IELC employs qualified native-speaker and non-native speaker teachers. IELC is strongly focused on teacher development and implements a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) program which includes teacher workshops, lesson observations, peer observations, and on-going mentoring and support. Teaching at IELC is a rewarding experience and teachers are encouraged to exchange ideas relating to teaching methodology and teaching techniques. IELC’s teachers are also expected to continue developing their teaching skills through participation in our CPD program. Teachers should have a bachelor’s degree and a recognized teaching qualification such as the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults).
Solo is often regarded as the cultural capital of Java and this blend of ancient cultural traditions and modernization makes Solo a fascinating place to live and work. Living in Solo can be a life-changing experience. Visitors from abroad can immerse themselves in the delights of Javanese culture – whether it be studying traditional Javanese dance; learning the refinements of Javanese language; listening to the exotic sounds of the gamelan music; experiencing the rejuvenating qualities of a traditional spa; or simply sampling the unique local cuisine. Solo has a charming atmosphere, its people are friendly and refined, and culture runs deep through every part of life in Solo.
Solo is also a place of opposites, merging traditional culture with modern lifestyles; in some places vibrant, in others calming and tranquil. Recently, Solo has undergone considerable growth and visitors can now experience the best of both worlds, with access to all the perks of modern life while experiencing an ancient culture. One of the most charming features of the city is its laid-back atmosphere. And one of the favorite past times of Solonese people is to simply take the time to relax and enjoy life. Surrounded by such a rich culture and variety of sensory pleasures, it is easy to sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of Solo.
Solo was first chosen by King Pakubuwana II as the site for his new court. Aligned along a North-South axis and flanked on the East and West by the majestic Merapi and Lawu mountains, the site was said to have been chosen following divine portents. This mystical ambience is still present in the city today. Visitors can contemplate the mountains from afar as the sun rises over the peaks bringing life to the city; or take hikes into the lush countryside.
Solo is often regarded as the cultural heart of Java, known for its aristocratic refinement and artistic accomplishment. There are two existing palaces – the Kasunanan Palace and the Mangkunegaran Palace, both with fascinating histories spanning hundreds of years into Java’s past. These palaces have both played an important role in the historical development of the Javanese arts. The Solonese traditional dance, gamelan music and wayang puppetry are renown for their subtle elegance and mystical power; and have become an integral part of Indonesia’s artistic identity.
Solo is also one of Indonesia’s centers of traditional Batik textile production. Batik is a sophisticated dying process during which natural patterns of birds, flowers and animals interwoven among cultural symbols of life and spirit are painstakingly painted onto cloth with wax. The traditional hand-made process has been replaced by machine printing in many cities, although in Solo the traditional method remains popular.
Located just one hour from Solo is the mystical Mount Lawu, with its enigmatic ancient temples and breathtaking views. Mountain worship is an important aspect of traditional Javanese mythology and pilgrims continue to climb Mount Lawu on certain auspicious days, to partake in the mountain’s powerful relationship with its people and gain mystical knowledge and insight. At night, visitors can enjoy equatorial views of the milky-way away from the lights of the city, as it sweeps across the night sky.
Visitors can also take day trips to the North Coast to visit Semarang, which has a fascinating mix of cultures and a strong traditional Chinese influence. A fascinating place to visit is the famous Sam Po Kong temple, established on the spot where the legendary Chinese admiral Zheng He (also known as San Bao or Sinbad in the west) stepped ashore and meditated in a cave in 1406 during one of his legendary voyages around the world. From here, travelers can journey to the Dieng Plateau, said to be the mystical abode of the gods in past times, located within the crater of an ancient volcano. Alternatively, visitors can take a trip to Yogyakarta to buy handicrafts or silverwork, stopping off ancient Hindu-Buddhist temples on the way. More adventurous travelers can take a thrilling day-trip to hike up the still-active Merapi volcano, or simply take leisurely strolls through lush paddy fields and contemplate Java’s famous tropical sunrises, which cover the land with a golden hue in the morning.
Traditionally, the Javanese arts formed an integral part of palace rituals. Some of the dances are said to be sacred and are only performed within the palace walls. The bedoyo and srimpi dances symbolize the courtship of the founder of the Mataram dynasty (Panembahan Senopati), with the goddess of the south sea; and are performed as a magically powerful ritual, legitimizing the kings right to rule. Nevertheless, many of the dances and music are now open to the public and foreign students from around the world visit Solo to study dance, wayang puppetry and gamelan music at the STSI college. This is an unforgettable experience, learning directly from some of Indonesia’s most eminent artists who teach at the college.
The cost of living in Solo is far lower than in other cities in Indonesia. Solonese people are crazy about good cheap street food and when evening comes, people often cluster around the many popular food stalls. There is a plethora of transportation modes available from Becak (pedicabs), to mini-buses, taxis and trains. Alternatively, visitors can rent or buy motorcycles, which are very easy to re-sell.
Sampling different kinds of cuisine is a favorite pastime of Solonese people. An amazing array of delicacies are available such as tahu kupat, made from fried tofu, pressed rice pieces, noodles and roasted nuts. Served with Sumatran kopi and a late morning snack of fresh jackfruit, this makes an excellent breakfast. Nasi liwet, Solonese style coconut rice served with green papaya and chicken, is another favorite. Or simply sample a plate of rice with eggplant and tofu stewed in red curry, served with soybean tempeh on the side; or lamb kebab served with lontong rice cakes. A favorite eating place is the lesehan food stalls, where customers can enjoy their meals by the side of the road, as they watch the play of life in Solo. A variety of desserts are also available, such as srabi (Solo pancakes with rice-custard) or kueh putu (milled rice steamed with Javanese sugar and coconut in a bamboo tube). Tropical mango, papaya and banana fruit juices or mixed herbal concoctions are said to boost stamina and virility.
“Where was there a country that could more invite the retreat of holy men, than the evergreen islands which rise in endless clusters on the smooth seas of the Malayan Archipelago, where the elevation and tranquility of devotion are fostered by all that is majestic and lovely in nature?” – Sir Thomas Raffles
The Indonesian archipelago forms a string of emeralds – 3,000 tropical islands spanning almost 3,500 miles between the Asian and Australian continents. The archipelago extends from Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra in the west to Irian Jaya in the east. Reflecting Indonesia’s geographical diversity, Indonesia’s people form a colorful mosaic of ethnic groups, languages, cultures, religions and traditions. The country simultaneously encompasses the densely populated and fertile island of Java with its terraced paddy fields and home to the descendents of ancient architectural marvels, to the barely populated rain forests of Kalimantan and Irian Jaya, where some tribes continue to live pre-historic lifestyles far from the reach of modern technology. The entire archipelago is subject to the tropical monsoon climate with its alternating monsoon rainy seasons and dry seasons. It is this climate that shapes the rhythmic ebb and flow of life in Indonesia. Indonesia’s culture is the product of its unique location at the crossroads of ancient trade routes between the civilizations of China and India; and the modern role it plays as the most populous nation in South-East Asia and the fifth most populous nation in the world.