Settled in Indonesia

I have been in Surabaya, Indonesia now for almost three months! I just can’t believe how quickly I’ve settled in and how much this place already feels like home.

As you may or may not know, I’m teaching at Surabaya Intercultural School (aka Surabaya International School- all of the international schools in Indonesia had to rename themselves a couple of years back). I love it here!


This is the PreK-Grade 2 playground at my school

I have 24 wonderful hardworking students, a full time teaching assistant (mine has been with the school for 15 years and knows EVERYTHING), supportive admin, and it’s an International Baccalaureate PYP school so I’m finally putting into practice some previous training I’ve had. The school is really great about sending you out for additional training too, but they are accommodating my wish to stay close to my baby for the first school year.

The school has put us up in a wonderful apartment only a 4-minute walk to school. If you are a teaching couple you get a townhouse, but singles get apartments. S has his own room and a bathroom with an actual BATHTUB! You guys this is my 8th year of international teaching and bathtubs for expat teachers are SO RARE. I have my room with an ensuite bathroom and dressing area and a huge king bed! The kitchen is nice with a full-size fridge and oven too (at my last apartment they were both much smaller). I even have a front patio that I need to get furniture for.


I’m still personalizing my space, but I can’t wait to take advantage of my patio! 

I don’t think I ever want to leave! Seriously.

Many people ask me how I can leave my family and friends back in the US and teach overseas with a small baby. Let me tell you, Indonesia is the best place for single moms! I’m able to afford two full-time helpers so that one can help cook and clean while the other takes care of S and brings him to school to nurse three times a day (thanks to the super short walk to school nobody minds!). My immediate family is great about using Facetime at least once a week and sending pics back and forth using iMessage. Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends all over the world too.


A 6:30AM photo from the lovely Borobudur (I previously shared on Instagram @teachingwanderlust

So far I’ve traveled to Bali and Yogyakarta where I got to see the amazing Borobudur Temple (I hope to post about those trips sometime soon), but there are so many places that I hope to see within Indonesia in the coming months and years.

In case you are interested in daydreaming with me, go ahead and Google the following places: Komodo National Park, Pink Beach, Gilli Islands, Lombok, Raja Ampat, Mount Bromo (when S is older), Lake Toba, and Borneo. You can tell that I spend a lot of time reading my Lonely Planet Indonesia guidebook (<– aff link)! Those are just the ones that come to mind, but there are thousands of islands to explore in Indonesia!


18 responses to “Settled in Indonesia

  1. Yes, please do! Expat teachers live such interesting lives, and it’s hard to find site where people share. Hope you’ll share any teachers with sites if they’re willing! I’m glad that you have settled in and that you and the little guy seem to have landed on you feet!

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are some truly excellent schools overseas that produce many students who are accepted into western universities. I always wonder about how residency works for expat US high school students in regards to university costs.


  2. That’s amazing that you have nannies and that they can bring your baby to school for nursing. It’s good hearing that you’re adjusting well there and that you have excellent help. That’s been my biggest challenge being a mom abroad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! I was scrolling through the Weekly Writing Challenges archives. The Student, Teacher one brought me to one of your posts and then I checked the latest post and wow, you’re in Indonesia! Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re having a great time!


  4. Hi! Looks like your school is looking for 5 years of experience. I’m a single parent and want to start teaching aboad next year bc my daughter will start kinder. I’ve got 3 years of experience teaching 1st and 2nd. It’s really encouraging to hear how supportive your school is. Do you have any recommendations of schools? We are open to locations, especially if we can be saving money. My first school I applied to in South Korea questioned my ideals and values because of my “situation” and I’ve been feeling deflated. Happy to hear you’re loving where you are!


    • Many schools say they want 5 years of experience, but even at the best of them, you hear of beginning teachers being hired. Usually, if you can interview well, know someone on the inside, or you can serve the school in another way (new hires are cheaper), or maybe you coach a sport or activity that they want to highlight- exceptions can be made if they want you bad enough!


  5. Thank you for sharing your about your experience teaching in Indonesia! Indeed, I have never felt more appreciated as a teacher as when I was teaching in an IB school in Jakarta. Indonesia treats its expat teachers way better than other countries.


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