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10 Reasons to Learn Indonesian Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

It’s never hard coming up with reasons not to study a language: it’s time-consuming, it costs money, it’s difficult; the list goes on and on. While putting off language learning is easy, convincing yourself that you need to put forth the time, effort, and cash to study a foreign tongue is a bit tough. Luckily for you, I’ve gone ahead and done that for you. Here are 10 reasons (in my humble opinion) to learn Indonesian:

1. Grow your brain.

Giving yourself the challenge of learning a new language and regularly speaking it helps promote brain growth. This great article discusses seven cognitive advantages of learning a second language, including an improved memory and even better English!

2. It’s easy!

Learn the Indonesian alphabet with us!

Especially when compared with other Asian languages (Chinese, Thai, Japanese), learning Bahasa Indonesia is much easier. Indonesian has no tones or tenses, uses the Roman alphabet, and has much simpler grammar and vocabulary than many languages. After 1-2 months of intensive study, you should be able to converse rather easily in Indonesian.

3. Make friends with millions of people.

A home stay in Indonesia.

Chat with your home stay family for a much better experience.

Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world, with around 250 million people. The people in Indonesia are quite friendly and eager to talk to foreigners and they get really excited if you can speak their language, even if it’s just the basics. Knowing some Indonesian opens up chances to stay with local families instead of in hotels, and we had a few amazing experiences doing this in our trip.

4. Travel independently.

Flying on the back of a motorbike to Mt. Bromo, Indonesia.

This would not have been possible without some Indonesian skills…

While you may find that a lot of people speak English in touristy areas, a little Indonesian will go a long way in your travels around the archipelago nation. Stop doing that ridiculous body language dance and avoid awkward language barriers by picking up a little bit of the local language. Who knows – you just might end up using your beginner Indonesian to negotiate a wild ride across the sea of sand on the back of a motorbike.

5. Get better prices.

It’s no secret that tourists get ripped off – it happens everywhere! And who can blame the merchants? If these people aren’t even willing to learn how to count in your language, why should you give them the local price? Practice your numbers and a few simple questions and you’ll surely get discounts.

6. Eat more delicious, local food.

Delicious nasi campur in Indonesia.

Good luck ordering this without speaking Indonesian…

You’ll see the same stuff over and over again on the English menus of restaurants that cater to tourists. Avoid being burned out on nasi goreng (fried rice) and pick up some Indonesian words related to food. Want it spicy? Want to try the local specialty? Learn how to say it in Indonesian!

7. Learn more about the local culture and way of life.

A Baliense woman visits a holy spring.

Indonesia’s culture is fascinating, and speaking the language will help you learn more about it.

Sure, you could hire a tour guide that speaks your language and be chaperoned around on your trip as if you’re some schoolchild, but wouldn’t it be better if you could just ask questions directly to the locals? Wouldn’t it be nice to not need English descriptions in the museums? Knowing more of the language will help you know more of the culture.

8. Improved job prospects.

Learn more about Indonesia’s economic growth.

Lots of people have moved to China in recent years to study Chinese and find work in the booming Chinese economy. Well, the same thing is going to happen in Indonesia in the next decade. A growing Indonesian economy means more jobs – not only in the country, but also for those who can speak the language fluently.

9. Use it in other countries.

While they aren’t exactly the same, Indonesian and Malay are not so different. If you learn how to speak Bahasa Indonesia, you should also be able to communicate with people in Malaysia and Brunei. Plus, there are millions of Indonesians who have emigrated to other countries all over the world, so talk to them!

10. It’s fun!

In my short Indonesian course, I had tons of fun. Sure, it was frustrating forgetting words and making mistakes left and right, but my teachers were incredibly helpful and patient. Heading out of the classroom and ordering up some gado-gado from the nice old lady in the street in Indonesian and seeing the big smile on her face when she could actually understand what I said was priceless. For the rest of my trip, using my limited language abilities resulted in many similar experiences, and it definitely made the trip much more fun than it would have been had I not learned any of the language.


There you have it, folks. Now unless you can give me 10 reasons why not to study this awesome language, you might as well get started learning Indonesian with us.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


  1. Ria:

    I would add that Bahasa Indonesian helps a bit in Malaysia as well. Possible to communicate with people in Malaysia:)

    • sasha:

      @Ria Great point! I guess we can make it 11 reasons then!

  2. DioS:

    Hi…Sasha. great article.
    Yeah, I agree with you. Bahasa Indonesia is easy to learn, and you will get a lot of benefits by learning that language.
    I am an Indonesian language tutor.
    I want to share my link Learn Indonesian Online with Dio Sinaba at