Known as one of the safest, most tolerant, easiest to manage countries in Asia
Beautiful, diverse scenery, from forested mountains to white sand beaches
Surprisingly low cost of living, affordable education, and good quality of life
Excellent, internationally recognised education system and qualifications
Multicultural, vibrant environment for international students from more than 150 countries
Located near the equator, Malaysia experiences a tropical climate. While it can get very humid (with monsoon seasons) it never gets extremely hot – average temperatures are from 20° to 30°C.
Society and Culture
Malaysia is a cultural mosaic. While many cultures contribute to Malaysia’s identity, some have had especially lasting influence on the country: the ancient Malay culture and the cultures of Malaysia’s significant trading partners throughout history – the Chinese and the Indians. These three groups are joined by a multitude of indigenous tribes, many of which live in the forests and coastal areas of Borneo. Although each of these cultures has vigorously maintained its traditions and community structures, they have also worked together to create contemporary Malaysia’s uniquely diverse heritage. Despite the various ethnicities, there is a common reverence for the family structure, and for polite, harmonious, respectful conduct. And though the Malaysian constitution declares Islam to be a founding guide for Malaysian culture, there is also a great deal of tolerance for other ethnicities and religions.
The Malaysian economy is known for its relative stability and general growth track. After an economic boom in the 1970s, Malaysia diversified successfully and transitioned from being a mainly raw materials producer to a top exporter of manufactured goods, earning it the designation “newly industrialised country.” It is a significant producer and exporter of palm oil and rubber; crude petroleum and liquefied natural gas; cocoa and pepper; apparel; and timber and wood products. Major markets for Malaysian exports are Singapore, the U.S., Japan, and China. The currency is the Ringgit.
The cost of living in Malaysia is exceptionally low for a newly industrialised country. Housing/renting, food, and eating out are very reasonable, and taxes are relatively low. The average Malaysian spends around 150 Euros every month on food.
Education is a priority for the Malaysian government. “The 9th Malaysian Plan (9MP) from 2006 to 2010 has placed great importance on education, training and lifelong learning. In line with greater focus on human development under 9MP, a total of RM40.3 billion (about 21% of the total budget allocation) has been allocated for the expenditure of education and training development.”
Most private higher educational institutions teach courses in English. However, while most post-graduate courses at public universities are taught in English, most bachelor’s degrees at public universities are taught in Bahasa Malaysia.
To study in Malaysia, international students should apply directly to the institution they would like to attend; student counsellors can help students assess whether this school is licensed and approved by the relevant regulatory bodies of the Malaysian government.
International students coming to Malaysia must obtain a student pass. This is done by applying and being accepted to the institution of choice. It normally takes three to five weeks to obtain the student visa approval. Before purchasing flights, students should check with the Malaysian High Commission/consulate in their home countries about whether they need a visa to enter Malaysia along with the Student Pass approval letter. If they do need one, they should proceed to the nearest local Malaysian diplomatic mission (i.e., Malaysian High Commission Consulate) and show them the approval letter to obtain their single-entry visa. The student approval letter is usually valid for three months from the date of issuance.
International students can work part-time in Malaysia under strict guidelines whereby they can work only during semester breaks for a maximum of 20 hours a week. Only certain workplaces are permitted (for more information, contact Malaysian immigration). All applications to work must be approved through Malaysian Immigration.