the building blocks of communication…

Language is a very important part of life, it’s the building block of communication. When you cannot speak properly, you cannot communicate, which is so frustrating! I’ve been trying to learn Bahasa Indonesia on my own this past because I couldn’t find a good class here in Jakarta. Since I’m around so much English every day, it’s been really hard to just pick it up…which is why I decided I wanted to find an official class. In September, my boss found a great two-week intensive 60-hour program and recommended it to me—and I signed up right away!

The only problem with the class was it’s location—it was all the way in downtown Jakarta and I wasn’t going to be able to have access to the car, so I didn’t know how I would get there. Well I found out that my friend Valen (who lives in the same area I do) works right next to the school—so she was awesome and showed me the ropes about taking the bus to class so that I could do it on my own my first day.


Every morning I left my house at 5:30am to catch an ojek (motorcycle taxi) and an ancot to get to the street where I could catch the bus into downtown Jakarta. The bus that I took was really nice—it was actually very much like the buses in Madrid. I discovered throughout my two weeks riding the bus that Indonesian flash cards on the bus is a great way to make friends. The girls that would sit next to me were always curious and we were able to have some great chats!

I was a little nervous about the class itself and to be honest not really sure what to expect. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised at how great it was, even from the first session the first day. After working at JMU in the faculty professional development office for a year I learned a lot about proper pedagogy—particularly when it came to intensive seminars—so I tend to notice that kind of thing whenever I attend a seminar. The CFI staff would have been so proud at their course design and layout of my Bahasa Indonesia course! I loved that the three teachers were very different and had very different teaching styles, so it gave us multiple perspectives on both the material and Indonesian cultural observations.

Not only did we get to learn in the classroom, but we got to go on a fun adventure to the market Friday afternoon! We were given a blank list that we needed to fill it in with the names and prices of  10 fruits, 10 vegetables, 4 types of coffee beans, and 3 things we thought were weird. It was so fun! And of course, at the end we had to take a group bonding photo, haha!


I ended up really making friends with my classmates. I guess when you go through an intensive language learning process you sort of bond with the people who are on the same journey. We would go get lunch together every day. Some days we would practice our vocab words and other days we would just hang out. Today, the last day of class, was the most fun. We finish our test early so we had a longer lunch break. We decided as a group to go to this really cool Greek place across the street. The food was delicious and the company great!

Basically the class was incredible! The teachers were fantastic, the material was great, and my classmates were wonderful. I forgot how much I really do love school. I guess now that I’ve been out of school for two years I was actually able to enjoy being a student—complete with about 200 vocabulary notecards! And I think more than a particular set of words, what I really look away was how to study Indonesian. It’s very different than learning Spanish as a kid or French in school. But I’ve figured out my system and am excited to continue my journey towards fluency!