Study and Work in Indonesia – All You Need to Know

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Indonesia is a country located between Southeast Asia and Oceania with a population of over two million people. The country is the world’s largest island country, with about 14,000 islands and it is also as the most populous Muslim country in the world. The capital of Indonesia is Jakarta, and its national or official language is Bahasa Indonesia, as well as about 300 other foreign and local languages such as Dutch, English, and Chinese, among others.

Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, is the largest city in the country and the biggest center for culture and education. It is also the hub of most commercial activities and the economic center of Indonesia. There are numerous universities in Jakarta, both public and private. Jakarta accommodates a vast majority of international students in its institutions and allows foreigners to enjoy the serenity of the country and all it has to offer. This post will offer you everything you need to know about how to study and work in Indonesia.

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Cost Of Living and Studying in Indonesia

Indonesia stands out as a country with a high level of education that is affordable. The country currently has about 30 public universities and 1000 private universities and the cost of tuition that you pay every semester is averagely high for international students.  An international student may pay between 3,000 and 6,000 EUR per semester in tuition fees in Indonesia and this is varied depending on the choice of degree or course the student is applying for.

On average, you may spend between US$800 and US$1,000 per month on different living expenses, like accommodation, water, electricity, telephone, food, books, clothes, internet, transport, and other things. Most of the universities in Indonesia offer accommodation, which comes in the form of dormitories or shared apartments, to students. There are also off-campus accommodations. Depending on the amenities or living standards of the student, the price of the accommodation always varies. Living in the big cities in Indonesia, such as Bali, its capital; Jakarta, will definitely cost much more for an international student than when compared to living in rural areas.


There are various means of transportation in Indonesia and they include taxis, buses, trains, and ferries. The cost of transportation per month for a student will depend largely on the means of transportation you want to use. Buses and trains are less expensive than any other forms of transportation in the country. Some students who live so close to the institution sometimes walk down to the school without paying for any transportation.

Health Insurance

For an international student who lives in Indonesia, another living cost which you must consider is the health insurance policy. Just like in any other study abroad country, taking out a health insurance policy for your stay in the country is very crucial and this would be for your health problems if any at all should occur when you are studying in Indonesia. Some of the universities offer health insurance policies that may vary in cost; you can consider speaking to your institution to find the best policy you can take.

Necessary Steps to Work and Study in Indonesia

Indonesia is one such study abroad country that does not allow international students to work while they study. There are a lot of reasons why some countries decide to permit their students to work and study. Some of the reasons may be to allow the students to concentrate on their studies, to enforce discipline and time management, to enable the student to manage funds effectively and so on. A few of the universities located in the country offer scholarship aid and grants to students who may be in financial distress. You can confirm your eligibility by visiting your institution for more details on scholarships and grants.

For an aspiring international student who wants to work and study in Indonesia, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow and be aware of in order to have a good start in the country without problems. An international student needs to obtain a student visa called VITAS (Indonesia Student Visa Application), which they will exchange for another visa called KITAS upon entry into the country. The VITAS is a temporary visa or temporary residence permit that you will get in your home country before your arrival in Indonesia. After you arrive in Indonesia with your VITAS, you have to go to the Immigration Department within 30 days so that you can exchange and receive your KITAS (temporary residence permit).

Some of the documents You need for the Indonesia Student Visa Application (VITAS) are outlined below.

  • A copy of your student passport
  • A copy of the study permit from the Ministry of National Education
  • A copy of the Recommendation Letter from your host university addressed to the Directorate of Immigration in Indonesia.
  • A copy of the Letter of acceptance from your host university
  • A copy of your academic transcript and certificate
  • Your Curriculum Vitae
  • Two recent passport-size pictures
  • A Letter of Financial Guarantee or a sponsorship certificate which proves you can cover your study and living expenses while in the country.
  • Proof of student Health certificate

A student visa (KITAS) does not allow the holder to work and study while in Indonesia. You can only work if you have a work permit and work KITAS, which are another set of separate procedures. Generally, Indonesia does not allow an international student to work while they study in the country. That is why it is always compulsory to show proof of financial guarantee before the student can get the VITAS to study in the country. Before the end of the 30 days in which the international student is now in the country, you have to exchange your student VITAS for KITAS. The documents you need for a student KITAS are:

  • Student international passport
  • The Letter of Acceptance
  • The Letter of Recommendation or the Certificate of Sponsorship from the university
  • A copy of the study permits must be sent to the university
  • Your Curriculum Vitae
  • Your academic transcripts
  • Proof of financial responsibility from your parents, legal guardians, or a sponsor during your studies

How to Apply for an Indonesian Study Permit

After your successful acceptance into an Indonesian university of your choice, the next step is to apply for a study permit that would allow you to study in the country. In most cases, the host institution may help the students’ application for this study permit, as students may still be in their home country at the time of study offer acceptance. The country’s ministry of education is always in charge of giving out this study permit to international students, but before it is been given out, the ministry of education forwards the study permit to the immigration department head office, which is located in the country’s capital, Jakarta and then the study permit is issued.

The study permit is always issued before the student can apply for the VITAS. Since the VITAS is obtained from the Indonesian embassy or consulate, the immigration department then forwards a letter to the embassy where you want to apply for your VITAS.  When applying for a study permit, there are some documents that you need to be in possession of before you can obtain the permit. Some of such documents are;

  • Copies of student passport
  • Copies of a recommendation letter by your host university
  • Letter of acceptance
  • Application form
  • A letter of recommendation from the Indonesian embassy in your country
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Passport photographs
  • Health certificate
  • Financial guarantee of sponsorship proof to cover your expenses while you study in the country
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5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Studying in Indonesia as a Foreign Student

Indonesia is another Southeast Asian country that is fast becoming a sought-after study destination among its other Asian countries. Although Indonesia does not speak the English language as its official language, most of its citizens speak it fluently. Its educational system is also rapidly increasing as new technologies are adapted. To consider Indonesia as your study abroad destination, we have outlined 5 top reasons to support your decisions

1. No language barrier

The university courses are mostly taught in English and sometimes in the local language, Bahasa, if you so desire. With English being used to study in the institutions, adapting in terms of language is then no issue for foreign students.

2. Wide range of courses

Indonesian universities offer a wide range of courses that can be chosen by students to study. There is generally no restriction to the courses one may want to study and there are classes on studying the local language of Indonesia, which is Bahasa.

3. Welcoming locals

The Indonesian citizens are very welcoming to foreigners, making the environment student-friendly for foreign students. With its delicious cuisine and rich culture, Indonesia allows foreigners to explore and enjoy its environment without restrictions.

4. Low cost of living and Studying in Indonesia

Living and studying in Indonesia is relatively cheap when compared to other study abroad destinations. Food, transportation, and accommodation do not necessarily consume a lot of your finances, and you can live a quality and decent lifestyle.

5. Easy visa

Accessing an Indonesian student study visa is quite easy; all that is needed is to meet the required criteria and provide the necessary documents, and then you can apply for the study visa. Studying in the country is not as stressful as preparing to study in other places.

Indonesian education is usually categorized as a top standard, with more international students trooping to the country from all around the world. Indonesia, with over 1000 universities that are well equipped with good instructors and courses, is a sure bet for many students who look forward to a study abroad option. Although most of its universities are privately owned, the tuition fee is still affordable when compared to countries like the USA, UK, Australia, and the like. With a diverse culture and a great natural environment, Indonesia is always welcoming to international students and foreigners alike. Its serene environment makes it student-friendly and its locals are very accommodating. Thinking of studying abroad in a different environment while exploring and enjoying nature, Indonesia is a sure bet.

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