Travel & Teach - Indonesia
Indonesia is a really popular destination for you if you want a TEFL adventure and has a strong English Language teaching industry.
It has had a turbulent recent past and several current issues still make the headlines, including banking sector reforms, corruption and human rights violations by the military and growing separatism. There have been several recent issues which have affected the country, no less the situations in East Timor (which declared independence in 1999), the Bali bomb in 2002 and the Tsunami in 2005.
But as an oil rich country, there is still a strong demand for learning English and we were recently informed by a Director of Studies in Lampung that the industry is crying out for native English teachers. It has been suggested that due to the recent economic downtown, the richest students can no longer afford to go abroad and study and so are staying in the country to learn and this has fuelled the demand locally.
At the same time, stories of disruption may have put off some teachers from travelling to the region and this has increased demand for teachers. If you are a British national ee would recommend you get advice from the Foreign Office before travelling to Indonesia - http://www.fco.gov.uk/. Nationals of other countries should consult with their own country’s embassy about current travel status to the country.
As Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, it can be a real experience for Western EFL travellers. EF English First, one of the largest employers in the region, continues its strong presence in the country and employs mainly British and Australian teachers, offering them the opportunity to experience the fascinating culture. There are many job opportunties for Global English graduates with appropriate qualifications.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in Indonesia: http://www.britishcouncil.org/indonesia.htm
Indonesian Embassy UK: http://indonesia.embassyhomepage.com/
Indonesian Embassy USA: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/id.html
Indonesian National Tourist Office: http://www.indonesia-tourism.com/
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Travel and Teach
There are several large organisations that recruit for various schools in Indonesia, and for the adventurous it is a great first step on your TESOL career. If you want to gain a prearranged contract, look on the Internet (e.g. www.tefl.com). You could also try contacting the British Council Offices in Jakarta and Surabaya.
EF English First is the largest chain in Indonesia, with around 35 different institutes dotted across the archipelago. A number of Global English graduates have gone to work for this organisation in Indonesia. One of them, John Dalton, started as a TESOL teacher and then was promoted to Director of Studies, and if you are looking to move up the career ladder quickly, Indonesia is the perfect place to do it.
If you are arriving on spec, you may wish to time your arrival with the start of the teaching term in September or October. Dress smartly and conservatively for interview and take along copies of your CV, TESOL and Degree Certificates. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here.
Try the telephone book or the Indonesian Observer for adverts. Walk down any main street in the big cities and you are likely to find many schools although conditions vary greatly. The upper end of the market may require well-qualified and experienced teachers but pay very well with up to 18-month contracts and even (sometimes) return flights. There are plenty more schools where the facilities are more basic and the employment conditions more dubious. You are unlikely to get a full time, long term teaching contract with such schools.
Some teachers travel off the beaten track and experience the ‘real Indonesia’, teaching in exchange for basic accommodation and food. This can be a rewarding way to see the country. For anyone interested in paid employment, they should be aware of the strict work permit regulations. It is possible to arrive on a tourist visa and then look for work. However working on a tourist visa is against the law and if caught both you and the school could be in serious trouble. Note that at present Indonesia does not give working visa's for people who originate from non-English speaking countries who want to teach EFL.
If you are able to secure work with a good school, then they will apply for such a permit on your behalf. If you have managed to prearrange a job, take a letter of confirmation to the Indonesian embassy before leaving for Indonesia. Your employer should be able to do the rest on arrival. However you should be aware that your visa is only valid for as long as you stay with this one named employer. The best bet is to check out the specific requirements before you travel, so see the useful numbers section below.
A Global English Level 2 TESOL will significantly enhance your job prospects, as will a degree. We would recommend at the very least you take a Global English Level 1 TESOL or a Weekend TEFL before you go.
Much of the work is with young people so experience with children is helpful. Indonesian youngsters are unfailingly polite with few of the discipline problems associated with European youngsters. Most students are very motivated to learn English although do not expect heated debates on controversial political topics. If you are lucky enough to secure any work with an oil-related company, it can pay up to 3 times as much as teaching general English. Otherwise you can expect a monthly salary 8-9,000 000 Indonesian Rupiah per month.
The cost of living is low and accommodation is relatively cheap (although you may be required to leave a hefty deposit), so it is not surprising that most teachers appear to live very well by local standards, eating out most nights as well as being able to save some money. In the big cities there is much to experience and there is often a strong expat community. If the noise and pollution put you off, much of the rest of the country is quite beautiful.