How I moved to Indonesia

Indonesia is the first Asian country that I visited in my life. And this opportunity I got only because I was selected for Darmasiswa scholarship program.

How I moved to Indonesia? I heard about this scholarship from my friend Giedre, who was selected couple years ago as well. When she posted information that new student’s selection is open, it was left couple days before application deadline. I already wanted to apply that time, but probably I wasn’t so into it, like those couple of days for me looked not enough to prepare everything (even if it’s really possible ;)) and I decided even not to try. Probably that time just wasn’t the right time for me because usually if I really want something I will try everything. But at that time I was already thinking to apply for next year.

In September 2013, when I saw information in official scholarship website, that new selection is open (for 2014/2015 school year), I decided to try my luck and apply. About my decision knew only my family and few friends. I prepared everything and send it on time. After it, I forgot about application and lived my life like usually.

When, in January 2014, I got the letter from Indonesian embassy that they want to meet and talk, I understood that everything started. This meeting doesn’t mean that you will be selected; it’s just first impression about you, your motivation, your future plans in Indonesia, and your knowledge about the country. Embassy people make notes about you and send their opinion to the main scholarship program participants’ selectors in Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia.

It was long results waiting time. First, it was written that results will be in the end of April, then May and finally in the beginning of June they announced the selected participants list. I was a bit scared to open the list and not to see my name, but – I WAS SELECTED (like other 5 Lithuanians) ;). After announcement they gave 1 month to decide if selected people want to join scholarship or not.

And then started the big time of thinking if I want to go, need to go and etc. When I told my parents and those couple of friends that I was selected and don’t know yet what to do – go or not, most of the people started to ask “do I really need this”, “what I will do after 1 year” and etc. Those questions were a bit annoying, like I even didn’t decide yet if I’m going and people started to ask me what I will do after 1 year ;) I just needed advices and some different point of view about this “journey” :). So all the time my answer was “I don’t know, maybe after couple of months I won’t be able to live in Indonesia and I will come back. Please let me first to decide if I’m going and then we will see”. Yeah, some of the friends told me “don’t even think to refuse, just go”. But if it’s so easy just not to think about anything and go? Especially when I had quite good job, just started to settle in new home, had bank credit and I’m not teenager anymore ;).

That “decision making month” I made “+” and “–“ list, what I will get if I will go, what I will have – if I won’t go and etc. I started to count as well money, if I will have enough them for preparation, tickets and some savings if I won’t “survive” with scholarship amount, searching information about living in Indonesia, contacting members and many other things.

When it left only 2 days before deadline to accept or decline participation. I finally said “YES” because I started to think “when if not now” to try this opportunity, to see the world, maybe to discover more things about myself and etc. ;).

And then it’s started “for real” – the preparation, vaccination, formalities, searching for tickets, buying needed stuff. I had only couple of months to arrange everything and at that time I was still working full part job. My parents each day was worried about my decision more and more, like Indonesia in Muslim country (and you know what people usually thinks about such countries? :)), as well it’s far away from Europe, totally different climate, culture – EVERYTHING ;). Even If I decided to go, still in my mind sometimes came the question “will I handle this?”, “did I made right decision?” but curiosity and wishing adventures were stronger that doubt questions.

I quite job 1 month before I should come to Indonesia (yeah, colleges as well were surprised and wondering how I exchange work in advertising field to the Indonesian traditional dance studies :)), found by accident people who were willing to rent my flat, agreed with bank to suspend my credit paying. And this month I spend meeting with friends, finishing preparation and packing (of course still I packed everything last night and almost didn’t sleep before the trip ;).

Last days in Vilnius were really nervous and ruched but after waiting almost 1 year the ADVENTURE FINALLY STARTED! :)

I wanted to save some money so I bought cheaper flight tickets but I needed to get to Helsinki airport first.

From Vilnius I went to Tallinn by bus (~8 hours). On the way I got “sitting neighbor” English man, who was traveling alone in Europe. He was speaking all the time about his trips and never asked or listen to me. Even when I started to nap – he still tried to have some attention. Maybe he just poor man – traveling alone and don’t have with whom to share? Let it be – I’m polite person, was listening carefully almost all 8 hours of his talks.

After I get out from bus, I needed to get to Tallinn harbor where I needed to take ferry to Helsinki. In bus station I catch a Finish guy (I saw that he was going in the same bus and had a map how to get to harbor :)) with whom I share the costs of taxi to harbor. We had some chat in harbor cafe bar before our ferries came (we were on different ones). After waiting couple of hours in harbor I meet with another selected Lithuanian Darmasiswa student with whom we went to Helsinki.

