Donnilah McClendon
Night view of Jakarta, Indonesia

Come to Jakarta and experience it for yourself….

Exotic fruit lovers may recognize the spiked, pungent fruit known as Durian - it's the fruit of Indonesia.

Despite it's smelly reputation, durian's magnetism, lure and flavor pull you in so much that once you've tried it you'll be hooked. The fruit of Indonesia is much like the nation's capital, Jakarta, loaded with spiky skyscrapers and pungent congestion of the metropolitan city atmosphere. Yet inside its shell is a fascinating city that packs a lot of flavor and keeps you in its rapture.

When it comes to fast paced growth very few cities in the world can be compared with New York which is fondly known as The Big Apple. Jakarta's fast-paced growth has made it the Indonesian equivalent of The Big Apple and hence this city is known as The Big Durian.

Historically, the culture in Jakarta is a melting of various cultures – characteristics of Javanese, Malaysian, Indian, Arabic, Chinese and so many more cultures can be seen in its architecture and cuisine. The population is exceeding over 10 million in a 700 km area, making it the 7th most populous national capital in the world. One little known fact about Indonesia is that it is to be one of the world's most active Twitter cities and so much so, that in 2015 Twitter opened one of its official offices in Jakarta.

The average resident of Jakarta owns two cell phones and there are designated “selfie” stations set up on street corners and in the mall. Speaking of malls, Jakartans are crazy shoppers. There are about 130 shopping malls scattered all over Jakarta city which are over-the-top and extravagantly filled with high-end stores and fine dining restaurants.

Finally, Jakarta's climate is hot year-round but if you don't mind the heat and if you are teaching in Jakarta for at least one year, you MUST plan to visit the Thousand Island – a cluster of 76 coral islands where you can dive and snorkel – off the coast of Jakarta. Do not miss the fish and try to spot as many as you can! After all, there are no less than 144 varieties of fish in the Thousand Islands.

Jakarta is a booming city loaded with a multi-cultural appeal, opulence and island charm. Living and working as a teacher in Jakarta will give you the best that South-East Asia has to offer. The Big Durian is surely worth the first bite.

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