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 couchsurfing.com 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

 

How to prepare before and during rainy season in Indonesia

Rainy season in Indonesia (that usually takes ~6 months) can influence your health condition and damage your belongings. If you are not used to such weather condition you should be prepared to it. What to do during rainy season? Here are my recommendations how to “survive” during rainy season.

What to do before rainy season or when the first rain comes

Place of stay

  • Liking parts: check if there is any liking parts through the roof, wall. Repair/cover it immediately (can ask your owner for help)
  • Gutter: check if the place gutter is clean because if the water during the rain won’t be able to go properly, it will start goes inside your place through walls, windows, and roof.
  • Windows, doors: when you are leaving the place, check your windows and doors. Be sure they close properly. During a tropical rain storm the wind blows the rain sideways and water can come in these cracks.
  • Bamboo roof: if you have such – cover properly the roof from inside.

Discount for travel insurance

Humidity and mushrooms

Because of big humid the mushrooms can damage your clothes, electrical devices, can affect your health condition.

  • Sun: if will be any sun, take out all your stuff to get dry in sun as often as possible (mattress, blankets, pillows, other textile and etc.)
  • Clothes: keep the shoes that you don’t wear in the plastic bags, but often ventilate them in the sun. As well ventilate your clothes often.
  • Electric device: turn on them daily. During the trip, if you will leave anything at home, keep it in plastic boxes.
  • Spaces: ventilate it daily; clean once per week the floor and others places where mushrooms can start to grove because of humid.
  • Furniture: buy special liquid and cover with it your furniture. That prevents wooden furniture from mushrooms and insects that eat wood. Also as often as possible take the furniture outside for a sun.
  • Cleaning equipment: keep it all the time clean, don’t leave in the bathroom.
  • Humidity collector: use special humid collector that possible to buy in bigger supermarkets and often take out collected water from there. As well them are very good for dry season – like humidity level in Indonesia is very high.
  • Fan: if you have it – use daily, to dry your sleeping place or other spaces.

Mosquitoes

  • Body treatment: during rainy season usually there are more mosquitoes and those who can give you Dengue fever (every 5 years in Indonesia exist outbreak of Dengue fever, this year (2015) was the 5th year, so many people got it). So use more often the spry from mosquitoes or other products on your skin.
  • Home implements: use implements at home to prevent the mosquitoes. For example mosquitoes net, electrical devices with lavender smell.
  • Clothes: don’t leave too many clothes hanging in the room, like mosquitoes will hide there. As well somehow black color clothes attract them more.
  • Food: drink more guava fruits. It helps your immunity system be stronger against Dengue fever.

Health

  • Vitamins: drink more vitamin C (you can buy it in the shops, pharmacy). If you have – vitamins that makes your immunity system stronger.
  • Food: drink more warm drinks, if it’s possible with lemon. Eat more soups and warm dishes. Eat properly food and “normal” dose.
  • Clothes: wear clothes that makes you stay warm, cover your neck with scarf. If in the place of staying the floor is from ceramic – wear socks or slippers. If you will get wet, try as soon as possible to change the clothes.
  • During the night: make sure that you will sleep warm (wear warm clothes, cover yourself with warm blanket and etc.)
  • Places: don’t stay in places where windy, drought is.

Be patient waiting for the dry season and take care of yourself, your place and stuff during rainy season :).

If you will be unlucky and will get sick, you can read where to get help –  health institutions in Yogyakarta.

 

Have more tips what to do during rainy season? Please share :)

 

How to save money in Indonesia

In Indonesia, many foreigners feel like millionaires like here everything counted in thousands and millions. On one hand (comparing with European countries or others) in Indonesia you can say that everything is cheap but in another hand – when you live here longer and only from scholarship amount – you need to start to count and make some savings. So here are my recommendations on how to save money during the stay in Indonesia. It’s just advice, nothing is mandatory. Even if I mentioned a lot about the Darmasiswa scholarship, still everyone can save some money – foreign students, travelers, or employees. Also, you will figure out something for yourself as well, after you spend some time in Indonesia.

