This blog is about the experiences of a student staying 1 year in Indonesia

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Just one more week…

This is my last week in Indonesia – for now. All together, I then stayed 11 months and 5 days here, most of the time in Jogja. I will leave Indonesia with a tear in one eye and a smile in the other. There are so many things I liked about Indonesia. It is one of the most exciting countries for travelling since it is so diverse and huge. Also the helpfulness of the local people often surprised me. In my opinion, Indonesians are very modest people. They don’t have a lot of expectations and are satisfied and happy with what they get. It’s about gathering together, enjoying whatever food and drinks is offered and just enjoying leisure time; no matter how much money you have. The parking guys, traffic helpers and wandering musicians – although they seem to not contribute a lot – get some thousand rupiahs and earn a small income. Friends and social life is very important. If you go somewhere eating on your own, you will mostly be asked where your friends are or if you are alone. This feels a bit awkward – for me and also for the Indonesians. I also loved the place where I am living. Wherever you are you are surrounded by rice fields and most of the mornings I could see the Merapi. Sometimes I saw some buffaloes working on the rice fields. One of my neighbours is an old man always standing on the street watching his 4 sheep. This is real Indonesia and it’s beautiful and welcoming.

I will miss the opportunity of simply travelling through this beautiful country in my holidays. There are a lot of places, like Komodo, Flores, Central and West Sulawesi, Kalimantan on Borneo, the National park and the thousand islands in the West of Jawa…. that I haven’t seen. I hope I can get the opportunity to visit them in the future.

However, there are some things that I am definitely not going to miss. Men call “Hello Miss!” even if they are driving on the scooters with their wife and children – even if your body is fully covered. I got used to the feeling of mostly always having eyes around me watching me but it still feels weird and uncomfortable. Maybe that is an issue that I am facing all over Asia? I will find it out and hope that with more and more white people coming to Asian countries and increasing globalization, this will change.

What’s my plan now? I booked my flight on the 11th in a couple of days to Kalibo in the Philippines. There I will spend 1 month only travelling and surfing. After that, I will go for 1 week to Hong Kong and Macao, and then finally SHANGHAI! I was very busy the last couple of months because I was crazy about getting an internship in Asia. Unfortunately, Singapore closed its borders for students not studying at the 100 world’s best universities. But once I wrote somebody that was on a newspaper picture with somebody that used to work in Shanghai and still knew somebody working there, I got my acceptance within 6 days. And the best is that it is even in my favorite field marketing strategy development, so I can lean back and enjoy my last exams, my scooter, my meetings with my friends, the tasty Ca Kangkung and Soto and Es Jeruk, the tropical rain, the beach, the wandering kitchen with this funny, crazy melody, the geckos, and last but not least the daily calls to prayer. Ahh and my daily mango juice… 😥

Amendment 25/01/2014

4 days before my flight – on Tuesday – a little virus decided that I was the perfect victim to spoil my next months’ plans. Good bye whale sharks and surf board. Skin rash, fever and headache made me a guest of the hospital Panti Rapih in Jogja. After one week and rescheduling my flight to the 23rd, my little virus still found me highly attractive and brought me more fever, as well as stiff body parts. The answer of the doctor in JIH on my question what kind of virus this is: “Well, Indonesia has many viruses and you catched one of them.” Uhh yeah thanks, that really helped a lot.

However, I still could take the flight to Singapore, where I then had a bad food poisoning right after landing. Well, anybody has some bad luck from time to time, so here I am in Singapore trying my best to rescue my holiday. Maybe I can make it to squeeze a little trip to Malaysia or Vietnam. I heard Vietnam has the best Asian food, which sounds pretty sexy after 1 year of fried chicken and rice mostly. We’ll see 🙂

Where is what in Jogja…

There are some things in Jogja that takes some time to figure out where they are:

Accommodation

I heard that ECO has a very good offer but I have never been there. Most of the students come here and rent a room at Tiga Lima Homestay. I lived for a month in Cempaka Homestay which is closer to UGM and really nice (2 Mio/month). After that you can decide if you wanna share a house with some other students or if you wanna stay at your place

Baggage Forwarding

Since I am going to China after my year in Jogja, this issue was quite important to me. There are 2 DHL (check website) in Jogja (you can also get a pick-up service). Or you use TNT or the local Post office to send your baggage or goods. However, I prefer to send my baggage not via the local service since I heard from 2 students that their packages never arrived. One package disappeared even on the same day as the pick-up-note.

