ACICIS students often take their children and spouses with them when they go to Indonesia to study. Although it will be a difficult initial period of settling in to the new environment and culture, the semester generally evolves into a very rewarding experience. Indonesians love children and are very family oriented. But there should be no illusions as to the challenges. The chaotic traffic will be a constant cause of concern for parents with young children. The almost total absence of footpaths in Indonesia makes local mobility difficult, and routines at home such as going shopping or going out to eat involve a lot more time (and frustration due to language issues). The key to a successful semester is a realistic view of these challenges and a budget that enables you access services that lessen the burden. It does need to be stressed that bringing a family to Jakarta, Yogykarta, Bandung, or Malang for a semester is a very different and far tougher experience than taking the kids for a two week holiday to Bali.
Domestic Workers and Babysitters
Many families hire a maid to assist them with the daily tasks of looking after the children, since it gives them the free time necessary to study. It is a relatively inexpensive option in Indonesia, but it can be very difficult to find an employee that ticks all the boxes. Non live-in maids are quite difficult to find, as the more standard practice in Indonesia is for them to live-in and be a part of the family 24/7. Many ACICIS students, however, find the presence of a maid or nanny on a permanent basis to be a little too much. Indonesian families generally find domestic workers via informal family and social networks. Formal agencies are thin on the ground. But when you do strike on the right candidate, as one former ACICIS student said ‘it will transform your life!’ Be warned though, it will take some time. Most people start by making inquiries in their neighbourhood.
The salary varies depending on experience, live-in or casual employment, the age of children, and where you are. You can expect to pay almost double for a maid in Bandung for the same service in Yogyakarta. So there is no standard rate. Make Rp1,000,000 per month your starting point, and negotiate up or down from there depending on requirements. The salary for temporary babysitter is approximately Rp50,000 per day. Again, these are arranged via informal networks.
Keep in mind that there are other means of reducing the burden aside from hiring domestic help. Pick-up and delivery services for laundry are cheap and readily available in all Indonesian cities. Cars can be hired for around Rp3.5-5 million a month or on day rates of around Rp300-400,000 (with driver) to take the family out for a day or weekend. Food delivery is also increasingly common.
Children are also able to attend a local Indonesian school. There are many primary schools in Yogyakarta.
The Indonesian school year begins in July.