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Boasting a burgeoning expat community, Jakarta offers a plethora of international schools, entertainment avenues, and community activities for expat families conducted in English and other languages.
Jakarta presents a unique environment for raising globally minded children amidst a rich cultural tableau, teaching them to interact with all kinds of people and learn from the diverse cultural offerings.
Finding childcare solutions in Jakarta is convenient for expat families. Indonesian nannies are used to working with foreign families and can accommodate most requests and needs. Nannies can grow very attached to children and can become the go-to person when requiring help in translating something or just dealing with life in Jakarta.
Education in Jakarta
Expat parents will find a diverse range of schools in Jakarta catering to different educational philosophies. The biggest challenge will be to decide which programme fits the needs of a child and the family.
International schools in Jakarta are often the preferred choice for expat families who know that they will be in Jakarta for a specific length of time. The curriculum followed is easily validated and transferable to other international schools in different countries and even back home, wherever that might be. Most of the international schools’ excellent staff, from the principal to the teachers, is composed of expats.
An expat’s school of choice will likely determine the area where they search for rental accommodation in Jakarta. Traffic conditions in the city can be a significant hindrance to some kids’ activities, so parents will need to find a home close to their children’s school to ensure that they can take advantage of everything the school has to offer.
Entertainment for kids in Jakarta
While the entertainment scene may vary from their home countries, expats in Jakarta will find ample engaging activities for their children.
Both local and expat families in Jakarta enjoy the extensive mall culture, which offers a variety of indoor entertainment options for children. Malls in Jakarta are large, and they typically have multiple storeys of food, entertainment and shops. Malls are a great place to find entertainment options for the children as they have indoor playgrounds, bowling allies, family-friendly karaoke venues and movie theatres.
Venturing beyond the city limits, expat families can explore natural attractions like the tea plantations in Bandung or the botanical gardens in Bogor. The tea plantations and strawberry farms in Bandung are a great option for those wanting to teach their children about nature. Finally, the botanical gardens and zoo in Bogor provide a nice break from the pollution and the hustle and bustle of the Big Durian.
Challenges for expat parents in Jakarta
As a rapidly growing city, Jakarta faces infrastructural challenges that may impact expat families. The infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the huge growth spurt it has experienced in the last few years, and this is evident in the quality of the construction of the different systems, from highways to sewerage.
The traffic congestion in Jakarta poses a significant challenge for many expats, especially when navigating with children. The lack of clean sidewalks and the poor air quality do not allow for alternate modes of transport, and using public transport with children is not recommended. Taking a stroller out for a walk is difficult unless it is done at the mall.
Language differences and understanding local cultural norms in Jakarta can sometimes lead to miscommunications for expats. They often wouldn’t correctly interpret a local’s intentions, not because of a language barrier but more because of a difference in culture; for example, the different emphasis placed on ‘saving face’. It may be helpful to learn the local language and read up on the local cultural norms in order to bridge the communication divide.
Are you an expat living in Jakarta?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Jakarta. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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