Another online provider is luggageforward.com, yet is unable to send it from Indonesia to China.

Indonesian Food

Why am I making this paragraph since you can find warungs at any corner? Those are my very, very favorite warungs because they are really tasty and make great juice:

Flamboyan in Jalan Flamboyan : huge choices of vegetables. Also fish and chicken. Very popular among the Indonesian students and locals.

Top Java in Jalan Laksa Adisucipto. I just love the chicken Schnitzel 😉

Kumala Lintang resto: I can’t figure out why this place is so empty every time I go there. They make very good Nasi Goreng, Ca Kangkung and Ayam Hot (spicy Chicken) and the juices are also really good. The best about this place: free WiFi and therefore my favorite place for skyping.

Information

Facebook: There is a group called “Semester abroad in Yogyakarta [year]” and another one “Yogyakarta Food Recommendations”

Yogyes.com: really good page to find an event schedule and general information about almost everything in Jogja

Internet/WiFi

Dunkin Donuts on Jalan Kaliurang is full of students making their group projects or just using the internet. However, you have to pay the prices starting at 22,5 k for an ice coffee and in my opinion, the coffee mixes are pretty bad.

Kumala Lintang Resto (check Indonesian Food)

Language course

I tried this one. I think it’s very much to recommend. The teachers are friendly, very flexible and come to your house for the course. The prices depend on the students’ number.

Leather bags

In the south of Yogyakarta, in Bantul, there are many handmade leather products. In my opinion, most of them were maid roughly and I could sometimes see where the scissors made its job. Some are quite nice and they also have a lot of shoes and jackets, as well as small accessories like wallets.

How to get there: Coming from Jogja, always follow Jalan Parangtritis, crossing the ring road, passing an art institute (institut seni) and crossing a circle but keep going straight. You will see on the left side a big board that sais Manding Optik and on the right side is an archway on which is written Manding. So it’s actually pretty easy to find. Turn right into the street with the archway, cross a bridge and voilà…

Shoe repair

Either you are lucky and in front of your house a man is passing screaming “sol sepatuuuu” or you go to the street Jalan Prof. Dr. Sardijto (opposite of Mirota Kampus -> Google Maps). However, I cannot recommend the sole repair service since it looks like sh** now. I need to take a cutter and improve it by myself now.

Tailor

There is an exclusive tailor Yusuf in Jalan Urip Sumoharjo (they warned me it’s going to be expensive and meant a price of 500 – 600 k…). Another tailor recommended to me is Waspada tailor in Jalan Mataram (pretty close when you come from Jalan Malioboro on the left side) which opens every day from 6 am to 9 pm (please check again). Besides that, if you just wanna have some corrections on your clothes, you can go to the same street where the shoe repair is. The bit of tailoring of my skirt and trousers was pretty good.

Trains to Jakarta and other cities

There is a train going to Jakarta and Bandung both in 8 hours: http://kereta-api.co.id/
Unfortunately the page is in Bahasa Indonesia but it’s still possible to find out how it works. If you wanna buy a ticket and you don’t wanna go to the Statsiun Tugu (which is at the beginning of Jalan Malioboro) then you can book it on that page and pay it in Indomaret and a lot of other places. Just check out the page when you finished booking. If you don’t pay within the time frame then you just loose your reservation.

Transportation

Most people use a motorcycle to get from A to B. I rented my scooter first at Happy (Rama book shop in Jalan Sosrowijayan, small gang) but since a few months I rented my friend’s scooter. For the automatic we usually pay 600 k, for the semi-manual 500 k.

There is also a bus route through Jogja, but I admit that I never used it. The buses are very old and pollute the city a lot.

Western food

There are many places in Jalan Prawirotaman (including a higher priced pizzeria which serves pizza starting from 40 k) and some nice bars. My favorite pizza place is Nanamia: coming from the North of Jalan Afandi/Gejayan (double-named street) turn left before the Plaza Jogja. Turn left into the second street and its on the left side).

Another restaurant R’n B Grill which also has a shop serving many things Europeans might miss including what we can actually call “real” bread and cheese (high-priced; discount 50 % of perishable goods after 7 pm), is in Jalan Wolter Monginsidi: cross-street in the middle of Jalan Magelang located at a traffic light. Same street as Kopitiam Oey restaurant -> Google Maps).

Gallery

Java Mix Impressions

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