Yesterday I posted for the first time from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I’m here on a one-week “minimmersion” to try to get some Indonesian language basics and to learn about the country and culture. Today was the first of my five days of study.
The day started with a good breakfast at the hotel, then I was picked up and driven to the language school. The driver told me to remember the way back – it’s only a ten minute walk and you only get the chauffeur treatment once!
I arrived at the school to find a bright courtyard, lots of greenery and the flags of various nations on display. There was a large sign in the main entrance greeting the week’s new students, me and four others (two Australians, a Korean and somebody from Japan). Most of the tuition is one-to-one or in very small groups.
The administrator welcomed me and gave me my timetable and a bag of goodies (pen, paper, map, loyalty card for various shops and restaurants around town) and the wi-fi code. I will have four different teachers during the five days (I’d read in advance that they do this to provide variety).
Then Johan, my teacher for the today’s session, arrived. He is also my co-ordinator (contact person if I have any problems) and will also teach me a second time on Thursday.
Johan pointed out a row of computers and printers for students’ use and the reading area upstairs and also the supply of tea, coffee, water and biscuits. We crossed an alley behind to the second building, which was where the room I’ll be taught in is located.
Johan was very friendly and we had a brief chat in English about my background and motives and then he launched into the lesson. He used a direct communicative method. First we learned greetings. Then we learned to say who we are, where we’re from and where we live and ask the same of others.
I was given the school’s own beginners’ course book containing twelve lessons and a workbook to go with it.
Johan used picture cards of celebrities to prompt role play asking these basic questions.
We had a brief break for coffee half way through the 10:15 to 12:00 session.
Indonesian uses the Latin alphabet like English and we finished the first day’s lesson by learning the names of the letters. I can now spell out words in Indonesian and – more importantly for a beginner gleaning vocabulary – write down ones that are spelled to me.
Afterwards, I got chatting (in English and French) to a young French man in the reception who’s been at the school for over a month already. He very kindly took me to one of the many food kiosks nearby to get some lunch and we ate it together at the school. A Japanese man came and joined us, his lessons for the day also complete.
After stopping by in a supermarket to pick up some sun-tan lotion (an essential for me in this sun), I proceeded to get lost on the way back to the hotel, until I realised (20 mins later) I was going the wrong way up road.
I’ve booked 45 min sessions with a teacher who offers lessons on italki tomorrow (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday. Zacky lives in Jakarta but by a stroke of good luck he happened to be in Yogyakarta today, so I met up for an informal chat with him and his friend before he headed back to the airport.
In today’s lesson, I was really helped today by the two or three hours’ work I did in Singapore at the end of last week – and on the aeroplane here – using a word association vocabulary book (I’ll review materials in a later post). Without that work, I think I’d have been more at sea with tuition all in Indonesian.
Early evening, I reviewed today’s materials from the course book and read through the up-coming lessons and looked again at the vocab book, hoping to help myself along again tomorrow.
With Basque I found that it took ages to learn the most frequently used basic words and – for all that Indonesian is supposed to be an “easy” language – there is a lot of completely alien vocabulary to remember.
Good preparation can make such a difference to the efficiency of the time you have with a teacher. Don’t leave it all to them!
I’ve just had a pizza at one of the vibrant row of eateries on the side street next to my hotel and feel very content with how the first full day went. My hotel is a great base. The school environment is pleasant. The admin seems efficient and my first teacher was very good. Tomorrow I want to try to book a couple of excursions through the school, if I haven’t left it too late. I also have a new teacher to look forward to and before that, an early session with Zacky.
In today’s video, I arrive at the school, look round, dodge scooters, search for suntan lotion and get an impromptu chance to practice what I’ve learned with Zacky. It’s now ten past one in the morning and I my lesson with Zacky is at eight, so I’m signing off. The video has taken nearly three hours to put together – the program crashed when I’d almost finished and I had to start again. Me and technology. Never a marriage made in heaven. Here we are:
Hope you think it was worth it. More tomorrow 🙂