Jakarta : Is anyone there or been there?

(6 Posts)
Okkitokkiunga Wed 05-Oct-16 12:17:44

Hi,

DH looking at a job in Jakarta. Is ex-pat and the package seems good. USD90K salary, housing, schools, flights home & transport. What is it actually like to live there in terms of safety, attitude to foreigners, social life, and most importantly, the life for our children. DD is 9 and DS 7.

Thanks

ifink Wed 05-Oct-16 17:09:30

I'm currently living in Jakarta. It is probably one of the harder places to live in SE Asia. Think crazy crazy traffic, dirty, poor quality/choice of food, housing that falls apart/leaks (although looks OK on the outside), lots of poverty and no green space....at all. Sounds like a decent package (housing/schools being extremely expensive so thats all covered). You will need a driver and car. My kids are the same age as yours and love their international school which provides lot of great activities. I have met some brill expats, I love the social life (although it is nothing like Singapore...much much smaller numbers of foreigners), and I feel safe in most places. I hate the fact that there are no outside parks and the risk of dengue fever is high. HTH

Okkitokkiunga Wed 05-Oct-16 19:52:37

Thanks. If you don't mind me asking, how long have you been there? Is your DH happy with work/commute? Do you have an apartment or a house? If you knew then what you know now, would you still go? I'm a bit more adventurous than DH. We've only done European moves so far.

Sorry about all the questions.

UnderTheGreenwoodTree Wed 05-Oct-16 20:12:55

My dad worked out there for 10yrs in the 90's. 2 of my siblings went to the British International school there, and loved it.

I visited him out there -my dad was very happy working there, and the Indonesian people are IMO amongst the loveliest in the world. It is an amazing place, but obviously a massive culture shock, if you've only been in Europe. There is masses of poverty out there, that your dc will see, but from behind a screen of privilege iyswim.

PP is right, you will need a car with a driver - my dad sometimes drove us, and we were always, always stopped by the police, where he's have to give them a backhander. You will see people begging everywhere, and you will be harassed by street sales people everywhere, because you are white/western.

They had a house with a pool out there at first, then moved to an apartment with gym/pool etc. Both were lovely, and I always felt very safe out there. The crime experienced by expats seemed to be limited to pick-pocketing/bag slashing when I was there - but I'm well aware that Indonesia has changed politically since the 90s - so do your research carefully.

The expat community was strong when I visited, and the standard of living very good. My stepmum wasn't as happy out there as my dad - she was homesick and at a loose end while my dad worked long, long hours. However, I would say my sibling's lives (they were about 10 and 8 then) were enriched by the experience.

If you embrace new cultures, and are prepared to be fairly enclosed in an expat bubble of drivers, maids, International schools, expat get-togethers etc, then you should go for it. I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit there.

Okkitokkiunga Wed 05-Oct-16 20:34:22

Thanks Greenwood

ifink Thu 06-Oct-16 07:31:02

Hi OP, I've been there a year - it's completely flown by to by honest!
We picked where to live due to proximity both to school and my DH's work - this is very important as commutes can be very long depending on where you live. Be aware that if using the school bus it is very expensive, so worth seeing if your package includes that in 'education' (sorry forgot about that before) - you can probably find from the websites for British School Jakarta and JIS (Jakarta Intercultural School) the actual prices.

I honestly couldn't put my children on a school bus out to the British school as it is a long way from where we chose to live (up to 1.5 hours getting home, pick ups at 6.20 am in the morning from us!) and there were other closer schools (probably not so well regarded though but you'll find there is a lot of snobbery over international schoolssmile) - but you find that many expats will put children on buses without such concern, we are all different

We live in a compound as DH's company insist that we do. It is a large one with about 50 townhouses, a gym, pools, tennis courts etc. It is great for new people as you meet people at the pool etc. The other advantage of this set up or an apartment is that all the security is provided by the compound/building. If you live in a house, you will need security guards and probably a gardener to attend to the pool etc - sometimes houses have these already employed by the landlord, sometimes you will have to do it yourself. Living in a house gives you the peace from the city life and you can shut yourself away and breathe! I find the compound is very busy all of the time with children constantly coming over to play - my kids love it but I find it exhausting at times.

Employing staff is hard in Indonesia - it can be very hit and miss on whether they can a) understand you and b) can actually do the job (and won't just fleece you!!). Same for DH at work - his colleagues are warm and friendly but competency standards and work ethics are very very different to Europe/US and can lead to a lot of frustration!
I love Indonesian people and their food and culture and it is fantastic to explore other parts of the country. Don't be fooled into thinking flights to Bali and Lombok are cheap - they aren't! which is annoying and travelling at weekends outside Jakarta involves serious hours in the car so you will find that you spend a lot of time at home.
HTH

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