Teaching English in Indonesia: Traveling Teacher Series

How do you become an English teacher in Indonesia? I interviewed Sudeshna who moved from India to Indonesia! She shares tips and thoughts on how she became a teacher there.

The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel and you guessed it teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find the opportunities?

There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share this story of teaching English in Indonesia with you!

This week I am excited to bring you a story about a teacher in Indonesia! This is an interesting interview because Sudeshna used a site I’ve heard so many travelers talk about- WorkAway to find her teaching experience! I’ve always wondered about using WorkAway and now some questions have been answered.

Sudeshna is a travel blogger from India and made her first solo trip when she taught in Indonesia. She has a three year old daughter and a husband who also loves to travel. You can read more about her and her adventures here.

What inspired you to start teaching in Indonesia?

Before I decided to teach in Indonesia, I never thought of teaching. I am a Power engineer and did my MBA in strategy and energy. After almost 10 years of corporate experience, I quit my job in November 2017. I was feeling something was missing in my job and wanted to spend some more quality time with my 3 years old daughter. So after lot of thought I gave my resignation. (Believe me it was not an easy decision to make!)

After I get free from my 9am -7pm working hour (are you shocked? In India, most of the corporate job hours actually sucks!!), I wanted to visit Indonesia and do some significant activity. I was searching and got an offer for teaching. I thought this is something I’ve never tried in my life, so let’s try teaching.

How long did you teach and where? 

I teach in a small place in Central Java- Klaten. The nearest big city is Yogyakarta (the place is famous for Borobudur, one of the World heritage sites). I have taught for two weeks. I wanted to spend some more time with the students there, but I was missing my daughter terribly, so had to come back.

Were any of your expenses covered with the teaching experience?

I was given accommodation by the host (the owner of the school). It was an English language school where the students can learn English with fun. The curriculum consisted of many games, pretend play etc. Also the host showed me many beautiful places around the Klaten. Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, Umbul Pongok are a few names. The host also took me to the Puppet show and one musical drama by the school students of Indonesia.

The rest of the expenses (plane ticket, food, convenience, etc.) were covered by me.

How did you find the program or opportunity to teach abroad?

I found the opportunity from WorkAway.

This is a wonderful platform for travelers, who wants to know the true culture of the country. You have to register by paying some money and then you can connect to any host you want in the country you are hoping to visit. Based on the mutual acceptance, you can do any kind of help you want to do (teaching, farming, cooking, babysitting etc.). Most of the host will support your accommodation/food etc.

Were you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching? 

Yes, I am a passionate traveler, so in between my teaching I explored the Klaten & Yogyakarta area and after two weeks of teaching I went to Bali and Jakarta. I spent 5 days in Bali & Nusa Penida. All those places are very beautiful and I will never forget the picturesque beaches of Nusa Penida. It is a small island near Bali.

What were interactions with students like?  

Interactions with the students were awesome, and after teaching/interacting with them I realized how much I love teaching. They were so interested to know about the Indian Culture and the country. It was very interesting to learn Indonesian culture from the kids.

In the school, I interacted with various age groups (10-22 years old) and I enjoyed teaching them, playing with them, discussing about the food, and festivals of both the countries.

What was your favorite part of teaching abroad? 

As I already mentioned that I hadn’t taught before I went to Indonesia. After I taught there, I loved the experience so much that I started teaching in India as well. I realized that interactions with people around the world will help the students know those countries better. It can really broaden their mind. At the same time, teaching helps me to explore new things which enhance my quest of learning.

What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?

I would recommend that you try to interact more with the students and discuss their likes and dislikes. It will really help you to understand the culture and people of the country. You can ask for suggestions for food, places to see, and this will help you to explore the country in a better way. In addition to that, interact with the other teachers can also help you to know the country in more meaningful way.

You can follow Sudeshna on her social media listed below. For more about Indonesia and other awesome destinations, make sure you check out her blog!




For more about the traveling teachers series, click here.

Want more stories of Teaching in Asia? Here are some stories that might interest you:

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  4. Teaching English in Japan
  5. Teaching English in Thailand
  6. Teaching English in Cambodia
  7. Teaching English in Vietnam
  8. The Truth about Teaching in China

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