Kami sedang belajar Bahasa Indonesia. Boleh perkanalan?  / by Kali Wood

(We are learning Indonesian. May we get to know you?)

We just finished Unit 1 of language classes at the Language and Cultural Exchange Center in Medan. For two hours each morning Matt and I meet with our instructor, Sarah. We spend about 80% or more of our time in class speaking or listening in Indonesian and the ratio keeps growing! 

First, one of us begins with prayer in Indonesian. Then, we share our “experience” with our teacher. This means we tell our teacher what we did since we last saw her using as many details as possible. This helps us to learn vocabulary and sentence structure. After that we review our homework which is writing 10 sentences or two paragraphs consisting of new vocabulary and using new sentence structures. Just this part of class usually takes us over an hour. 

Next, we open our workbooks and get into the lesson for the day. It consists of a dialogue with new vocabulary, a listening exercise, 3 sets of new sentence structures, and pronunciation practice. We are lucky if we complete the lesson that day. Often, we work on part of it and finish the rest the next day. We end our class with our teacher praying for us. 

We are expected to try and meet 5 new people each day and introduce ourselves to them and ask about their life. This can take up to 2 hours in a day because Indonesian people love to chat. Often, we talk with our Grab drivers (like Uber). The title of this article is usually how we begin the conversation. 

We are also expected to study/work on homework for 2 hours each day. Usually this gets split into an hour in the evening and an hour in the morning before class. We estimate that we learn about 25-50 new vocabulary words each class. That is a lot of memorizing and practicing. We also try and practice with the children. When we learned parts of the body I had Laurel quiz me by pointing to parts of the body and seeing if I know it in Indonesian. 

Overall, Matt and I enjoy our Indonesian lessons. Most days the 2 hours fly by and the homework doesn’t seem overwhelming. We are constantly amazed at what we have picked up and also at what we can’t remember. Please continue to pray for our language acquisition, that we will be studious and become fluent quickly. 

A sample of Kali’s homework one evening.

A sample of Kali’s homework one evening.