Notice: all the prices written according 05 2015 information and from Yogyakarta south area.

Home

  • Renting: try to agree to rent the place for the first 6 months and then extend renting 3 months more, like in summer you most probably will travel more than staying at home. The stuff you can ask to keep in other Darmasiswa student’s house. If an owner wants to rent for 12 months, try to negotiate to rent only 9 months then you can save some money for travels or other things.
  • Empty place or not enough things that you need:

    • First, asks the owner of the place, maybe she/he has and not use things that you need.
    • Check “Facebook” groups of Darmasiswa students, maybe somebody sells things that you need or put ad what you are searching for.
    • Check second-hand shops (for furniture, electrical devices and etc.). You can find there cheaper stuff, but before compare similar stuff prices in regular shops. Maybe the difference in the price between the new and second hand won’t be so big and in the shop, you will get a guarantee, second-hand shops don’t give it.
    • Some of the things you can make by yourself, for example, bamboo shelter, you just need an idea, measurements, bamboo, and ropes. All tools you can borrow from the house owner or neighbors.
    • Sometimes Indonesian people, if don’t use things, leaves in front of their house – if you will see something that you need, before taking just ask if you can take it for free.
    • If you need just one piece of something (bamboo, rock or whatever else) just ask to take it for free, therefore can bring some cookies.
    • If you would like sometimes to cook but at home don’t have a stove, buy a small travel stove. You can use it at home and will be useful for camping or longer trips. If you won’t use it frequently – can rent it for other student’s trips.
  • Drinking water: check in different places the prices of new gallons and refills. Like in some places you can find cheaper than in others. Different brands have distinctively different tastes, so try different and choose that you like best.
  • Electricity:
    • Turn off all equipment that you don’t use for a night (for example water dispenser) or during you are leaving, traveling.
    • If the owner will ask to pay the monthly agreed sum with the old electricity counter, ask to show the counter numbers and pay only for the amount that you use (but ask this in a polite way, like such request can be understood like you do not trust the owner, calling them a thief).
    • For the new counter – you can buy at once a bigger amount of prepaid card (“pulsa”) of electricity.
  • Gas: check in different places the prices of new gallons and refills. Like in some places you can find cheaper than in others. Depends on the size of the gallon will be a different price.
  • Internet: if near around your place is any free Wi-Fi spot (in coffee places with Wi-Fi enough to order a drink) – go there to use the internet instead of buying an internet modem (if you are not internet addicted). Before deciding to buy a modem ask local students which operator they are using. Like some operators have a better connection in one area than in another. So don’t take an operator that has the worst connection in your area. You can ask local students maybe somebody has an internet modem that they don’t use. So they can sell you cheaper or give you for free. For example, I bought an internet modem from a local student for 150 000 Rp and the same one, new in the shop costs 270 000 Rp. In providers, client service office managers put “pulsa” without a fee.
  • Textile: if you want to cover something or to buy curtains and etc. you can make it by yourself – there are places where you can buy textile by kilos or buy material in shops. There are many places that can sew for you what you want. It will cheaper than buying already sewed stuff in the shop and you will have exactly what you want and need.

Food

  • Cook at home: if you calculate that cheaper to cook at home than eat in “warungs” – do it. The main thing, if you don’t have a fridge the food won’t be a fresh couple of days. The fruits are fresh in Indonesia, so you need to eat for a maximum of a couple of days, otherwise, ants and other insects will make their job :D
  • Markets/ small shops: buy food and small stuff in the nearest market (better to visit in the early morning till ~8:00 am) or in small shops near your place. I was surprised that the same stuff in big supermarkets is more expensive than in small ones. As well as check a couple of different small shops, sometimes even in the same street different shops sells cheaper the same stuff.
  • Neighbors: if it’s possible to buy fruits, vegetables, or other stuff from neighbors. It will make a stronger relationship with neighbors as well you can get a better price.
  • “Warungs”: eat-in “warungs” in small streets. Check some streets around your place. Sometimes “warungs” in front of busy streets are more expensive than in small streets. For example “soto” (rice soup) in small street “warung” cost ~ 6 000 Rp, in bigger street ~ 10 000 Rp.
  • Imported food: everywhere imported food will be expensive. If you need some spices for your cooking (like oregano and etc.) ask to send your family from your home country – probably in your country it’s cheaper than here.

