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An Expat Talks about Living in Batam, Indonesia

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Batam

How long have you lived there?

1.5 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Not hardly anything here. A few people informally meet up. There is an English-speaking international church with lots of expats...otherwise it's up to you to meet others.

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Expats living in Indonesia interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

It has a boom-town feeling, fast development and lots of jobs for the local workforce. Almost all locals or Chinese/local mix. Very young population as this town has many factory jobs open. As mentioned before, since it is far from where people are from they come here, work for a few years and go back.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Manufacturing, oil, shipping, construction, etc... Not many expat jobs unless you are sent by your company to run one of the multinational companies.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Everyone revolves around work. All the large manufacturing companies have compounds outside of the city where their people live. Interaction is difficult with everyone all spread out. For the nationals, this is such a transitional city. People come for two years of work then go home.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Think very hard, it's interesting to see the local culture and be so close to Singapore, but you will be living in second or third world standards. Power cuts, dirty water, trash everywhere, poverty, unreliable internet...the benefit is that it is cheap and expats can own land here. But the corruption makes that an expensive goal.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Oct 11, 2010 15:48

I lived in Batam for several years, and unless it has changed, your right to own land is very limited and quite mdifferent from common law. I "owned" a town house in Sakura Garden in batu Ampar, that I was not allow to own. So the Indonesian "owner" singed a power of attorney that gave me full control, but no one "owns" the dirt under the building. The government does and you have a 30 year lease, renewable on their terms, if they choose. I never felt comfortable with that, and sold after about 10 years. Gary

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Expats discuss what they wish they had known before moving to Indonesia. Locals say "yes" even when they really mean to say "no" and traffic can be a nightmare. But, there are many of positives, too.

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