In the age of globalization, there is a growing number of international students are recognizing the benefits of looking beyond traditional study destinations such as the U.S. and the U.K. As higher education institutions in Asian countries improve by leaps and bounds, experts now believe that in the coming years, Asia will become the next higher education superpower – both as a source of students and also as a higher education hub entirely.
Among these rapidly developing countries, we have been informed that Malaysia has emerged as a top study destination for students all around the world.
Its popularity has steadily been on the rise: in 2014, it made UNESCO’s top 20 countries for international students in addition and, ranked at #12, while in 2015, it climbed up to #9.
There are currently more than 120,000 foreign students in institutions of higher learning here in Malaysia, and the number is expected to reach 200,000 by 2020
Among the reasons for this popularity is value for money, wide range of courses available, and a safe environment. For those wondering what makes Malaysia a viable study destination, let’s look at the key factors.
What are the elements that make a productive and comfortable way of living?
Because with that as an indication we shall explore the traits Malaysia has proven to be such a hub in the Asean and breaching the International community.
To answer the question, the elements for a comfortable living are; purposeful learning, affordable luxuries, livability, community, leisure’s, location and environment.
Malaysia is home to 290 or more higher education institutions with cater to international students. Many of these institutes provide quality education top of its class. As part of the government’s efforts to further cement the country’s position as a notable higher education hub, Malaysia has also opened its doors to international university franchises, 10 of which have set up branch campuses, such as Australia’s Monash University and the U.K.’s University of Nottingham, making Malaysia certainly a destination.
Depending on which field of study you decide to pursue and even more so, which university you choose, tuition fees will differ. For example, the average fees for Medicine and Engineering courses tend to run higher compared to the others.
However, in general, the cost of studying in Malaysia is far lower compared to that of countries such as Australia and the United States, which are reputable for their high education fees.
Pursuing an undergraduate course at an international university branch in Malaysia would roughly cost around US$10,000 in total fees, whereas a report in 2014 compared fees and living expenses in popular study destinations noted that it would cost an international student about US$24,000 per year in fees to study in Australia, amounting to about US$72,000 in total, which comparatively makes Malaysia the rational decision if you are in need to be watchful of your budget but still wish to obtain the A-Class standard.
One of the main pull factors for international students is the balance between a high quality and affordable lifestyle. In the Mercer 2016 Quality of Living Rankings, which looks at factors such as; safety, health, education and public services, Malaysia’s bustling capital city of Kuala Lumpur was listed among the top 10 cities in Asia for those exact qualities and was further ranked at 86 overall out of 230 countries. This is good news for students, as the majority of higher education institutions are concentrated within Kuala Lumpur and the neighboring state of Selangor, making it a student paradox and in somewhat – paradise.
The average cost of living in Malaysia for international students is US$10,488 a year, lower compared than other popular study destinations such as Australia (US$18,012), the U.K. (US$13,680) and the U.S. (US$11,651), and yet Malaysia still hosts such franchises of international institutions from those countries too at a lower cost of living.
For those concerned about adjusting to life in a foreign country, most Malaysian universities and colleges have extensive international student support services at your finger tips.
Additionally, English is a widely-spoken language in Malaysia, particularly in its cities, so students rarely find communicating with locals too arduous a task.
Getting around in larger cities is relatively easy, especially in cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur, which has numerous public transportation systems at easy access. Light Rapid Transit (LRT), Monorail and Komuter lines, as well as MyRapid KL buses are all routes and modes available. With the completion of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which aims to create a more integrated public transport system, traversing Kuala Lumpur should become even more effortless than before. With the addition of Grab Car and Uber, things cannot get simpler.
As for accommodation, many international students opt to stay in student lots provided by their respective university. The institutes tend to cater to their students in this matter as well, providing a designated residential lot where residents get access to a range of facilities, such as the gymnasium, swimming pool, and basketball court. Surrounded by fellow students, international students get to become part of a close-knit community.
Malaysia’s annual average of 2,228 hours of sunlight and average temperature of 28°C also encourage students to get out and about, as they as the brain needs enough light to function.
Though it can get rainy towards the end of the year due to monsoon season – in which case Malaysia’s myriad selection of shopping malls are a convenient alternative and fun switch up as well.
Good Cuisine, Good Diversity
To top is of, the cost of food in Malaysia, that won’t be a problem – the Southeast Asian country, like many other countries in the region, is renowned for its smorgasbord of delicious cuisines, thanks to a multiethnic society mainly comprising of Malay, Chinese and Indian culture, this mix certainly creates a diverse pallet.
Students who aren’t so keen on cooking can also rest easy; as cheap food is widely available, so eating out won’t burn a hole in the pocket or eat away at that allowance. From perennial favorites such as nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk) to street food classics such as char kuey teow (fried flat rice noodles, often served with cockles and prawns), students will find it difficult to not gain the “Freshman 40 look”.
In Malaysia, there’s a thriving international student population, comprising of students from all around the world and all walks of life, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Mauritius and Singapore.
Not only will international students feel welcomed sincerely by locals, who are known for their sunny disposition and funny habits and ways, they will also feel at home among fellow students while gaining exposure to different cultures and perspectives, and learning off each other as they journey as one through this educational pool
Globally, Malaysia is seen as a role model in cultural diversity, as Malays, Chinese and Indians, as well as other minorities, have been living in harmony for decades and decades. Contributions from the various communities can be seen in all sorts of quintessentially Malaysian things, such as food and language (most Malaysians speak a curiously colloquial mixture of English and Malaysian known as ‘Manglish’, which is peppered with phrases from Malay, Chinese and Indian dialects all into one).
A convenient location within Southeast Asia, Malaysia gives students the unique opportunity to travel around the region.
With the 9th best airport in the world, which saw nearly 49 million passengers in 2015, students will find it easy to explore the nearby ASEAN nations, such as our boarding countries Thailand & Singapore then moves down to, Indonesia and Philippines, as well as further on, like China, Japan and Australia.
The presence of low-cost airlines like AirAsia, Cebu Pacific and Malindo Air also makes traveling by air cheaper, which is another plus for students. Over the course of term break, students can wander the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, relax on the beaches of Bali, or ride around the streets of Bangkok on a tuk-tuk all at a do-able rate.
Looking back over the many attractive reasons, it’s no mystery why Malaysia has become increasingly recognized as a reputable study destination for international students, for not only education by book, but education to the mind and soul.