Welcome to the Indonesian Studies department

The department of Indonesian Studies evolved from the former department of Indonesian and Malayan Studies, which was the earliest Australian university department to specialise in the study of Indonesian languages and societies. The department emphasises the importance of providing a rounded education in Indonesian Studies, producing graduates who have both language skills and significant country knowledge.

Indonesian language is available for beginning, advanced and background speaker students. It can be taken as a major sequence of studies in a variety of degree programs, or as an elective subject for as little as one semester. Students have access to a range of options for in-country studies, from summer intensive programs at an Indonesian university to full semester or year long programs offered through the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (ACICIS). It is also possible for students with good records of academic achievement in their pass degrees to take an additional Honours year and postgraduate research degrees in Indonesian Studies.

Units of study covering Indonesian history, politics, culture and society are offered through the Asian Studies program. Many students of Indonesian combine their study of the language with a separate major sequence in Asian Studies, where in addition to studying Asian societies in comparative perspective, they are able to specialise in the study of Indonesia and its people through studies in English. Indonesian is also a valuable addition to vocational degrees like engineering, law and business.

Why study Indonesian?

There are both economic and personal reasons for studying Indonesian at the tertiary level. Graduates with Indonesian language skills and a good understanding of Indonesia are in demand both in Australia and overseas. As relatively few Australian students pursue Indonesian Studies at a tertiary level, those who do have an excellent competitive advantage for a range of government and private sector jobs. These include (but are not limited to):

  • a wide range of professional jobs in large companies who do business with or in Indonesia;
  • government jobs in security, development assistance, foreign affairs and trade, and immigration;
  • jobs with international agencies such as the World Bank;
  • non-profit sector jobs in a multitude of NGOs that work with or in Indonesia;
  • jobs in translating and interpreting, journalism and education.

Indonesia and Australia are inextricably linked through geography and common regional interests, and fluent speakers of Indonesian will continue to be in demand from Australian governments, business and the wider community in the years ahead. For this reason, developing skills in Indonesian and a knowledge of Indonesian culture and society can be an investment in your future. As Indonesian is closely related to Malay, a knowledge of of Indonesian also opens up employment opportunities in the rest of the Malay-speaking world (Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and parts of Thailand).

There are other, and equally valid, reasons to immerse yourself in Indonesian language and culture. Indonesia is a complex and exciting place, which is geographically easily accessible from Australia, but difficult for the average Australian to understand. In studying Indonesian you will mix with academics and other students whose lives have been touched and enriched by Indonesia and its people. A knowledge of Indonesian language gives you access to a world that is very different from what we are familiar with in Australia and other Western countries. It will expand your horizons and introduce you to people, places, cultures and ideas that can change your way of looking at the world around you.