference is Americans like to stay out later. This hasn't really been much of a problem for me though.

10. Similar standards of modesty. Although Indonesians prefer pants over shorts, sleeves over sleeveless, one-pieces over bikinis, and public nudity is not something you will get arrested for, Indonesians and Americans are pretty similar in this area. You won't find yourself hiding your privates in a public bath where no one else seems to care, or peeing in a bathroom with a large window through which the world can see you like a friend in China has to. Nor will you get stoned for baring your arms or hair or wearing makeup. Indonesia is not Saudi Arabia: its personal choice to wear a head scarf or not and in fact, most Indonesian women do not.

11. Rich culture, but with the comforts of the west. Indonesia is not culturally conservative. They are willing to adopt aspects of other cultures that benefit them more than a lot of other cultures. As a result you can contact all your friends through facebook and on their blackberry while you are eating at KFC or pizza hut. Indonesians haven't lost their traditional culture either. Even in one of the biggest cities in Indonesia I see things like rice paddies, grazing cows, roosters, banana and Banana and Durian trees. I also have plenty of chances to learn traditional dance, instruments, arts and more. Not to mention Indonesians still wear traditional clothing along with western clothing, or a mix of the two, as batik is still considered more formal and even printed on western-style clothing.

12. Beauty. Despite the Pollution, ecological damage, and general dirt of Indonesia, it still has beautiful plants, scenery, mountains and anything else. Usually you only need to travel a little out of your way to see a beautifully unique Indonesian scene. Often Europe just looks a lot like the US :(.

13. This is the 4th largest country in the world and is rising economic power. I predict Indonesia is going to become a lot more important to world politics and economics in the future, so it will be important to know something about it. After all, Indonesia is no longer classified as a developing county.

Check out, Flan's journey and experiences in Jakarta, Indonesia! check n click this one out