Jakarta born and bred, Bahasa Indonesia teacher Iqbal was originally an English teacher at local schools, having completed a Masters degree in English education. But a chance encounter made him see how rewarding it could be to teach his native language to foreigners.
- Trainer: Mochamad Iqbal Muchtar
- From: Jakarta, Indonesia
- Speaks: Bahasa, English, Malay, Arabic
- Teaches: Bahasa Indonesia
- Likes: Travelling, cooking, reading
‘I was in Starbucks and I heard a German man who had difficulties communicating with the attendant. I looked at him and thought I have to help this guy. When Iqbal finished assisting him, the man asked if he would be his teacher.
This was the trigger to start developing his skills to make the transfer over to teaching Bahasa Indonesia as a foreign language. ‘When you’re teaching expats it is not just about delivering the material, you can deliver the culture too,’ he says. ‘Everyone sees Indonesia as Bali, but it is not just Bali, it is from Aceh to Papua and there is a lot of beautiful spots.’
Iqbal as a Teacher
According to Iqbal, when learning Bahasa Indonesia, native speakers of German or English, have the advantage over those who speak Japanese, Chinese or Korean as their mother tongue because it uses the same script, ‘but the pronunciation is the most difficult aspect.’
‘When I am teaching expats I always say language is not maths. You do not have to memorise the pattern, you only need to talk and talk.’
Iqbal teaches both groups and individuals and for BiCortex has taught assignees at a mining solutions company and those linked to a university. In his spare time he plays the drums in his band Jitera Project. ‘My passion is older jazz from the decades 70 and 80 but my band plays modern jazz,’ he says. The band is a four-piece with drum, keyboard, saxophone and guitar which has been running since 2006 and regularly plays in a Jakarta café.
He is also learning Spanish, ‘I love the language, the sound is so cool for me. I’m learning with Duolingo, sometimes it helps, sometimes I need someone to help me too.’