Learning Tips

How to Learn Indonesian Quickly

Hello there! I am Made Soma. I have been teaching Indonesian to foreigners for over 10 years now, and I want to share with you how to learn Indonesian quickly. In this blog post, I will use my extensive teaching experience and the research I’ve done on language acquisition to give you some tips and guidelines for learning the Indonesian language. 

Learn the Most Common Expressions and Phrases

To kickstart your Indonesian language journey, start by learning the most common expressions and phrases that locals use, like mau ke mana? (where are you going?). Focus on everyday greetings, basic introductions, and essential phrases you need every day. This will make a solid foundation for your language learning. Learn polite expressions as they are crucial in Indonesian culture. Once you’ve mastered these basics, you’ll be interacting smoothly with Indonesian speakers in no time! Find a list of common phrases and expressions here

Listen to Podcasts

Did you know that when you start learning a language, you need to train your ears to register foreign sounds in your brain? The important thing here is to choose podcasts that are about things you love, whether it’s crime and horror, or tv show reviews. However, if you’re a beginner, you had better start with our very own podcast which takes you through basic phrases and structure of Indonesian. I strongly recommend you listen to native speakers conversing in real-life situations to make sure you’re learning authentic Indonesian. 

Read in Indonesian

Expand your vocabulary and learn sentence structures by reading in Indonesian. I suggest you start with simple materials like children’s books or short articles. Progress gradually to newspapers and novels as your proficiency increases. One amazing thing reading a lot will do is expose you to cultural references. You can always use a dictionary or app to help with words you don’t understand. Bonus tips: Adjust the language settings on your devices, and follow Indonesian social media accounts. 

Watch Indonesian Movies

This is one of those fun tasks that everybody will love: combining entertainment with language learning! Films offer a visual and auditory experience that is full of colloquial expressions you can mimic, and cultural contexts you will enjoy. I recommend you choose a mix of genres: watching romance will teach you the language of love, while horror comes with its own speaking style and exclamations. Use subtitles at first if you need to, then slowly challenge yourself to watch without them as your language skills improve. Discuss the movies with native speakers or fellow learners for added fun and motivation!

Review Your New Words

When you learn a new word, you need to keep going back to it so it sticks in your mind. ‘Spaced repetition’ is when you review materials at systematic intervals of time. Make flashcards, use apps, or keep a vocabulary journal. This helps solidify your memory and ensures that the language becomes ingrained in your daily thought process. Set aside dedicated time for review sessions. Remember, staying consistent is key to learning a language!

Talk to Locals 

Engaging in conversation with locals is an important step in mastering any language. Take advantage of opportunities like shopping or ordering food to interact with native Indonesian speakers. Don’t hesitate to initiate conversation; locals appreciate the effort when you communicate in their language. 

Find a Language Partner

Like everything else, learning a language alone can be tedious. Why not use your language learning journey to make friends and build a supportive environment for practicing Indonesian? You can do this on language exchange platforms, online forums, or local community events. Meet with them regularly and help each other with constructive feedback. This will also help you with confidence in your speaking.

Enroll in a Language School

For a structured and immersive learning experience, you must enroll in a language school. Language schools have comprehensive courses specially designed for learners like you, who share your proficiency level. Qualified instructors provide guidance, interactive learning materials, and a motivated classroom setting that encourages you to practically apply the language. Joining a language school not only keeps you from quitting when the going gets tough, but also provides you with a supportive community. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements along the way. Salamat belajar! (Happy learning!)

By Made Soma

Made Soma is a language teacher and edupreneur from Bali, Indonesia. He loves sharing his culture through his profession as an Indonesian and English teacher for foreign speakers at Jembatan Bahasa Indonesian Language School ( and JB English Language School (