Thomas - ACICIS - Study Indonesia

B Commerce/B Laws (Honours)
Semester 1, 2023


I really wanted the chance to experience studying in a completely different environment and culture. I also wanted to see how the legal systems of other countries compared to Australia.

Personal Development

I gained a lot from my experience in Indonesia. I was able to learn basic Indonesian which helped me greatly with interacting with classmates and the community in general. I also become more confident and outgoing; as people were always interested in talking to me to learn more about Australia I routinely was meeting new people and learning new aspects of life in Indonesia.

Academic Development

There were some differences in the academic system in Indonesia. Attendance is very important, or at least the university I attended. The role is marked every lesson and you can fail if you attend less than 75% of classes. There are also generally more contact hours in a fulltime study load than in Australia, meaning you will likely go to University most days of the week, unless you take a lower study load. On the other hand, this means that you don't have to do as much independent study as at UQ since you have enough time in class to understand the content. There is also a dress code for universities. Men usually have to wear collared shirts, long pants and closed in shoes.

Professional Development

I have learnt how to be more independent and to solve problems. For example, the system for paying rent and utilities at my accommodation was very different to back in Australia. It was quite complex, but with my broken Indonesian and perseverance I was able to resolve this in one day. Multitudes of small problems like this came up during my time and each time I had to explore unknown territory to find the solution. I also needed to get used to how classes and assignments worked, but by communicating with my classmates this was not too difficult to achieve.


Your costs will vary greatly depending on your lifestyle. For example, I loved Indonesian food and so was able to save a lot of money by eating at local food stalls and warungs. I also got a long-term motorbike rental which saved me money in transportation as compared to taking grabs (taxis) everywhere. There is also lots of variety with regard to accommodation. You can spend anywhere from $80 to $700 a month depending on what amenities and features you want. 

This is a rough idea of some of the costs I had during the exchange:

  • Accommodation: $220 a month
  • Utilities: $15 a month
  • Groceries and other shopping: $60 a month
  • Motorbike rent: $80 a month
  • Petrol: $30 a month
  • Food: $5 a day (Indonesian food)


The funding I received was invaluable to me. Without it I would not have been able to afford to go on exchange. I used the funding to pay for the flights, the visa, other administration costs, university supplies (including laptop) and necessities (blankets, lamp, towels etc). Afterwards I used the funding to support my living costs for the first couple of months of the exchange.


ACICIS paired me with a student from my host University and he helped me through the process of finding accommodation. He made a list of different student accommodation properties and together we went around on his motorbike to look and inquire in person about vacancies. He would then translate for me in my conversations with the accommodation owners/managers. He showed me several different options for different budgets and I was able to make an informed choice. Without him it would have been very difficult, as I knew no Indonesian at the beginning of the exchange and English is not widely spoken in Yogyakarta.


My highlight was exploring around the city of Yogyakarta. There are some amazing waterfalls and scenery there which I will remember forever. There was also an active volcano north of the city which looked incredible when the sky was clear.

Advice/Top Tips

  1. Make an effort to learn some Indonesian in the first few months, especially numbers. It makes living in Indonesia so much easier.
  2. Try all the different kinds of local foods, there is something for everyone.
  3. Join all the class WhatsApp groups early on. This way you will stay updated about any class changes or assignments.
  4. Explore the countryside and see what you can find.5. Get involved in the community and try the activities on offer.