Learning Indonesian in Java

Those that have read my blog in the past will have gotten a sense that I love one country over and above all others. It’s a strange love affair I have with Indonesia that even I don’t understand, despite the interludes being frequent and varied. Next month I will once again visit my beloved with a mission to learn a bit more about her.

I can already speak Bahasa Indonesia, the single unifying language of a country┬áthat has more than 700 active languages and which is spoken by more more than 200 million people. I currently speak at a level that allows me to go to the markets and buy whatever I need, ask where buses are going to or coming from and discuss the generalities of daily life. But I want more. I know my language skills are deficient when I hear news reports or two friends speaking to each other, only picking up the odd word or two – most of the time I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. And this probably means that I’m only able to communicate with people because they are speaking slowly and simply so I can understand.

Brooding Gunung Merapi, East Java
Brooding Gunung Merapi, East Java

So I’ve been in contact with a school in the Javan city of Bandung called IMLAC. It’s a Christian school used by missionaries before they head off around the country to do their work. For me, it’ll be about the language aspect and I hope to advance from a basic speaker to a fluent speaker. Bandung is a city located in the hills about 2 hours from Jakarta. A friend of mine lived there for 18months and raved about both the school and the city and ever since I’ve thought about actually doing it myself – and now I am. The plan is for 3 months of full time study and I hope to get myself a nice little house in what the Indonesians would call the kampung – the village.

Muslim Girl
Muslim Girl

At some stage I’d love to learn some other Indonesian languages such as Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese. A staggering 80+ million people speak Javanese. True. That’s probably got something to do with over 130 million (!!!) people living in Java. They pack em in, but still you can find solitude. I can’t wait.

Oh yeah, I want to climb a few volcanoes there as well. Anyone with hot tips for Java?

16 thoughts on “Learning Indonesian in Java

  1. I love your photos. I’ve only ever been to Bali and that was about ten years ago. I really enjoyed it there, though. Beautiful scenery, nice people and delicious food.

    1. Hey thanks. I agree with your thoughts on Bali. Seems that Bali is getting a bad rap in the blogosphere at the moment, but I think it’s unjustified. It’s a magical place and it is easy to find the solitude and cultural immersion that many people want.

    1. I haven’t got a visa to study yet and I’m yet to enrol. Patience is required when dealing with anything of this nature over there. So I have stuff in motion – just slow motion. I do have flights though!

        1. I’m flying with Jetstar from Melbourne to Singapore and Air Asia from KL to Bandung in Java. I’ll be making my way by land from Singapore to KL. The Jetstar flight cost only $220!

  2. Adam,
    back in september i went to the Gunung Bromo volcano in Java. really an amazing place, walking in the fumes, on a ridge. BUT as 98% of the people go there with tours, get up very early in the morning to avoid the crowd. i met them on my way down!
    and then Kawah Ijen on the far east side of Java. crazy long road to get there, but a beautiful experience. workers carry sulfur out of the volcano in baskets of 80+kgs. crazy. but it does exist….
    enjoy Java …
    Ana

    1. Yes, I remember you telling me about this place. Hopefully I can spin across there in the 2 weeks before my class starts. I saw Ijen from Gilimanuk and it’s massive.

    1. Yeah, I’m really excited about it. It feels like the right thing to do and it’s great that I’m able to act on it. This is what the new path is all about.

  3. Bandung is great. That is where we will be in September. It’s been since 2005 since we were last there and really miss the place. I hear it’s changed quite a bit in the last 6 years. Enjoy your stay. Maybe our paths will cross.

      1. We’ll be near Kopo permai in Bandung and staying for at least a year. My in-laws live there and we’re going to give living in Indonesia a go. Planning to be there in September/October of this year and staying as long as we still enjoy it. I need to learn more bahasa Indonesia. This school sounds interesting.

        1. Yeah, IMLAC comes recommended to me and I’ll be three months in by the time you arrive. I’ll keep you posted on how it is.

          1. Awesome! I’d love to hear more about it. I’ll look you up after we arrive sometime in September.

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