In general, Malaysia is a welcoming country when it comes to students who wish to pursue their education. Tens of thousands of talents and workers come in through the gates of Malaysia in pursuit of their career in engineering, IT, business, finance, accounting, communications, logistics and supply chain management, and graphic design.
Working while studying is permitted only under special circumstances and students would need to consult with their college/university and apply for a Work Visa.
So, if you’re looking for a way to gain industry experience while studying in Malaysia, it is possible and there are multiple ways to do it.
In recent years, the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education launched “EMGS”, Education Malaysia Global Services and it aims to help make applying for student pass in Malaysia easier and more seamless. Touting itself as a hub for education and human resource, Malaysia has always kept its doors open to people who intend to pursue their education, especially tertiary, in the country. You can either go through the official website or www.educationmalaysia.gov.my or call any of the higher learning education centres in Malaysia to apply for and undergo their programs. There are well-informed people within these organisations who can help you apply for your student visa/pass through EMGS and offer you insightful advice about what is required.
In a nutshell: a Malaysian Student Visa
MEV, Multiple Entry Visa, is what students will require to study and work in Malaysia. Together with the offer letter from the Malaysian college or university, you’ll be required to submit a signed copy of student pass application form which you can download directly from the EMGS website, 2 passport size photographs, a copy of all certified pages of your passport that is valid for at least a year from the date of your entry into the country, a copy of your qualifications as per requirement stated by EMGS or IHE, pre-arrival medical examination report, and a stamped hand-written personal bond form.
Working part-time as a foreign student in Malaysia
Students who wish to expand their horizon and experience work-life in Malaysia while pursuing their education are permitted to work part-time…but with conditions. Foreign students are allowed to work part-time no more than 20 hours per week in selected organisations. Students are not allowed to handle finances for the organisation which means foreign students in Malaysia are not allowed to work as cashiers.
Scout around to see if the preferred establishments within your locale are looking for new hires and once you’ve found it and passed the interview, speak to the counsellors in your college or university. You’ll need to apply to work part-time in Malaysia through the educational institution. Your counselor should be able to provide you with a list of documents to submit together with your application which includes a signed Visa application form, copy of a valid passport, a cover letter stating the purpose of the visit, a letter from the company or establishment, a confirmed return air ticket, and an original copy of VDR approval letter from the Malaysian Immigration Department.
Learning outside of the classroom
In this modern day and age, many institutions and educational organisations recognise the need and importance to expose students to industry norms while their noses are buried in borrowed library books. Teachers and counsellors often encourage students to take part in or take the initiative to organise group activities, outings, and events that adds value to the community.
By doing this, students are given the chance to be an active participant in something meaningful while actively learning at the same time.
Some colleges and universities partner up with organisations who are scouting for talents or would like to contribute towards a more learned society, to provide real-life work experiences to students, be it local or foreign.
One good example would be Peninsula College which ran their Jom! Bekerja Sambil Belajar (JBSB) Programme. The college partnered up with PKT Logistics Group so that students of Peninsula College could obtain hands-on, practical experience while earning a small income at the same time.
Most students take on internships after completing their courses or programmes and this is so that they have ample time to focus on their studies and pass their exams. However, some students chance upon internships that are too hard to pass up on.
Becoming an intern can run side by side with your studying provided the student is focused and remain steadfast in completing his or her projects and assignments. If you are studying law and interning at a law firm, some of your colleagues could even give you insights and pointers on how to excel in your projects and assignments. Experience, after all, they say, is the best teacher.
You can read more about how to land a good internship in Malaysia right here.
Freelance your way to a small income
As with internships, freelancing is another way to gain industry experience while studying in Malaysia and it comes with the same line of caution: stay focused.
Many companies are on the lookout for talents who can provide help to their establishments and freelancers are often more affordable than hiring full-time staff. You can take on freelance data entry jobs, content writing, tutoring and teaching, waitressing, dog-sitting, become a fitness instructor, or help out with the admin work in an office.
We’d like to, however, caution foreign students about taking on unofficial employment while studying because it may result in your student visa being revoked. The Director of Immigration of Malaysia has the right to approve or reject any foreign student’s application to work in the country so, tread carefully and consult with your student body or college/university advisors.
Attend seminars, become a mentee, and help out
Students in Malaysia enjoy quite a good lifestyle here in Malaysia as the country places focus on providing international students with a conducive environment no matter which college or university they attend.
Your college or university might run regular talks, seminars, invite speakers and teachers to talk about certain topics, get on board and sign up for it. It’s a great way to gain industry insight and experience from people who are already in the mix.
In fact, it’s a fantastic way to meet people from within the industries, learn from them, and you’ll get the chance to pick their brains by asking intelligent questions. Some students reach out to these industry experts and become their mentee. It’s not paid work, of course, but offering your help and assistance is an amazing way to learn new tricks of the trade. It’ll also look fantastic on your resume when you’re ready for the workforce. You’ll never know when these nuggets of info and experience might turn your life around.
So, be on the lookout for good opportunities to meet new people, take on challenges, and offer your help while studying in Malaysia and you’ll get a sneak peek into what the industry looks like from within its walls.
If you’re still looking around for what to major in for college or university, please feel free to reach out to us right here. We’re more than happy to help you find your way towards the next phase of your life.