4 hours in ferry and finally we reached Helsinki harbor. It was my first journey with so big ferry with karaoke, spa and anything that you can need during the trip.

After ~1 hour from harbor we reached Helsinki airport. Couple of hours at night waiting for the flights and the journey began.

First flight Helsinki-Milan. I just had couple of hours between the flights and then took another flight Milan-Hong Kong. Again only couple of hours to transfer and third flight from Hong Kong to Jakarta.

Finally! After almost 3 days of travel – I reached Indonesia. I was so exhausted, tired, dirty that first my thought when I landed in Jakarta was “I want go home!”. But when I realized that it will take again ~3 days to return – I didn’t want to do that ;). Is it worth to save a bit money and have such long way? Maybe. But next time before decide to save I will evaluate if those saved money worth such “torture” :D.

Interesting? Great! :) You might also like these:

My experience about Darmasiswa program
First days in Indonesia
First time in Indonesia


Scholarship amount

One of the main question new Darmasiswa students have after selection – „Will be enough scholarship amount for living in Indonesia?“ And it‘s not possible to answer just „yes“, „no“ or „maybe“, like each person have different habits, will live in different city where the prices are different. For example to live in Yogyakarta much more cheaper than in Jakarta or Bali but the scholarship amount is the same for everyone.

The scholarship amount (monthly) depends on the place where you will choose to study:

  • Area 1 Rp. 2.850.000  (Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar, Manado)
  • Area 2 Rp. 2.450.000,- (Aceh, Padang, Palembang,Purwokerto, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Malang, Samarinda)

When I was selected for this scholarship the amount was 2 000 000 Rp (doesn’t matter in which area do you live). And recommendations how divide this amount was like this (it was written in agreement when you will sign it):

      • Living cost – 1 200 000 Rp
      • Book allowance – 200 000 Rp
      • Local transport – 200 000 Rp
      • Medical/health care – 200 000 Rp
      • Pocket money – 200 000 Rp

Like this year, the amount is higher – the sums above will be changed as well.

Usually university should give full scholarship amount each month (the dates when they give it, depends on the university, one pays at the 1st day of month, others at 15th and etc.). But some universities can give less than official scholarship amount because they will take from your scholarship amount the sum that it‘s written in contract for example „book allowance“ (200 000 Rp) and you will get only 1 800 000 Rp. Is it „legal“? I don‘t know, like in ISI Yogyakarta we all the time got all sum and could spend it how we want. If such thing will happen in your university I suggest to discuss about it with Darmasiswa scholarship office in Jakarta, just to clarify the situation.

I don‘t know if any student managed to live like suggested to divide allowance but I can share just example of prices when I was a student by this scholarship.

Notice: all the prices written according 08 2016 information and from Yogyakarta south area.

Living place renting

The prices for renting in different cities, the same city districts can be very different. In Yogyakarta in north more expensive than in south, as well the price depends for how long you are renting, is it furnished place or not and etc. As well for foreigners the prices higher than for Indonesians;) For example prices from Yogyakarta south area:

    • Dormitory for 1 year (very small room with only bed, shared kitchen, bathroom with 6 or more people) – ~1 200 000 Rp/per year.
    • A room in the house for monthly rent (without internet, shared kitchen, bathroom with 2 and more people) – ~ 300 000 Rp/per month.
    • A room in the 5 room house for monthly rent (with internet, laundry, cleaning the place, shared kitchen, bathroom) – ~ 700 000 Rp/per month.
    • A brick house without furniture for 1 year can start from ~7 000 000 Rp/per year , with furniture ~21 000 000 Rp/per year and more.
    • A traditional house (with bamboo cover, without furniture) for 1 year can cost ~ 2 500 000 Rp/per year.

