The Emotional Geography of International Students in Online Bahasa Indonesia Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic




bahasa Indonesia for foreigners, COVID-19, emotional geography, international students, online learning


This article reports a case study that explores the emotional geography of 25 international students from 12 countries in learning bahasa Indonesia for foreigners virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grounded in a qualitative case study design, the recruited participants were interviewed about their emotional experience of learning bahasa Indonesia online. Data were garnered from the interviews, classroom observations, and students’ testimonials. They were analyzed with Hargreaves’s (2001) emotional geography theory. Findings showed that online bahasa Indonesia learning affects the emotional geography of international students. The international students experienced such positive feelings as intimacy, safety, happiness, seriousness, and successfulness. However, they also experienced such negative feelings as confusion, anxiety, and shock situated in online bahasa Indonesia learning. This indicates that international students should have positive feelings and maintain such feelings in order to succeed in online bahasa Indonesia learning.

Author Biographies

Gatut Susanto

Gatut Susanto (corresponding author) is a senior lecturer in the Department of the Indonesian Language and director of BIPA at Universitas Negeri Malang, Indonesia. He has taught and managed BIPA in Indonesia, the USA, and Thailand. His research interests focus on BIPA, literature, culture, linguistics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics. Email:


Suparmi is an English and BIPA Lecturer at Universitas Islam Negeri Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang, Indonesia. Her research interests are in teaching English for Specific Purposes, technology-enabled language learning and teaching, and BIPA. Email:

Endah Yulia Rahayu

Endah Yulia Rahayu is a doctoral student at Universitas Negeri Malang, Indonesia and has been teaching English at Universitas PGRI Adi Buana, Surabaya, Indonesia. Her research interests lie in language assessment, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), and multiculturalism. Email:


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How to Cite

Susanto, G., Suparmi, & Rahayu, E. Y. (2020). The Emotional Geography of International Students in Online Bahasa Indonesia Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of International Students, 10(S3), 161–179.