Indonesian Language (Bahasa Indonesia)

Overview about Indonesia

Indonesian Language and Culture. Indonesia is a tropical country located in the insular region of Southeast Asia, between the Pacific and Indian oceans. With around 250 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world. Known as the world’s largest archipelago, there are more than 17,000 islands with more than 300 different ethnicities and 700 local languages and dialects. As a result, Indonesia has a rich cultural diversity as shown in their foods, music, dances, songs, clothes, and traditions. Despite the cultural diversity, the Youth Pledge (Sumpah Pemuda) proclaimed Bahasa Indonesia as the national language in 1928. Following Indonesia’s independence in 1945, Bahasa Indonesia became Indonesia’s official national language. Bahasa Indonesia is influenced by Malay, Arabic (growing post-1998), Dutch, Spanish, English (growing due to globalization), and local languages such as Javanese and Sundanese. It serves as the native language to some Indonesians and the second language for the majority of Indonesians.


Religions in Indonesia. Constitutionally, Indonesia is a secular state. It has five pillars of philosophical foundation (Pancasila): belief in one God, humanity, unity, democracy, and social justice. The Indonesian government recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism and promotes religious harmony among them. These religions were introduced through migration, trading, missionaries, and colonization. Normally, the practices of each religion are modified to an individual’s culture and values. Islam, embraced by around 87% of the population (23% of all Muslims in the world or 225 million people), is divided into believers of Islamic orthodox, modern, and abangan (a mixture of indigenous belief with Islamic practices). Although almost sixty percent of the Muslim population in Indonesia are nationalist, the recent political situation may indicate a growing influence of  Muslim extremism.

Indonesia Language and Culture Course

Our Teaching Approach

Our language instruction is aimed to maintain and improve students’ proficiency in speaking, reading, and listening using an integrated approach. Our course is designed to balance students’ varied needs; therefore, we created a curriculum where students can improve language skills as well as prepare for language tests, such as DLPT V and OPI. Covered subjects are a combination of basic topics (family, occupation, recreation, traveling, and education) and advanced topics (economy, politics, security, and environment). Our lesson plans are created using Content-Based Language Learning approach, which combines language and culture using relevant and authentic reading/ listening texts. In supplementing these materials, we have also created reading and listening exercise sets along with individual speaking sessions with our instructors.


Hands-On Cultural Activities. Students have opportunities to experience Indonesian culture inside and outside of the class. In class, students watch movies and engage in discussions and interactive activities related to culture. Outside of the class, students have the option to participate in a culture class and field trips, such as cooking Indonesian food (usually offered for in-residence students), playing outdoor traditional games, and meeting with Indonesian communities in the area.

Indonesian Language Courses

Lessons are offered through a wide range of platforms, including Polycom, VTC (Video Teleconferencing), in-residence, mobile training teams, and blended options. All options are tailored to our students’ individual needs.


120-Hour Intensive Course. This is a five credit course, with six 50-minute classes a day, daily reading, listening, and speaking exercises and homework. The class meets for a total of 4 weeks for 120 contact hours in class. Two (2) contact hours each week are dedicated for lectures on the culture and politics of Indonesia delivered in English language. In addition, students are to spend 3 hours out of class each day for self-study and homework. This DCLCP course is designed to meet Department of Defense (DoD) total force Indonesian language training needs, especially members of the 1st Special Forces Group (Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA) in order to enable the DoD workforce to be better prepared and equipped with the target language, as well as cultural and regional expertise. As a part of DoD Language Training Center, the course is open exclusively for U.S. DoD personnel who would not otherwise enroll into other University of Montana language courses.  


Survival/ Pre-Deployment Course. This is a non-credit course, with five 50-minute classes a day for two weeks (can be adjusted), focusing on speaking proficiency supplemented by activities to understand authentic texts (reading and listening). The goal is to provide basic survival skills as well as cultural overview. Normally, the class meets for 2 weeks for 50 contact hours in class. One (1) contact hour each day is dedicated to lectures on the culture and politics of Indonesia delivered in English language.


Individual/ group tutoring and other training requests. This type of class is opened based on request (adjusted to students’ schedule and needs) and teaching capacity.

Cultural and Regional Studies Lecture Series

The DCLCP’s Indonesian language class is supplemented by an English-language cultural and regional studies lecture series. Not only does this give students a one-hour break in their intensive language studies, it also conveys useful information about Indonesia for the soldier. The Indonesian culture and regional studies component of the course is broken down into several categoriess including: (1) ethnicity, demography, and religion; (2) history; (3) state formation; (4) foreign relations; (5) Indonesian politics; (6) and Indonesian military developments. The courses are updated and supplemented according to student needs. For example, given the high number of returning DCLCP Indonesian students, the curriculum is routinely updated to include new topics. For 2018, we have presented lectures on the following: (1) Jokowi’s foreign policy; (2) the key elements behind Indonesian national unity; (3) the rise of Indonesia’s ‘Kopassus’ special forces units; (4) and the future role of Islam in Indonesian democracy.