A simple Guide for Expats in Surabaya

Hidupid – Among thousands of islands in Indonesia, there are five big islands which together consists nearly 92 percent of the land area. The official language of Indonesia is called Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia, lit. Language of Indonesia) which is a variation of Malay. Although local languages are commonly used across the country, you will find locals speaking Indonesian in formal settings. Among cities of Indonesia, Surabaya is one of the best destinations for expats who intend to work in Indonesia.

Surabaya is well-known as the city of heroes due to the importance of the Battle of Surabaya in galvanizing Indonesian and international support for Indonesian independence during the national revolution. This is the second largest Indonesia’s city that is located at the mouth of the Mas River. Today, the population is approximately three million people and over 10 million in the Greater Surabaya metropolitan area, known as Gerbangkertosusila. The first impression newcomers will get bad traffic and air pollution, however, this impression will change soon when this city is explored and you begin to see all the amazing things the city has to offer.

Local Language
Bahasa Indonesian is used as a formal language of the country which unifies the diverse people. Surabaya people mostly speak Javanese daily but use Indonesian as an official language in work environments. It is very wise and recommended for an expat to learn about the local language. Indonesians are very friendly and will gladly help foreigners speak their language. The Indonesian language uses the same alphabet as English language almost every written word is usually pronounced as it is spelt.

English Bahasa Indonesian

Good morning = Selamat Pagi
Good afternoon = Selamat sore
Good evening = Selamat Malam
My name is… = Nama Saya…
How are you? = Bagaimana kabarmu?
Yes =Ya
No = Tidak
Where is the bathroom? = Dimana Kamar Kecil?
How much does it cost? = Berapa harganya?
Bus = Bis
Soccer = Sepak Bola
Money = Duit
Thank you = Terima Kasih
Excuse me = Permisi or Maaf
Can you help me? = Bisa Bantu saya?
Please = Tolonglah
One = Satu
Two = Dua
Three = Tiga
Soccer = Sepak Bola
Taxi = Taksi
Be careful = Hati-Hati

How to Avoid Offending Residents:

• Respect Gods.
• Respect the elderly in the community.
• Shaking hands when greeting and at departure is customary.
• Try to remember someone’s name and do not laugh at their names.
• Wait until you are offered before sampling food.
• The right hand is preferred.
• Feet are considered unclean and never point with them.
• Remove your shoes before entering houses.
• Pointing with your finger is deemed to be rude.
• Restrain yourself from eating or drinking in front of fasting Indonesian Muslims.
• Women are expected to be sensitive to the local culture and religions; therefore, wear clothing which keeps your body covered up.
• Personal questions regarding salary, education or family life should be expected or politely side-stepped.
• Topics to avoid: human rights, politics, religion, military influence, corruption, personal success, sex/role of the sexes and criticism of Indonesia

Local Weather
Indonesia is located near the equator, which means this country has two seasons: ‘hot’ and ‘rainy’. This type of weather makes this country very humid. In the hills and mountains, the temperature drops dramatically in the evening and during the night it can be quite cold. You need time to adjust to the climate. Make sure you drink plenty of water in hot weather to avoid dehydration.

Other Information
Surabaya people are family oriented and work together. The mayor of the city is building more gardens in the process of greening the city.