Hello everyone, we are Jan-Willem Kamp and Michael Bos, both 21 years old, Dutch and third year IBA students at the University of Twente. Since last September we are living in the biggest city of Indonesia, Jakarta, where we are studying at Binus University for our minor. In the five months we are staying here, we have to pass 5 different courses to obtain 30 EC. The courses we picked are: Global Marketing, Consumer Behavior, International Business, ASEAN Culture and the Bahasa Indonesian language course.
Firstly we want to say that studying abroad, especially on the other side of the world, is an experience we will never forget. It is good for your study (passing your Bachelor degree) but even more so for the skills and knowledge you gain as a person. For both of us it is the first time we are living by ourselves, a situation which obviously needed some adaptation, which happened quickly. Besides this, Indonesia is a country with such different kinds of living circumstances, people and culture, that the first couple of weeks were eye-opening for us.
Jakarta could be seen as a city with a lot of people, actually too many people for the place available, the facilities provided and especially the roads that are build! The traffic is sometimes one big chaos. This makes travelling from one place to another within the city very unpredictable. Luckily there is a good way to bypass this problem: Gojek! It is an app for your phone, at which you can fill in your location and the destination. After this the app shows the amount of money you need to pay, most of the time around 15000 Rupiah (1 euro), and then you can order a driver on a motorbike. The driver will pick you up, provide you with a helmet, and bring you to your destination way faster than by car, taxi or bus. For example, from our accommodation to the university during peak times, our destination is reached three times faster with the use of Gojek.
Enough about traffic, learning how to deal with South East Asian people in business and daily life, and Indonesians in particular, is another very interesting thing. We are used to more direct conversations and appointment making, but in here you have to check multiple times when you talk about something. Yes, does not always mean yes, it could also mean no, maybe, no idea, or ‘what are you talking about?’ So yes, it can happen that you are waiting for a car with driver which does not show up at the appointed time, but the next day. Or that a bus driver suddenly increases the price of the ride by 200%. However, it is not that bad, these problems can be solved after some negotiating.
In the end, it can be said that these things eventually improve our skills and knowledge about this area of the world, which contributes to our future career. Just as the experience in total, living in a new environment, making a lot of new contacts with people all over the world, and seeing many beautiful places which are quite nearby.
With doing our study abroad at Binus University, we obtain some new knowledge about topics which were unknown first, we get more knowledge about topics which we are now getting deeper into. Additionally, we can apply this new experience into practice in our program of International Business Administration, as we have more knowhow about doing business in Indonesia and some parts of South East Asia in general. The ASEAN Culture course, which is about culture in South East Asia, is very interesting. It is really nice to learn so many new things about this part of the world. The good thing about this course is that it is mainly focused on the business side of the South East Asian countries. Moreover, almost every topic is related to the connection with the Western countries in the world. Therefore you get to know the view of people from both sides.
In the time we have been here, we have seen and we have done so many nice things, together, but mostly with other exchange students as well, that the entire stay is one great experience. All the trips we took are the absolute highlights. In Yogyakarta we saw the world famous Borobudur Temple and we went down 60 meters into the Jomblang cave. We saw the beautiful country of Singapore, with the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the Universal Studio’s and the amazing skyline. We travelled to the south of Java, to learn how to surf at the beaches of Cimaja. One weekend we went with all of the exchange students and some local students to the Thousand Islands to relax, do some snorkeling and watersports and to have a big party with everyone. Jan-Willem went to the hotspot of Indonesia - Bali, while Michael spend his time in Bangkok and Malaysia.
And we did not even mention the sightseeing we did in Jakarta itself. We went to the old town called Batavia, where especially for the Dutch people a lot of history is displayed from the colonial period. To go to the square of Batavia on a Saturday afternoon as tall Europeans is really an experience you will never forget. We were the attraction at that moment as people made pictures of us, selfies with us and wanted to interview our entire group. This irritated the local students who went with us to visit the old town because the half an hour wait became quite long. After this we visited the biggest Mosque in South East Asia and the National Monument Monas. In the evening we went to one of the sky bars Jakarta has, the Cloud, a bar at the 49th floor in which you have a great view over the city.
As you can read, we have had a lot of activities. In between travelling and sight-seeing we undertook things with other exchange students and locals, as a Futsal Tournament, the International Days and Laser gaming.
Time is passing by really fast; we have just one and a half month left. As already stated, this experience is a thing we will never forget. Despite the disadvantages of Jakarta, we kind of started to love this city. We have the Christmas holiday, in which we are going to Bali, Gili and Lombok, to come back for the final exams. In the beginning of February we will be back in the Netherlands to finish the last semester of our Bachelor program at the University of Twente. But first: BALI!!!
Salam dari Jakarta!
Jan- Willem and Michael