A vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a land of contrasts—fiery volcanoes and peaceful seas, crowded cities and distant plantations, modern high-rises and crumbling temples, Komodo dragons and countless tropical birds, young people on scooters wearing brightly-colored sarongs and batik shirts. More than 300 ethnic groups and cultures, with dozens of languages, different social and cultural backgrounds with European, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences make up the unique society of Indonesia.

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Host Family & Community

Expect to attend regular gatherings with extended family. Elders are highly respected and make sure you consult your host parents before making any major decisions. Being a member of the greater community is also important and Indonesians tend to feel indebted to their village, their mosque or their professional organization. Communication styles in Indonesia tend to be indirect, in fact, there are twelve different ways of saying “no” in the Bahasa Indonesian language.


You will probably attend a public high school, which runs from Monday to Saturday (7 am to 1.30 pm). On Friday, the school ends at 11 am because of the noon Muslim prayer. You will wear a school uniform. After school you can learn traditional Indonesian music or dance.

A photo posted by Raihan Mauladi (@raihan_7) on

A photo posted by Coralie gisel (@cocoinindo) on


Although there are more than 583 ethnic-languages and dialects used daily in the country, the official language is Bahasa Indonesia. Having a basic knowledge of English will help. AFS offers language lessons,and will send language study materials before the exchange.


Indonesian cuisine combines indigenous techniques and ingredients with influences from India (curries), the Middle East (kebabs), China (stir-frying) and Europe, including products brought by Spanish and Portuguese traders before the Dutch colonized the islands. Cooking varies widely by region so food can be very spicy or sweet. Fish, coconut and chilies served with rice is a staple. The main meal in Indonesia is usually lunch or dinner and communal cooking with designated roles and hierarchies at the table are common.

Female hands offering food to God, traditional Balinese offerings to gods in Bali with flowers and aromatic sticks

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: July 3, 2018 – May 19, 2019
Birth Date Range: January 3, 2000 – January 3, 2002

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is home to more than 300 ethnic groups and 700 languages and dialects. By attending a local school and living with a host family, you’ll be in a unique position to experience this fascinating and complex society, and will soon come to know why their national motto is “unity in diversity”. In the Indonesian culture where friendliness and hospitality are of the utmost priority, you’ll have the chance to make lots of new friends, learn the language, and become part of the community.

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!