Going Global: Indonesia

| By: Britten, Casey

Want to learn a foreign language? Check out our class information and schedule at: www.fvtc.edu/global

Capital: Jakarta

Currency: Indonesian rupiah

Geographic location: Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Indonesia consists of 17,508 (6,000 inhabited) islands, straddling the equator. It is a strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from the Indian to Pacific Ocean.

Climate & Terrain: Mostly coastal lowlands; larger islands have interior mountains.

The flag of Indonesia is officially know as Sang Saka Merah Putih, meaning 'The Sacred Red and White'. The reverence for the colors red and white can trace its origin to older common Austronesian mythology of Mother Earth and Father Sky; both symbolize in colors red (earth) and white (sky).

Population: Total population of 251 million (July 2013). Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world. The population is made up of: 40.6% Javanese; 15% Sudanese; 3.3% Madurese; 2.7% Minangkabau; 2.4% Betawi; 2.4% Bugis; 2% Banten; 1.7% Banjar; 29.9% are other or unspecified (2000 census)

Religions: Muslim (86.1%), Protestant (5.7%), Roman Catholic (3%), Hindu (1.8%), other or unspecified (3.4%) (2000 census)

Government System: Democratic Republic. The current President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the head of state and the head of government and is directly elected to a 5-year term.

Languages: Bahasa Indonesian (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects (of which the most widely spoken is Javanese). In total, 316 ethnic groups speak 670 dialects in Indonesia.


Steeped in rich traditions, beliefs, and history, Indonesia is a land of rapid economic and social change. Its national motto, 'Bhinneka Tunggal Ike', which means, Unity in Diversity, stands true to its essence, since the country is home to a vast majority of diverse ethnicities. Here, you will find Indians, Singaporeans, Taiwanese, Indonesians, Australians, and other local ethnic groups, living in harmony. Indonesia is one of the popular tourist destinations of the world, situated in Southeast Asia. Though not an Islamic state, it is dominated by Muslims and boasts of being the fourth most populous country of the world. Tourism comprises of one of the major industries of Indonesia, mainly owing to its vast coastline that offers the visitors some of the most magnificent beaches of the world. The tropical climate and rich cultural heritage of the country only add to its attraction. Bali is among the most-visited places in Indonesia.

Little-Known Facts:

  • There are around 400 volcanoes in Indonesia, and 150 out of them are active, which represents 75% of all active volcanoes on the planet.
  • Indonesia has the longest coastline in the world at 100,000 kilometers (62,137.12 miles) long.
  • Indonesia is probably the last country in the world which has still unexplored territories, and is not completely mapped (especially around Irian Jaya).
  • There are 17,508 islands in Indonesia, which is the largest archipelago in the world.
  • If you could spend only one day on each island of Indonesia, you would need 48 years to see all of them (transportation between the islands not counted).
  • 25% of the world's coral reefs are in Indonesia.
  • Javanese people have no family name, and many have only one name.
  • The English expression, 'running amok', comes from the Indonesia language.

Mini Language Lesson:

Apa kabar?  

Hello, any news? 

Dapatkah anda berbicara bahasa inggris? 

Do you speak English? 

Terima kasih banyak! 

Thank you very much! 

Tunggu sebentar! 

One moment please! 


Student Highlight


May 2013: I am Jenny Anastasia from Palembang, Indonesia. My home town is the capital of South Sumatra Province with a population of more than 1 million people.

I am the oldest of 4 siblings, and I am also a mother of 2 children. Being so far away from home is always a challenge, but I have my family as my great supporters. Without them, I think it would be impossible for me to be here to continue my studies.

As children, we (my siblings and me) had always dreamed to study abroad, and I am so blessed to have this opportunity. I am now in the FVTC Business and Management program. My first reason to study in the US is to get expose to different perspectives, and to learn about business as much as possible. It's been invaluable experiences so far. Now, I can see our problems (that we have in Indonesia) more clearly, and focus on what I can offer to help solve these problems.

Before I came to US, I stereotyped Americans as workaholics, individualist, and glamorous. But then, I found it is not totally true. On the other hand, I also have been asked, often, if Indonesian has KFC or Internet. It is a fact that we're still considered as a third world country, but the conditions back home are not that bad. We have technologies, abundant natural resources, and a potential young generation; however, we do need to learn a lot about management, ethics and problem solving.

When I return to Indonesia, I hope I can apply all the knowledge I have gained during my 10-month stay in the US. I might start a new career in a different work environment, or maybe start my entrepreneurship venture. I also want to share my experiences with my family and friends, and encourage them to have the guts to take a step out from their comfort zone. It is a hard, yet a rewarding decision. 

Update, June 2013: Jenny Anastasia, former FVTC international student, has since returned to Indonesia and her first question to me was "has summer arrived yet?" In Indonesia, they are starting their dry season. According to Jenny, some families without a subscribed water line will have trouble by August when the dry season gets worse. In her hometown, households usually have wells for clean water supply although not all of them choose to get a water line. Luckily, her house has one, and in case of emergency, they also have a well. 

Upon return to Indonesia, Jenny experienced reverse culture shock. She indicated she missed Appleton very much. However, as mother with two small children, she is also enjoying every day activities. She recently visited the kindergarten where her oldest daughter will attend. 

She is currently looking for employment and will also be translating for an agency. I have no doubt that this very talented person will go far. 

Submitted by Nancy Peters, Intern Supervisor and Mentor 

Want to learn a foreign language? Check out our class information and schedule at: www.fvtc.edu/global