Clothes

  • Misfit: if you have some clothes that not fit you anymore, damage some parts and etc. instead of buying new, you can try to make from it something else. For example from pans – shorts, a T-shirt with sleeves – without sleeves and etc.
  • Dislike: if you dislike some of your clothes, you can organize a clothes exchange between other students. They will have as well things that they don’t wear anymore – so you can just change, instead of buying new ones.

Travels

  • KITAS (“Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas” – temporary stay permit card): to most of the visiting places you will get a bigger discount with KITAS than with a student card. So be patient and visit for example Borobudur after you will get KITAS.
  • Couchsurfing.com: during the travels stay in “couchsurfing” members’ places.
  • Local friends: ask your Indonesian friends maybe they have relatives or friends in a place where you are planning to go, so maybe you could stay in their place, rent cheaper a motorbike and etc.
  • Time: go on trips during the rainy season – the prices will be cheaper and in different islands the rainy season is different. For example in January, when in Java was raining a lot, on Lombok island 3 weeks during my trip – wasn’t any rain.

Other

    • Ask local students which operator they are using, like most they are using the cheapest one and that has a good connection in the exact area. But the cheapest one – sometimes means not the best quality of connection and sometimes can’t be reachable in some areas.
    • Before choosing an operator answer yourself what you need mostly – write SMS, use the internet on mobile, and something else? Compare some operators prices by your requirements and then choose,
    • Instead of writing SMS, you can use “Watsapp”, “Viber” like Indonesians use these programs more often than write SMS and also it will be cheaper.
    • Put at the once a bigger amount of prepaid sum “pulsa” – like every time to put “pulsa” (for service) will cost.
    • Talk with local peoples/neighbors: usually, they know someone who can help you, knows someone who has something and etc. – so you can get things a bit cheaper.
  • Fuel for motorbikes: put the fuel in petrol stations it will be cheaper around ~500 – 1 500 Rp per liter than buy in the streets from bottles. In the evening the petrol stations can be closed, so take care to put fuel before, because at night people who are selling fuel in bottles asks more money than during the day time.
  • Natural products: instead of buying some chemicals products you can try to use naturals ones.
    • For example, if your home floor is made from cement and it dusty, use coconut cutting – it will make your floor darker and the dust won’t be stuck.
    • From coconut milk, you can make some products for your skin, hair (in the internet there are many recipes).
    • To clean oily hands you can use the plant (in Bahasa Indonesian) “kemangi”.
    • Instead of buying air fresher for the bathroom – use coffee, it will observe all the bad smells in the bathroom.
    • Talk with elder neighbors – they will give you advice on what to use natural products.
  • Before buying anything: spend some time to check some different places and compare the prices of the same stuff. It can help you to save some money especially when you will just arrive and will need to buy some stuff as well for things that you are planning to buy quite often.
  • Laundry: if you don’t want to pay for laundry service – clean your stuff by yourself. To dry it during the rainy season will be a bit more difficult but possible.
  • Parking: usually the motorbike parking costs 1 000 – 2 000 Rp (other places and 3 000). If you are going somewhere with a friend with 1 motorbike (for example shopping in the supermarket) the friend can stay on a motorbike and you take all stuff that needed – in such case the parking guys won’t charge you for the parking fee.

 

The main tip – negotiate the price anywhere, anytime.

  • If you know that some things you will buy all the time, try to buy in the same seller to show your locality and ask to get those things cheaper.
  • Barge the price in second-hand shops, markets. Like the first price will be given like for foreigner, better even go with a local friend, ask him to barge the price.
  • Ask for a discount on transport and any other places – like you are a student can show your student card.
  • If in the shop there are no price tags – you can negotiate the price.

Do you know other tips? Share your advice and help others! :)

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

Other useful information
What you can do with 1 EUR in Indonesia
Cost of living in Indonesia