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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Bahasa Indonesia – Learning the Language

Apa kabar murid-murid Naga (How are you, Dragons students?)

A powerful thought on the value of learning a language:

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”    –Nelson Mandela

The above words, and the fact that learning a local language opens incredible doors and unlocks a depth of connection, has always been a huge inspiration to us.

Rita speaks four languages, and Colin is fluent in the official language of Indonesia (Bahasa Indonesia), while Bradford is excited to be with you in jumping into learning Bahasa Indonesia.

Something worth trying out in the final days before you leave is the free app, Duolingo, which has lessons for Bahasa Indonesia. It is game-like and an effective introduction to the language.

Bellow are few basic Indonesian phrases that you can start practicing at home and on the plane to Indonesia. You’ll quickly realize how even a few words in Bahasa Indonesia can
help open up thousands of conversations and opportunities.
Of all the languages in Southeast Asia, Indonesian is among the most accessible, so get a head-start!


Selamat pagi = Good morning (11 am – 3 pm)
Selamat siang = Good afternoon
Selamat sore = Good afternoon (3 pm – 6 pm)
Selamat malam = Good evening
Apa kabar? = How are you?
Baik baik = I’m fine.
Siapa nama kamu? = What is your name?
Nama saya…. = My name is …..
Permisi = Excuse me
Terima Kasih = Thank you

Makasih = Thanks
Sama-sama = You’re welcome
Hujan! Hujan! = It’s raining! It’s raining!
Panas sekali! It is very hot!
Mau ke mana? = Where are you going?(Note: This is a common greeting.)
Jalan-jalan = Going for a walk
Di mana kamar kecil? = Where is the bathroom?(Note: The letter “c” in Indonesian is
pronounced as “ch” like in “chia pet”.)
Sudah mandi?(have you taken a bath yet?)
Sudah makan?(Have you eaten yet?)
Apa ini?(What is this?)
Apa itu?(What is that?)
Tidak apa-apa! (No problem!)
Berapa harganya?(How much is it?)
Saya = I
Anda = you (formal)
Kamu = you (informal)
Dia = he or she
Mereka = they

Kami = we (exclude the person you talk with)
Kita = we (include the person you talk with)
Kami dari Amerika = We are from America.
Satu = 1
Dua = 2
Tiga = 3
Empat = 4
Lima = 5
Enam = 6
Tujuh = 7
Delapan = 8
Sembilan = 9
Sepuluh = 10


Don’t worry – you don’t have to memorize all the words now, but you’ll soon be hearing them all around you, so try to start familiarizing yourself.

Sampai jumpa!