Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It’s known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers.
Malaysia has sought to position itself as a regional education hub in Southeast Asia with growing international enrolment and increased government investment in the education sector. More broadly, UNESCO and others have observed that regional hubs are starting to attract larger numbers of internationally mobile students. Malaysia in particular, along with China, Korea, and Singapore, is beginning to compete with destinations such as Australia and Japan for students from a number of Asian markets.
UNESCO’s recent recognition of Malaysia as one of the top 10 destinations for post-secondary education bodes well for the Malaysian government’s goal to significantly increase its enrolment of international students to 250,000 by 2025. Since 2014, Malaysia has jumped in the rankings of UNESCO’s latest International Student Mobility Survey from 12th place to ninth.
Twinning programmes are also known as “2+1 programmes”, which refers to the structure of studying an undergraduate degree as part of this (2 years in Malaysia + 2 years overseas). There are also “2+2 programmes” which are arranged in accordance with several US/UK/Australian institutions.
The flexibility of twinning programmes are hugely attractive. More and more international students are looking to Malaysia for their higher education because of the country’s growing reputation for teaching and research.
At the end of 2014, Malaysia hosted around 135,500 international students, studying in public and private higher education institutions as well as international high schools. That was an increase of 16.5% from 2013, according to Malaysian newspaper Sun Daily.
Malaysia is amulti-ethnic melting pot. Just half the population is Malay while almost a quarter is Chinese and over seven per cent is Indian. Whilst Malay is the official language of Malaysia, English is a recognised language and widely spoken. Such a setting is a great foundation for international students to make them feel at home in addition to having a sense of belonging. The global community allows for religious, cultural and social acceptance and is testimony to the fact that Malaysia is home to just under 100,000 international students. Studying at university is not solely an academic experience and having the opportunity to appreciate the different facets, cultures and religions that make up the Malaysian identity is a learning curve in its own right.
International students have few opportunities to undertake paid employment.
Non-Malaysian students are allowed to work on a part-time basis during semester breaks, festive holidays or more than seven days of holiday for a maximum of 20 hours a week.
International students have very strict opportunities to get permanent residency.
References: ICEF, Wikipedia, TopUniversities.com