Next Destination => Gili Gede, Lombok, Indonesia

Gili Gede is the new place I will call home.


I never thought I would make this move – moving to an Island with no electricity, no reliable water source, no hospital, no pharmacy, no supermarket, no shopping malls, no beauty salon, no restaurants, and so on – basically nothing is on Gili Gede.

But, I fall in love! No, not with a man – but with Gili Gede.


Let me introduce you to my new home.

Gili Gede means “big island” and the island is approx. 4km long and various from 300m to 1.5 km in width. Here is no transport on the island, other than by boat, but the beach and coast walk offer access around and across the island. If you need transport you simply wave at a passing local boat with a roof on it and it will pick you up and deliver you to your destination for a small taxi fee.

There are five sub-villages on the island; Tanjungan, Labuan Cenik, Orong Bukal, Pengamatan and Gedang Siang. I will live in Labuan Cenik. Most of the locals are generally fishermen or boat builders or both and are seen daily repairing their nets, boats and motors. More and more locals are participating in the tourist sector by working at hotels, building new accommodation, transporting and guiding tourists as boat captains etc.

The spoken language on the island (mother tongue) with much of souther Lombok, is Sasak. Bahasa Indonesia is a second language and used for general and inter-tribe communication in the whole of Indonesian.

As mentioned before, there is no electricity on the island as yet, so it is necessary to use a generator, generally form sunrise to about 11:30pm. There is also no reliable water source on the island so I need to bring fresh water by boat, which is obviously not environmentally friendly, until the government connects the island to the main grid electricity.


Typical house on the Island
Outdoor Kitchen
Coconut Garden
Local ladies

What is it like being a Darmasiswa Student?

If you are also passionate about learning languages then why not Bahasa Indonesia? The Ministry of Education of Indonesia gives the opportunity for foreign students to live and study in Indonesia for one year. The scholarship program is called Darmasiswa. Last year, I became one of the lucky ones who got the Darmasiswa Scholarship to study Bahasa Indonesia at the Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta (UNY).

UNY is one of the universities in Indonesia which has been taking on Darmasiswa students since 1999. Also, UNY is the institutional organiser of BIPA ( Indonesian Language for Foreign Speakers).

Darmasiswa Students and Tutors

In the first semester, the program emphasises on survival language. Including activities inside and outside the school. For example, going to the Pasar (market) and learn how to bargain.

The language classes are based on theory and practice, including activities which are carried out regularly by lecturer and tutors. Therefore,the Learning module is based on lecturing, tutorials, workshops and excursion.

Lecturing: Three times a week. Students can learn the language which lecturers in class. Learning orientation is on communication skills and grammar.

Tutorials: Tutors as teaching assistants has the responsibility to strengthen the learning outcomes with lecturers. Tutorial activity is more practical.

Workshops: Workshops were mainly on Fridays and the main purpose to the workshops is to learn more about Indonesian art and culture.

Excursion: Through excursions, student get to know Indonesia closer in literature , social communities, tourism, and cultural heritage. This activity is conducted by discussion model, exploration study, and direct visit.

OUR visit to Culture Camp, first hand experience with the local villagers.

Gunung Kidu Regency, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

During the Culture camp we stayed with local families.

Culture Camp, Darmasiswa, UNY
Darmasiswa UNY
Darmasiswa - Culture Camp
My bedroom
Darmasiswa UNY

UNY has provided many other opportunities to explore Indonesian culture such as, traditional Dance, trips etc.

Traditional Dance
Kraton Yogyakarta
Darmasiswa students and local teachers, and tutors