Monthly payment for housing

      • Drinking water. In Indonesia don‘t drink water from the tap, you will need to refill water gallons. The new gallon in the shop can cost from ~ 45 000 Rp. Refill 1 gallon in the shops cost ~14 500 Rp. You can refill cheaper for ~5 000-6 500 Rp/ 1 gallon – it’s water cleaned with special devices. Those who are selling such water should have a certificate.
      • Gas. Depends on the size the gas refill can cost ~10 000-~20 000 Rp. If you have portable gas stove the can cost 230 ml – ~16 000 Rp, 120 ml – ~12 000 Rp. Refill such can ~10 000 Rp (but it’s not many places who refills the gas can).
      • Electricity. Usually it can cost ~20 000-40 000 Rp/per month (with old type counter). For the new counter – each time you will need put “pulsa” (service for it) cost 1 000-1 500 Rp + amount that you want to put.
      • Internet. The price of new internet modem can be very varieties depends on modem brand, qualifications and etc. can starts from ~ 100 000 Rp.
        You will need to put prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your internet limits. The “pulsa” price depends which operator you will choose, how much monthly limit of GB you want to have. For example I use “Smartfren”, the internet card cost 8 000 Rp (bought only once), monthly for me enough 2 GB and I pay for it 60 000 Rp + “pulsa” service 1 000 Rp (in other places “pulsa” service 1 500 Rp, in client service office – free).
      • Trash. In some places the companies collects the trash. Monthly usually it cost ~20 000 Rp. They come to take trashes once per week.
      • Food. Everything depends on your taste and habits. Where you want to eat – in cheap „warungs“ or Europen style restorans. Just for example the prices: „soto ayam“ (rice chiken soup) from ~8 000 Rp, „nasi goreng“ (fried rice) from ~8 000 Rp, „es jeruk“ (orage cold drink) from ~2 500 Rp (in small „warungs“ but not the cheapest ones).
      • Mobile. The phone card cost from ~6 000 Rp (depends on operator brand). Every time to put “pulsa” (for service) will cost you 1 000 – 1 500 Rp. How much you will spend during the month depends on your habits. For example for me enough ~30 000 Rp/ per month.
      • Laundry. Most probably many your stuff you will put to laundry, like at home won’t be washing machine. Different places can give you different prices. For example in some places you will pay for a kilos, price start from ~ 2 500 Rp per kilo. If you want to wash blankets, bags and similar stuff they can ask for it separately – one stuff for ~ 2 000 Rp. Other places ask money not for kilos but for the stuff that you give – jeans, jackets and etc. they will calculate separately.
      • Motorbike rent. Usually you can find rent a motorbike for ~500 000-600 000 Rp/per month. You will be lucky if you will find cheaper.

Some of the students decide to buy a motorbike and then after scholarship to sell it again but it’s not so easy to do, like those who drives already have motorbikes and new students not ready to buy, like they don’t know many things. If you want to sell motorbike after you bought it usually you need lower the price at least ~2 000 000 Rp. The prices of full automatic motorbike (~5 years old) the simplest brand can cost from ~4 000 000 Rp (the main thing you need to check if all documents are completed – the motorbike has blue bigger book – owners documents and technical passport – smaller brown papers, there should be written the date till what it valid). As well important to buy motorbike in your city, in another case, you will need to go to another city to extend your documents all the time. Some information about driving license.

      • Fuel in petrol station. Cost ~7 400 R/per litre. In streets from the fuel from the bottles can cost ~8 000-10 000 Rp/per litre.

Or you can buy bicycle – the price can start from ~90 000 Rp.

      • Motorbike parking. Usually motorbike parking cost 1 000 – 2 000 Rp (other places and 3 000 Rp).
      • Entertainment. Everything depends on your habits and how often you like to go outside. Usually the entrance to clubs for girls are free, for guys – ~100 000 Rp. Local beer in eating places start from ~35 000 Rp for big bottle. The entrance to simple concert cost from ~50 000 Rp, the coffee in „kedai kopi“ starts from ~ 10 000 Rp.
      • Studies. Depends on your studies object, sometimes you will need to buy something – for example for dances I needed to buy some parts for the dance clothes, cost ~80 000 Rp per once.
      • Travels. Depends on your habits how you like to travel – hitch-hiking, go by plane, train and etc. As well where you will stay and how long you will be there. So it‘s hard to write the sums. Just for example cheapest train ticket from Yogyakarta to Banyuwangi ~ 90 000 Rp/ one way, ferry ticket from here to Bali ~8 000 Rp one way.


  • Visiting doctors. It can vary from ~ 30 000 to 150 000 Rp for visit. And medicine price depends on your diagnosis.
    Like I have Lithuanian travel insurance I went only to private places. But before going to any private place it’s better with you have at least 300 000 Rp or even better 500 000 Rp (like you need to pay for doctor check-in, medicine and analysis if will be done).
  • Something that not included – cigarettes, clothes, postcards, cleaning liquids and etc.

So how much money you need during 1 month?

Here is not counted buying equipments, gallons, furniture, only expenses for daily life.

