Student life in Jakarta
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Updated 3 weeks ago

Studying in Jakarta is an interesting opportunity for foreigners. Jakarta can offer international students with almost everything they can dream of, from low tuition fees and living costs to world-class education and an exciting lifestyle. Find out everything you need to know about being an international student in Jakarta and make the most out of your stay in this wonderful metropolis.

Tuition fees in Jakarta

It's worth noting that there are national universities and private universities in Jakarta. National universities are subsidised by the government and thus, have lower tuition fees. Studying at national universities can cost anywhere around IDR 2 million to IDR 7.5 million ($140 to $525) per semester, depending on your major. Meanwhile, tuition fees at private universities can range from IDR 5 million to IDR 15 million ($350 to $1,000) per semester.

Student accommodation in Jakarta

International students in Jakarta have many accommodation options they can choose from. Some universities, like Universitas Indonesia, UPH University, and Binus University, offer on-campus accommodations or dorms located near the campus. You can choose to live with a roommate or by yourself. Unlike in many other countries, on-campus dorms can actually be a more expensive choice for students in Jakarta.

That is why most students prefer "kost", which is the Indonesian version of an affordable apartment. Much like a dorm, you can choose to share your room or live alone. You will also be sharing the building or house with 10-50 other people. This usually means you will also be sharing the kitchen and the bathrooms with other people.

The different "kost" offer a range of amenities, such as a fully furnished room, en-suite bathroom, AC, free electricity, free wi-fi, and more. More facilities equal higher rent. Renting a "kost" room in buildings that are closer to campus buildings also tend to be more expensive than in those that are further away. "Kost" is an excellent option for those with a limited budget. You can choose a room that doesn't only suit your needs, but also your budget.

Eating out in Jakarta

You will never go hungry when you live in Jakarta. Most universities will have their own canteens, featuring food stalls which sell affordable meals. Outside of campus, you can find a lot of food hawkers on the roadside, selling delicious and cheap dishes. For the complete experience of living in Jakarta, don't forget to try eating at Wartegs and Padang restaurants. Both establishments are essentially food buffet restaurants on a budget.

If you are lucky enough to have a shared kitchen in your dorm or "kost", make sure to take full advantage of it. Prepare light meals in the morning to save money later on. You can buy cheap fresh produce and spices at local traditional markets or supermarkets.

Leisure activities in Jakarta

You will never get bored in Jakarta. There are a lot of leisure activities to try out in Jakarta. First, university sports, arts, and hobbies clubs and societies are a common thing. Joining them is a great way to make friends with the same hobbies. Moreover, these clubs and societies are guaranteed to make your student life more vibrant and exciting. Most of them often organise events and parties regularly. So make sure to keep yourself updated about these exciting events.

When in Jakarta, do as the Jakartans do. The locals love visiting shopping malls, not necessarily because they love shopping though. Instead, that is because malls in Jakarta are basically one-stop shopping and entertainment centres. Malls are a fantastic place to have fun and hang out with your friends. You can find just about everything in malls, such as restaurants, cafes, multiplex cinemas, arcades, and gyms. Some unique malls have parks, bowling alleys, swimming pools, and even exciting attractions such as a Ferris wheel!

Jakarta also offers an exciting nightlife scene. Just remember that alcohol and smoking are usually prohibited in campus areas, dorms, and "kosts". But, that doesn't mean you can't let off your steam. As long as you are 21 years old or older, you can get into clubs and bars to drink alcohol.

Student discounts and deals in Jakarta

Never forget to bring your Student ID card. You can get a lot of discounts and deals by simply producing your Student ID in Jakarta. Restaurants, cafes, bookstores, and gyms are especially generous to students. Entertainment centres like karaoke places, bowling alleys, waterparks, and cinemas often have student deals during the weekdays as well. Lastly, if you want to have a full cultural experience of Jakarta, don't forget to visit the museums scattered around the city. They offer special ticket prices for students too!

Part-time and freelance jobs in Jakarta

If you are on a tight budget, getting a part-time or freelance job may help your situation. There are no regulations which limit international students from taking small jobs here and there. The first place you should ask is your own university. Some universities' marketing offices are often more than happy to give their students the opportunity to work part-time.

Alternatively, you may also find work as a lab assistant or a professor's personal assistant in class. You may also be able to find part-time jobs as a barista or waiter in restaurants and cafes.

Freelancing is also gaining popularity among students. Businesses and organisations often hire freelance content writers and graphic designers. Teaching gigs are also common. If you are a native English or Mandarin speaker, you can open small language classes and teach junior high school and high school students to get some extra cash.

Useful links:

Info Kost (Only available in Bahasa Indonesia)
Mami Kos (Only available in Bahasa Indonesia)
Studentjob Indonesia (Only available in Bahasa Indonesia)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.