Scholarships, Fellowships, & Volunteer Opportunities in Indonesia for Americans
The 70 years diplomacy relationship between the United States and Indonesia since 1949 has brought more opportunities for U.S. scholars, students, and/or professionals to experience living and study in Indonesia.
In this article, you will find some educational route options including scholarships, fellowships, internships, and volunteer projects that might be useful to help your way to Indonesia.
U.S. Government Scholarships
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. For twenty-five years the American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF), as the binational Fulbright Commission for Indonesia, has carried forward the vision and mission of the Fulbright program in Indonesia.
The Fulbright Programs for U.S. students, scholars, and professionals can be seen below:
- Fulbright grants for U.S. scholars – these awards are given to ten American senior scholars to either teach for six months (one semester) in an Indonesian university or to conduct research for up to ten months.
- Fulbright grants for U.S. students – these awards are specially designed for recent graduates, master's or doctoral candidates, and young professionals (including writers, journalists, etc) to conduct an individual research project, or to be an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in selected Indonesian high schools.
- Fulbright Specialist Program – this program is dedicated to either senior scholars or professionals and artists outside academia to collaborate with Indonesian institution hosts for short-term projects, including lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training, assessments and evaluations, special conference or workshops, or collaborating on faculty development and curriculum planning.
- East Asia and Pacific (EAP) Regional Travel Program (RTP) – this program enables U.S. Fulbright scholars in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region to promote their expertise by conducting lectures, workshops, graduate or faculty seminars, master classes or recitals, curricular advising or panel presentations in other EAP region, including Indonesia.
- Critical Language Enhancement Award – this award is designed for a Fulbright U.S. Student grant in order to enhance the proficiency of Bahasa Indonesia prior to and during the Fulbright grant period and beyond.
- Fulbright-National Geographic DigitalStorytelling Fellowship – this collaborative fellowship program between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and storytelling in one, two, or three countries on a globally significant theme. Storytellers publish stories on the Fulbright-National Geographic Stories blog.
- Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Award – this fellowship program of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of International and Foreign Language Education provides opportunities to doctoral candidates to engage in full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies.
- Fulbright ASEAN Research Award Program – this program allows U.S. scholars with a PhD or (also considered) a master degree to conduct collaborative research in the area of specialization on an issue of priority to ASEAN or to the U.S.-ASEAN relationship in one or up to three of the ten ASEAN countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI) Program by Boren Awards provides opportunities for students from any U.S. college or university to study Bahasa Indonesia and to experience cultural immersion through domestic and overseas language programs at the State University of Malang (UM), Indonesia. U.S. undergraduate students may apply through the Boren Scholarship for the Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI), whilst graduate students should apply through Boren Fellowship for the Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI).
Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) provides opportunities for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities to study Bahasa Indonesia (as one of the 15 critical languages) and to experience a cultural immersion program at the State University of Malang (UM), Indonesia.
“My favorite experience with CLS Indonesian was the second-to-last weekend of the program. An uncle in my extended host family had recently gotten married, and the entire extended family took a snorkeling trip on an island.” … Read more
Click here for more alumni profiles of the CLS Indonesian Program.
The American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS), with the funding of $6,000 (for each awardee) provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State through a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), invites applications from American graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to conduct their research activities in Indonesia. The research projects should be in any field of contemporary and traditional Indonesian studies, with the preference given to applications focusing on sciences and technology, broadly understood; food security, literature, arts, and humanities, as well as Islamic studies and/or the Indonesia-United States relations.
“I received the American Institute for Indonesian Studies CAORC Research Fellowship in 2015 to examine vulnerable grouper fisheries in Indonesia. I used the fellowship to extend my research time and geographic scope in Indonesia, as I had just finished a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Student Research Fellowship.”... Read more
Click here for more alumni profiles of AIFIS Fellowships.
Click here for more information about AIFIS past fellows and projects.
Freeman-Asia Awards is sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE). This program provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia, including Indonesia.
The American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS), with the funding of $6,000 (for each awardee) provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, invites applications from American scholars who wish to conduct a collaboration research with Indonesian scholars across the field of contemporary and traditional Indonesian studies, including the sciences, planning, agriculture, history, arts, etc.
“AIFIS has played a fundamental role in improving my research experience in Indonesia. From initial field visits, navigating RISTEK, and settling into Indonesia AIFIS has helped in a tremendous way with research relating to my dissertation.”... Read more
Click here for more alumni profiles of the AIFIS Fellowship.
Study Abroad Organizations
The School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad program offers a number of foreign study courses, including two courses in Indonesia. The Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change course involves cultural study on the islands of Java and Bali, as well as an intensive study in Bahasa Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Indonesia: Biodiversity and Conservation in Bali and Borneo (Summer) course will involve an examination of biodiversity, resource-use patterns, and conservation initiatives on the extraordinary islands of Bali and Borneo, as well as learning basic Bahasa Indonesia.
