How to Improve Your Bahasa Indonesia Comprehension Skills ?

Of course, there is no better way to practice than the full immersion with native speakers. I spoke about this already when I tackled the issue of the right strategy to learn Indonesian.

But you might want to practice at home also. So here are a few tricks that you can use to practice those skills on your own.

Youtube channels

Watching Youtube channels in Indonesian is an excellent and fun way to practice common and informal Indonesian as well as learning lots of stuff about the culture.

My first pick would be the videos produced by Last Day Production. They always come with English subtitles, they are funny and often include elements from Indonesia pop culture. Their only drawback would be their regular use of Jakarta/Java slang.

Another really good pick is Sacha Stevenson’s channel. I think she was the first foreigner making video in Bahasa Indonesia on Youtube. She’s been living in the country for years and has excellent command on the language as well as a good accent.

I’m not an expert of the Indonesian Youtube scene but I sometimes come upon some other foreigners doing videos in Indonesian. No offense, but most of the time they have a bad accent and poor vocabulary. If your purpose is to learn Indonesian, spend your time on video featuring native speakers.

The educational videos by Indonesianpod101 are quite good. This time they are exclusively made for students, hence they feature proper explanations and come in different levels (absolute beginners, beginners, intermediate, advanced).

The producer is a company selling self-teaching methods online, but the free materials available on Youtube should be quite useful I guess.


Foreign movies are never dubbed in Indonesia. Hence everytime you go see a foreign movie, usually a US blockbuster, you are also given a free 2 hours Indonesian lesson. I used to go see movie I didn’t want to watch just to pay attention to the Indonesian subtitles.

A cheaper alternative is online streaming. There are tons of Indonesian streaming sites uploading movies and tv shows with Indo subs. Just ask your friends which one they use or spend 5 minutes on Google.

Social networks

I think this one is the most powerful if you really want to make progress. Adding Indonesian people on Facebook shouldn’t be any problem. If you are living in the country you will probably have to filter the requests instead.

Then simply read and translate by yourself all the status, links or articles that your friends might post. The language used on Facebook is usually quite informal and hence close to what you hear in the real life. But you can break it down at your own pace, check the dictionary …

If you don’t understand at all what’s being said, make sure that you are not reading a local language (like Javanese, Batak or Sundanese) first.

Join groups of people doing the same hobby as you, get invited to some Whatsapp group…



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.