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Apprehensions About Moving to Indonesia

Many of our web site readers send in specific questions to the webmaster regarding their special concerns. Some people are apprehensive about the uncertainties of moving to Indonesia. That is to be expected. For many expats, their assignment in Indonesia will be the first time they've ever lived abroad.

Just remember that a positive mental attitude, a sense of adventure and a posture of flexibility will get greatly assist you in your adjustment to your new life in Indonesia!

Below we list, in no particular order, responses from the webmaster and other readers to various questions posted by regarding general or specific apprehensions.

Well, it's far, far away.

We're only far away when you look at the globe! Let me put it this way. My Mom tells her friends "When she moved to Indonesia it seemed like my daughter moved to Mars. When she finally got a phone after 2 years it seemed like she moved across the world. When she got Email it seems like she moved to Seattle." I keep in close touch with my family - at least 3-4 times a week. I "talk" more with them now than when I was living in Houston, Texas.

I have two daughters (8 and 9).

I have 3 kids. A son 12, a son 10 and a daughter 8. My kids havelived here since they were 3 1/2, 15 months and 2 weeks old. They've grownup here. It's home. Kids can have a WONDERFUL life in Indonesia. There is so much to do for kids and the experience of going to an international school and the broadening of their minds is one that will change their lives forever!

My wife has never really traveled that much.

I hadn't either before the first time I came to Indonesia in 1977. I was 21 years old and had no idea what I was getting myself into. I quickly made friends and started a new life - albeit in very different surroundings than what I had been in before. If you can imagine, there are from 25 to 30,000 foreigners living in Jakarta (depending on whose estimates you believe). There are PLENTY of women in EXACTLY the same situation as she is in. There is a very active Canadian Women's Association in Jakarta. They meet monthly and have lots of activities. She can also join "North American Americans":) in the American Women's Association, or the Australian New Zealand Women's Association. There are expat women here who live a very western lifestyle! Or at least they start out that way. They get busy in their churches, school activities for kids, weekends at the beach, play bridge with friends, learn tennis, etc. Get my drift. A lot of the activities that we have at home, are also found in Indonesia. You are also moving into a "community" of other expatriates who are all going through various stages of the same experience. One that you can go through TOGETHER.

I'm wondering about how we will get along there, is it excessively hot, are there a lot of critters we don't know about, and a million other things. (wow she says, sorry I asked) :-\

You will get along fine on some days, not so fine on other days, great on others ... it all depends on what's going on. The early months are hard as you are learning your way around and making friends and equipping your house and hiring servants and getting the kids settled in school, and exploring the city ... Then the next thing you know you turn around and you are SETTLED and BUSY in the community!

Yes, it's hot. The high humidity is hard to get used to at first, but you will - we all do. It is actually hotter where I grew up (Central Washington State) than in Indonesia, but it's dry there.

Yes there are lots of critters here that are new. Some are ugly, some are beautiful (you should see the butterflies in Sulawesi!), others are hairy - orangutan, others are noisy - pet monkeys. Yes, there are mosquitoes- and cockroaches - but you can keep them out of your house with a few simple precautions. There is a really good section in the book Introducing Indonesia: A Guide for Expatriates called "Critters and Varmints" with very practical information on how to keep them out of your living space.

We also are wondering about schooling and health care. Is it primarily public or private provision of these services we would be concerned with and if so, what are the costs?

The international school here is light years ahead of any public or private school in my hometown of 100,000. Check out our list of international schools - several have web sites and you can "see" them firsthand.

Again, Introducing Indonesia deals with this topic IN DEPTH! Private provision of medical care is what expats use. Overall costs are much cheaper than at home. What isn't available here is available in Singapore - a short flight away.