SIT offers various need-based scholarships and grants to its students, including the SIT Pell Grant Match Award. The average awards range between $500 to $5,000 for SIT semester programs, and between $500 to $3,000 for SIT summer programs.
Furthermore, the Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship provides support for SIT Study Abroad and International Honors program alumni to return to their study abroad host country to pursue projects that advance human rights.
U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Project
Volunteers in Indonesia work with their communities on English education projects by teaching in either a "state" school or an Islamic school (madrasah). Volunteers will co-teach English, work with colleagues to improve English communication skills and teaching methods, and lead extracurricular and community activities of all kinds. Currently, the volunteers in Indonesia are placed in either East or West Java. Thus during their service in Indonesia, volunteers will also learn to speak local languages, including Bahasa Indonesian, Javanese, Madurese, and Sundanese.
Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) volunteers in Indonesia have the opportunity to participate in the Peace Corps TEFL Certificate, an externally-validated credential based on 120 hours of training and two years of supervised teaching experience.
Click here for more stories from Peace Corps Indonesia Volunteers.
Indonesian Government Scholarships
Organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) of Indonesia, this scholarship program is offered to all foreign students from countries which have diplomatic relationship with Indonesia, including the United States, to learn Bahasa Indonesia as well as Indonesian's art and culture at one of the 71 host universities in Indonesia for 10 months.
Click here for more stories from Darmasiswa alumni.
Indonesian University Scholarships
Jenderal Soedirman University (UNSOED), one of Darmasiswa Indonesian Scholarship host universities located in Purwokerto, a municipal city in Banyumas regency, Central Java, Indonesia, provides internship and scholarship for foreign students to experience studying and working in UNSOED.
Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR), one of Darmasiswa Indonesian Scholarship host universities located in Surabaya, the capital of East Java, Indonesia, offers so many scholarships for international students. Two of them are such as:
- Academic Mobility Exchange at Airlangga (AMERTA) for both master degree students (AMERTA for Master) and undergraduate students (AMERTA Exchange Program @Airlangga)
- Airlangga Development Scholarship (ADS), a non-fully funded scholarship program provided for international students who would like to pursue their master degree or doctoral degree at UNAIR.
Other partial-scholarships for short-term international programs offered by UNAIR which required some fees from the participants are such as:
- Airlangga Summer Program (ASP), a short program for undergraduate students which offers a cultural trip to Mount Bromo, a Language and Culture class, and various activities including:
- Creative Industry in Indonesia - a closed observation of Indonesian Creative Industries including the Batik home industry, handcrafting of recycling good, and knitted ware industry.
- Indonesian Traditional Medicine (JAMU) - the learning activities about Jamu including the understanding process of Jamu medicines production in a scientific way.
- Safari Program - an observation and case studies of Indonesian exotic animals and wildlife at Baluran National Park, as well as Indonesian oceanography.
- Pluralism in Harmony: Unity in Diversity - the learning of Indonesian Legal System, including its Adat (Customary) and Islamic Law, and how it can accommodate the diversity in terms of race, ethnic, religion, and customs.
- Community Health Nursing in the Coastal Area of East Java - the learning of most Indonesian health and practices, including physical and psychological health, as the means of an effective method of curing and healing.
- CERIA (Community Empowerment Program at Airlangga) - a community program designed to empower the society.
Click here to watch the Airlangga Summer Program (ASP) video.
2. Indonesian Diversity at Airlangga (INDIAIR), a two-weekend of year break session which offers the learning of the Indonesian cultures and diversities, including attending credited classes such as Physical Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Language and Urban Society, and Chinese Diaspora in Indonesia, learning traditional dance, learning traditional music instrument, Batik painting, visiting historical landmarks and village which portrays the Indonesian diversities.
Bina Nusantara University (BINUS), located in Jakarta, Indonesia, provides BINUS World Class Scholarships for international students from all nationalities at the undergraduate level to join its undergraduate programs at BINUS International, BINUS Northumbria School of Design, and BINUS ASO School of Engineering.
There are two types of BINUS World Class Scholarships:
- BINUS World Class Equity Scholarship - full scholarship (financial need-based, but also available as merit-based for International Accounting & Finance applicants).
- BINUS World Class Merit Scholarship – a full-tuition scholarship (merit-based, but also available as a full scholarship for Accounting Program).
- Summer Programs (including SME Business Short Program).
- Semester-based Programs (including Student Exchange Program and Study Abroad Program).
- Special Programs (including Bahasa Indonesia short course, workshop, internship, volunteer program, and study tour program).
Please note that these programs might require some contribution fees. Some discounts are also available for international students from BINUS partner universities. Click here to check whether your home university is a BINUS partner.
“My exchange experience was good. I enjoyed my stay in BINUS SQUARE … I felt a bit like a celebrity being a “bule” … The best experience was traveling around because everywhere I went was different. It was always a new experience.” ... Read more
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Researched & compiled by: Dania Setyaning / Edited by: Olla Chas.
Updated in May 2019.