      • Renting the place – let‘s count the average sum of renting 300 000 Rp/per month.
      • Water refill – let‘s count refill from the shop, 1 gallon per week – 58 000 Rp/per month.
      • Gas refill – let‘s count the average sum, if you don‘t cook too much, 1 bigger gallon will be enough for a month – 15 000 Rp/per month.
      • Electricity „pulsa“ – with „pulsa“putting service – 41 500Rp/per month.
      • Internet „pulsa“ – with „pulsa“ putting service, 2 GB – 61 500 Rp/per month.
      • Laundry – once per week, for 1 kilo, in total – 10 000 Rp/per month.
      • Mobile „pulsa“ – with „pulsa“ putting service – 31 500 Rp/per month.
      • Motorbike rent and fuel – 500 000 Rp/per month for renting. Full tank (2,5 l) of fuel in petrol station (if you not go often to another side of the city is enough for ~ 2-3 days) in total – 277 500 Rp/per month.
      • Parking – let‘s count average sum for 20 times parking, in total – 40 000 Rp.
      • Food – let‘s count that you will eat breakfast at home (bread, cookies with coffee), lunch and dinner in small „warungs“ – 650 000 Rp/per month.

In total – 1 985 000 Rp/per month. 

In this case from scholarship (that I get before) amount left 15 000 Rp for: entertainment, studies, travel, other. Truly to say with this left scholarship amount you can buy just a package of cigarettes (not the cheapest one :)).

It‘s only example – probably in first couple of months you will spend a bit more, like won‘t know yet where is cheaper place to eat, buy food and etc. But I believe than after you can manage to have ~ extra saving ~200 000 Rp from scholarship amount (of course if you will leave quite economically).

But to have extra money for each month ~500 000-1 000 000 Rp (from savings or…) I think will help you to live more relaxed :).

Additional money for first months

You will may need some your extra money to spend in the first 2-3 months because:

      • Paying the rent for 6 months or 1 year – you will need all amount of renting – for example 4 000 000 Rp (it‘s already more than one months scholarship amount).
      • Buy a water dispenser if the house will be empty – new dispenser with heating the water in the shop can cost ~150 000 Rp. You can buy not electric one or second hand – the price can start from ~75 000 Rp.
      • Water gallon – you will need to buy new gallon that can cost ~45 000 Rp.
      • Furniture – if the house are totally empty you will need for sure at least for the beginning a mattress – simple one, for one person can start cost from ~200 000 Rp, pillow, blankets – ~100 000 Rp. To buy some plates, cups, cleaning stuff and etc. ~80 000 Rp. Later you will see what you need more.
      • Internet modem – the price of new internet modem can be very varieties depends on modem brand, qualifications and etc. can starts from ~ 100 000 Rp.
      • Mobile card – can start from ~6 000 Rp.

In total you can need extra your own money from~4 681 000 Rp.
Everything depends on living place condition, what you want to buy and the prices. And scholarship amount I didn‘t include in this sum.

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

How to find a place to stay
How to save money
“Power” of 1 EUR in Indonesia



Here you can find answers for frequently asked questions (FAQ) that new Darmasiswa scholarship students asks before applying for the program or after it. If you don‘t find the answers here – fill the question form (in the end of the page) and I will try to answer or give information where you can get the answer.

Application form:

Do I need to translate my diploma in English language?
Nowadays most of universities already gives diploma written in 2 languages (native and English). If you have such diploma – it‘s enough.

If your diploma written only in native language – then you will need to add to application the original diploma written in native language and the translation of it. Sometimes Indonesian embassy’s in different countries have their own rules, so it‘s better to ask embassy in your country if you really need to add translated diploma.

What kind of medical report I should add to application?
Each country has international form for medical report written in English. You should ask your doctor for this form and he will fill needed lines about your general health condition. This filled document should be add to application. Here is my example from Lithuania.

Medical report for Darmasiswa







What to select in line ‟Where do you prefer to stay“?
Before coming, it‘s hard to decide where you would like to live, as well different universities has different situation with their students host. Some universities have their own dormitories, others – don‘t. My suggestion, in application select the most suitable place.

Don‘t worry, after you will arrive you can change your mind and live in another type of house than you selected in application. Here is my recommendations how to find a place to live in Indonesia.

Communication with Indonesian embassy:

Indonesian embassy don‘t reply to my e-mails, what should I do?
Most probably you will have many questions, would like to clarify something before applying or after you will be selected. But you won‘t be the only one with many questions :). As well some Indonesian embassies administrate couple of countries requests.

