Tropical jungles, vibrant wildlife, endless sandy beaches and plenty of ancient temples to explore; Indonesia is a dream.
Possibly one of the most Instagram-able places on the planet, Indonesia boasts crystal clear waters, majestic volcanoes and thousands of idyllic islands to discover – all in a country where there’s always high demand for TEFL teachers and some great salaries to be had.
What’s more, because of Indonesia’s varied landscapes, you can take your pick from a wide range of locations. From buzzing metropolises like Jakarta or Bandung, to quaint little towns like Bukittinggi or Yogyakarta, you’re bound to find your perfect TEFL match.
Good news too…The salary for TEFL teachers in Indonesia is quite high in comparison to the very low cost of living, so you should be able to live comfortably and perhaps even save a little for your future travels!
£800-£1,350 per month
Cost of living
TEFL certificate needed
120 hours +
Main job types
Private language schools
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The four main types of TEFL jobs found in Indonesia are in public schools, private schools, private language centres and private tutoring – so there are plenty to choose from.
Most schools and centres will offer contracts that include 20 – 25 hours of teaching per week and you’ll probably spend the rest of your working hours planning lessons and creating resources for classes.
English is the most spoken second language in Indonesia, but the government has recently changed its focus to the native language of Bahasa. With that in mind, there are fewer English teaching jobs in public schools than there used to be, but there are still lots of opportunities around.
In private school education, English tends to be considered as more important, so there are tons of TEFL jobs in this type of institute and you can expect great salaries and some handy benefits to go along with it.
Private language centres also offer plenty of opportunities as there are many of them around Indonesia. With this type of work, you’d be teaching a wide range of ages from young children to university level students.
Alternatively, or as a way to make some extra cash, you could look for work as a private TEFL tutor. Mainly found in the bigger cities, you can find work teaching English to children and / or adults of all ages – or you could even work for companies who fund English lessons for their employees.
Good news! The salary for TEFL teachers in Indonesia is quite high in comparison to the very low cost of living, so you should be able to live comfortably and perhaps even save a little for your future travels! In general, you can earn around 14,450,000-24,600,000 IDR / £800-1,350 / $1,000-1,700 per month, depending on your level of experience.
The cost of living in Indonesia is extremely low, particularly in relation to the teaching salaries that are on offer – it’s cheaper than Cambodia, China, Malaysia or Vietnam. In Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital city, a single person can live off approximately £400 per month, not including rent.
In terms of accommodation, you can expect to pay around £200 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in Jakarta city centre or around £150 a month outside of the city centre. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will only cost you about £1.50, a beer will be roughly the same and a one-way transport ticket will cost around 25p.
To teach English in Indonesia, you’ll need a work visa called a KITAS, which also doubles up as your identification while inside the country. These are normally valid for 6-12 months and can be extended for up to a maximum of five years. Once you’ve been offered a job (hurray!), your employer will sponsor your application and help you arrange your visa.
To obtain the visa, you’ll need to be from an English-speaking country such as the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. If you’re not from one of these countries, unfortunately, you won’t be eligible to apply for the KITAS visa.
You’ll also need to be between the ages of 25-50, hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject and have a TEFL/TESOL certificate with at least 120 hours of TEFL training completed – the more hours you’ve completed, the better.
As is the case with most TEFL jobs abroad, the best place to find work is online via TEFL jobs boards such as LoveTEFL Jobs. You can browse through the jobs and apply for any that you’re eligible for – you’ll probably be asked to submit your CV at the same time. The hiring process normally involves a Skype or phone interview with the employer and then a potential job offer.
Otherwise, if you’re on the ground in Indonesia, you can apply for jobs both online and in person – but bear in mind, you aren’t allowed to work while your KITAS application is being processed.
The largest concentration of TEFL jobs in Indonesia can be found on the island of Java. Home to most of the big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Yogyakarta, Java is the central hub of the country and houses an amazing blend of modern cities, multiple volcanoes and ancient architecture.
In the Northwest of Java is the city of Jakarta. It’s hectic, vibrant and full of life – with plenty of teaching opportunities to go around. Some of the pros of TEFLing in Jakarta include a choice of great restaurants, cafes and bars, stunning Dutch colonial buildings and an eclectic mix of cultures and languages to get to grips with.
Alternatively, but also on the isle of Java, the city of Surabaya has lots to see. Offering an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions, including China Towns and an Arab Quarter, it may seem like nothing more than a transit city at first, but it has plenty more to offer upon a little exploration in side streets.
Or, how about Bandung? It’s known as a buzzing urban hub full of personality, art and coffee. Although it may be surrounded by tea plantations and volcanoes, Bandung is more for those craving an interesting city life rather than nature and relaxation (or maybe a bit of both!).
Also on Java, Yogyakarta is the place to go for traditional arts and culture – ideal if you’d like to learn about the quintessential Indonesian way of life while wandering around stunning temples and picturesque gardens. Dreamy.
Arguably the most desirable place to teach English in Indonesia; Bali is another option. TEFLing here, you’ll find beautiful beaches, a wide array of restaurants and international cuisine, plenty of entertainment and bars and all in a relaxed atmosphere. However, it’s also the most competitive place to find teaching work (we wonder why…?), and it may be difficult for brand new TEFL teachers to secure a job.
Apart from the fact that you’ll earn a good salary and benefit from a low cost of living, there’s plenty more to learn about life in this amazing country. First things first, the weather is to die for.
Indonesia has a hot, tropical climate with occasional downpours but generally consistent temperatures of 26-30°C year-round. The wet season runs from October to April and the dry season takes place between May and September.
Indonesian culture is made up of a combination of many different religions, some of the main ones being Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism and Christianity. These, amongst its rich heritage and history, have shaped Indonesia into the diverse country it is today – and you can see manifestations of these in art, architecture and music all around the islands.
For all the foodie’s out there, you’ll be glad to know that Indonesia has tons of incredible dishes on offer. Mainly made up of rice, vegetables and meat, there are some familiar Chinese and Indian influences in the local cuisine but also lots of indigenous dishes to sink your teeth in to (see what we did there…?). “Soto”, Indonesian soup made up of broth, meat and vegetables, is widely eaten around the country, as is “satay” (meat in peanut sauce) and “nasi goreng”, which is fried rice with meat and sometimes, egg. Mmmm!
TEFL teachers demand
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
Our Indonesia TEFL rating
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