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With a growing expat community, Jakarta boasts many international schools, diverse entertainment options and a wide array of community activities conducted in English and other languages for expat parents and kids.
Indonesia can be an excellent place to raise children and teach them to interact with all kinds of people and learn from the diverse cultural offerings.
It’s easy to find childcare options. 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
There is a broad assortment of schools in Jakarta for expat children. The biggest challenge will be to decide which programme fits the needs of a child and the family.
International schools are the best options for 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' 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 housing in Jakarta. Traffic can be a big 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 all the extra-curricular activities and events the school has to offer.
Entertainment for kids in Jakarta
Although the entertainment options might be different from what expats may be used to, it's not difficult to keep kids engaged and entertained in Jakarta.
For Indonesians and expats alike, visiting the mall is a favourite pastime. Malls in Jakarta are large, and they typically have multiple storeys of food, entertainment and shops. Malls are a great place to find indoor entertainment options for the children as they have indoor playgrounds, bowling allies, family-friendly karaoke venues and movie theatres.
For those willing to travel a little bit further out, the options become endless. 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 hustle and bustle of the Big Durian.
Challenges for expat parents in Jakarta
Jakarta is a city going through a lot of growing pains. 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.
Traffic is one of the biggest challenges and sources of frustration for many expats in Jakarta. 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.
Although many people speak English, miscommunication is often a problem. Expats often wouldn't correctly interpret a local's intentions, not because of a language barrier but more because of the concept of '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.