My suggestion, just be patient, they will answer you, just maybe not so quick like you used to. In urgent case – you can always call to embassy. If you didn‘t get the answer after ~ 1,5 week you can remind them that you still waiting for answer (of course in polite way :)).

Study and scholarship amount:

How many and what kind of classes I will have during studying time?
Everything depends on study that you choose and university. Each university and department has their own timetables. Unfortunately you can‘t get this information before applying, like all new year study programs and information is preparing during that year June-August. But you will get all information from your coordinator when you will come to your city.

Just for example, I was studying in ISI Yogyakarta, ‟Seni Tari“ (traditional dance). In first semester I needed to choose 3 classes that I want to attend. In some days I had lessons from 7.30 am till ~2 pm (with breaks). Other days I had 1 lesson in the morning, 2 lessons in the evening or even only 1 lesson per day. In second semester the time table was different.

Those who didn‘t select study object “Bahasa Indonesian“ (Indonesian language) will get first 2 months of language course (approved only exact hours amount for language courses, so can be that different universities can manage to organize those hours quicker or slower).

Will I have exams like regular university students?
You should have (in some study objects instead of exams – final projects). Just some teachers are more flexible to evaluate you, others the same strict like for local students. Everything depends on university and teachers policy concerning foreigner students.

Most of the time, those who choose “Bahasa Indonesian“ – will have not only exams but as well to write essay and other final works.

Will be enough scholarship amount for living in Indonesia?
In my blog you can find more information about Indonesian scholarship amount and my recommendations how to save money in Indonesia.
When the studies will finish?
In each university it can bit a bit different studies year ending time. Even some of the same university departments finish in different time. So you need to ask your scholarship coordinator in university.
But preliminary studies year finishing between the end of May and end of June.
Even scholarship program closing ceremony can be organized when you won‘t finish officially studies in your university ;).
When I can travel during study year?
There are many opportunities to enjoy long weekends and holidays as there are 13 national holidays in Indonesia. So you can travel during them (but you should know that during such weekends Indonesian people will travel as well, so many places will be quite crowded). As well you will have some long vocations in the end of Christmas till ~the end of January or even middle of February. Again the period depends on each university. Just ask your university scholarship coordinator the timetable of study year, there will be marked all free days from studies :).
Can I quite scholarship program and not stay all 6 months or 1 year?
You should discuss about such case with your university program coordinator, like it can be many important reasons (because of your health condition, some case related with your family issues and etc.).
But if you want to quite because you see that you don‘t manage to live in Indonesia, too many differences between your previous surrounding and etc. I suggest just wait a little bit more ;). Usually at least adapt in new surrounding need not less than 3 months. Some students who quit the program earlier – later regret that they gave up so early and were missing life in Indonesia. So, try to adapt and see positive things, if nothing will change and you will “suffer” in Indonesia then talk with your university program coordinator about quitting the scholarship.

Selection procedure:

Who selects the students for scholarship?
First of all, your application form will read the responsible person in Indonesian embassy in your country.

Then you will have conversation with this person (by “Skype‟ or live). This person will put some notes after meeting and will send your application, notes to Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia (in Jakarta).

Later, the responsible person (or group of them) in Ministry of Education and Culture will read your application and embassies notes. They will make first selection and decide to which university to send your application (for university that you choose like first option or second).

After it, the selected students application forms will be given for university that you applied (first or second option). They will read your application and will decide to choose you or not.

Each university has fixed amount of students that they can accept for scholarship, unfortunately they can‘t accept all applicants that Ministry of Education and Culture send to university.

I don‘t find information about selected students on the day when they should be announced, what to do?
Like many people and institutions are involved in the selection process, sometimes announcement of selected students can delay ~ 1 month from the date that written in the timetable. So you need to be patient and check official Darmasiswa scholarship website for the further information. Usually as well about date changing they inform in Darmasiswa scholarship „Facebook“ page.
What will be after selection?
You can read about it here.

Preparation before coming to Indonesia:

What should I do and what should I take before coming?
Find more my recommendations what to do before coming to Indonesia and what to take to Indonesia. Can be useful to read about vaccines for Indonesia too. 

Living in Indonesia:

What should I know about life in Indonesia?
You should know some things before coming, but many things you will explore, discover by yourself :).

You can find some information here:
Indonesian people lifestyle
Good manners in Indonesia
How to do things in Indonesian style
Interesting facts about Indonesia
Indonesian holidays
Ramadhan and Lebaran in Indonesia


If you didn’t find the answers here – write me or fill the form below and I will try to help :)