Student Blog

International student exchange: Why I chose Malaysia

3min read

Hello everyone!
My name is Mizuho, and I have been studying abroad at “Universiti Sains Malaysia” (University of Science Malaysia) since March of this year.
Today I’d like to talk about why I decided to study in Malaysia. Perhaps you will also consider Malaysia as a potential study abroad destination!

・ Malaysia: A multi-ethnic country

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country where the majority of people are of Malay descent. According to a 2010 survey by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the population consists of 67% Malay and other indigenous people, 25% Chinese, and 7% Indian. Because it is a multi-ethnic country, many different cultures and religions are mixed and commingled here.
This is what attracted me to Malaysia. It is so fascinating to be able to experience Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and other cultures all at once.

・ What about the language barrier?

As I mentioned, Malaysia is a multinational country. But some of you may be worried about whether you can learn English here. Maybe you are worried that there are few opportunities to use English with a mixture of languages like Chinese, Malay, and Indonesian being spoken. Trust me. There is nothing to worry about!
In Malaysia, which used to be a British colony, English was the official language for a while after the establishment of the independent Federation of Malaysia, and in addition to their native languages, the various ethnic groups still use English as a common language. Although their accents definitely differ from those of native speakers, you can still immerse yourself in an environment where you are constantly using English both in the classroom and in daily life, so there is no need to worry about learning English!

・ Low cost of living

Cost is a perennial issue when you are studying abroad. I wanted to keep my expenses as low as possible, so when I was considering countries where I could study abroad inexpensively and experience many different cultures, Malaysia came to mind.

So, how cheap is it to live in Malaysia? Let me give you a specific example from the menu of an on-campus restaurant.

The currency in Malaysia is the ringgit (RM) (RM 1 = JPY 30.35 as of July 28, 2023).

Nasi kandar: RM 10 = approx. JPY 300
Steamed rice with your choice of sides, such as chicken or vegetables.

Roti cheese: RM 3 = approx. JPY 90
A cheese-filled flat bread that you eat with curry.
For the record, this is my favorite dish.
You should definitely try it when you come to Malaysia!

As you can see, you can enjoy an entire meal for less than JPY 500.
To give another example, it costs JPY 1,500 for a student to see a movie at a cinema complex in Japan, but in Malaysia the cost for one adult is RM 22.5 (approx. JPY 675), while the cost for a student on weekdays is only RM 10 (approx. JPY 300)! Isn’t that a great deal?

・ An appealing partner university

At Universiti Sains Malaysia, where I am studying, I can learn many disciplines such as media, sociology, art, and marketing. Since there are few restrictions on course registration during study abroad, you can take courses in basically any department, which allows you to broaden your knowledge. There are also Muslim holidays, Chinese holidays, and other holidays unique to a multi-ethnic country, and festivals are held on campus on each of these days. Another attractive feature of the university is the many opportunities for interaction at these festivals; you can make friends from Malaysia and other countries. In fact, I have already made many friends!
The university is also home to three libraries, a post office (which is currently closed), a bank, a clinic, several cafes and restaurants, and a wide range of other facilities, making it convenient to do just about anything.

(Photo: An on-campus restaurant)

What’s more, the university is located on the Malaysian island of Penang, so it is surrounded by the sea and abundant nature.

・ Summary

Although I haven’t been able to tell you the whole story about Malaysia, I hope you have come to realize just how attractive the country is.
In my next article, I will provide details on how to get your visa for studying in Malaysia.
Be sure to tune in!

Mizuho Ueno
Mizuho Ueno

Hello, everyone! My name is Mizuho, and I am a 4th year student in the College of Asia Pacific Studies. My hobbies are dancing, getting in touch with nature, and playing with animals! I used to do aikido, so I'm strong! :) I hope to interact with many people through SPA activities!

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