Student Life in Malaysia for International Students : A Great Overall Experience

Edmates Editorial Team

Student life in Malaysia for International students can be an amazing life experience. You get to enjoy the dynamic culture of Malaysian life while learning and experience the best Asia has to offer.
student life in malaysia

Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, is located at the heart of South-East Asia and boasts of a multicultural society that welcomes people from all walks of life. It has everything that a tourist, visitor, businessman, family, and student can ever ask for – good food, entertainment, a whole host of recreational facilities and activities, yearly events, friendly locals, an accepting attitude and breathtaking architecture. 

Although Malaysia has always kept its doors open to foreigners from all around the world since it accelerated economically, in recent years, it created an even more dynamic environment in which people can not only find work easily but also study and thrive. 

On top of that, qualifications from Malaysian universities and colleges are gaining ground as some of the most recognised in the world.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 1

Amazingly Convenient

Before setting things up, many Malaysian universities and colleges would have scouted around for locations that would make life easier, more convenient and suitable for student life.  

For example, the Curtin University campus in Miri Sarawak is located a stone’s throw away from Co Co Dive which runs diving exploration through the underwater world of Sarawak’s shores. In the meantime, Canada Hill, a popular tourist hotspot in Miri, is a mere 27-minute drive away. Standing on top of Canada Hill is the Petroleum Museum which showcases the oil and gas industry of Miri and The Grand Ole Lady, a replica of the first oil well in Malaysia.

The University of Nottingham Malaysia is also located at a site that is away from the city buzz in Semenyih. Selangor. Students will find it a thrill to hike their way up Broga Hill which offers stunning views out towards its surrounding cities, communities and forested areas, will get to bring their friends out for a day of indoor go-karting at Superkart Indoor Karting, or enjoy the serenity offered by the Sak Dato Temple. If students wish to enjoy shopping, bar-hopping or take part in the hustle and bustle of downtown Kuala Lumpur, it’s only less than an hour’s drive away!

For universities at the heart of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya like SEGi College, malls like IKEA, Ikano Power Centre, eCurve, The Curve and 1 Utama are within a short drive away. In fact, the college is surrounded by clusters of shops offering everything from Italian cuisine to phone repair services. A college within the satellite city of Petaling Jaya will enjoy amenities like Camp5 in 1 Utama where there’s a host of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and galleries. 

The city is not known as the City of Malls for nothing because if one mall is packed, there are at least three others to choose from within driving distance. So, on hot days, you can either visit a less-patronized air-conditioned mall to escape the humid heat or hit it up with your friends in a trendy shopping mall. 

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 2

Beautiful Campuses

First off, no matter which university or college campus you study in, if it’s affiliated with a foreign university like the University of Nottingham in the UK, Xiamen University in China, Curtin University in Perth, Australia, or the local Raffles University Iskandar, students will enjoy spanking new, luxurious amenities. 

Students can expect well-stocked libraries, clean auditoriums armed with modern projectors and teaching equipment, experienced (and sometimes foreign teachers from the university from the country of origin) teachers from abroad, cafeterias offering great choices, and a campus surrounded by either beautiful, natural terrains or a conglomeration of businesses within walking distance.  

The universities go out of their way to make life as a student as focused, relaxed and convenient as possible. Life is a ball when you’re a university student in Malaysia.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 3


Students can’t get bored in Malaysia because the country is blessed with a reliable inter-city train system that locals and visitors can rely on even on holidays. Yes, there’s an option to fly between cities but the sleeper trains and intercity buses make for cheaper and better options. 

Although the roads in and around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are constantly undergoing changes and reno work (to upgrade, expand and built new rail systems), the extensive network of roads is reasonably well connected. Granted, you might need to rely on your preferred navigation app to find your way around. That’s, perhaps, the only fly in the otherwise perfect ointment. 

If you do not wish to rely on public transportation or get a hired ride and you already have a driver’s license from home, it is simple and easy to get your local driver’s license. The best person to ask about this is the university’s international student affairs office. To find out more, visit the Road Transport Department of Malaysia to have a quick look around.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 4

International Diversity

Malaysia has a very unique culture. It embraces all cultures, religion, and background. Students will find it easy to make new friends with the locals and other international students. Although Islam is the primary religion in the country, students are more than welcome to celebrate their own culture. 

To step foot into the doorway of Malaysia’s vibrant cultural corridor, international students are more than welcome to join in on yearly Malaysian festivals like:

  • Wesak Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri
  • Sarawak Gawai Festival
  • Mooncake Festival
  • The Dragon Boat Festival
  • Rainforest World Music Festival
  • Thaipusam
  • Tadau Kaamatan Harvest Festival
  • Burmese New Year

In fact, Malaysians will happily and proudly share with new students the highlights of the year, especially if you’re willing to rough it out with the crowd during one of Malaysia’s open houses. Friends, family, neighbours would drop by each other’s homes to celebrate each festival together.

Although Malay is the main language in Malaysia, most Malaysians speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil, and many other foreign languages. Thanks to its acceptance of other cultures and lifestyles, many Malaysians are open to learning YOUR language if you’re open to a language-exchange.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 5

A Foodie’s Paradise

It’s hard to deny the fact that Malaysia is, in fact, a foodie’s paradise blessed with easy access to food from all around the world! You don’t have to make a special trip to Petaling Street to sample delicious local Chinese cuisine, Melaka for authentic Nyonya food, or make a special trip to another state or city just to sample burgers and pizza. 

The restaurants are literally everywhere, whether you’re yearning for Thai, Japanese, Mexican or Middle-Eastern!

You’ll never be hungry when you’re a student in Malaysia, only spoiled for choice. The country is well-known for having 24-hour small open-air stalls and food courts offering delicious fares around the clock. 

And if you don’t enjoy going out too often, university campuses run fully catered accommodations and will cost students no more than RM20 per meal.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 6

Student Visa

One thing that differentiates Malaysia as a student destination is the fact that the country makes it relatively easy to get in as a student, complete with a social visit Visa for the student’s families. 

International students require a Student Pass to study in Malaysia once they receive an offer of admission from their preferred university or college. It will cost around RM 2500+ for students (together with a processing and personal bond fee) to get 1 year student visa. Just get in touch with the university’s international students’ administration department before the date of entry and you’ll have everything ironed out before you know it. If you have questions, there are online guidelines and forms to download, complete and submit and officers are available to answer students’ questions. 

Another important number to take down is the telephone number (or email address) of your local consulate or embassy in Malaysia.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 7

Making New Friends

You’re at the prime of your life as a college or university student. Take every opportunity to make as many different friends from other parts of the world as possible. They may remain friends with you for a long time and you don’t know when future work may lead you to their nook in the world. 

It’s always a wonderful experience to learn about another culture when you’re in a foreign country together as you strive to inch closer to your ambition. With a common goal, international students will find it easier to bond, learn, and have plenty of fun together while studying in Malaysia.

Student Life In Malaysia For International Students : A Great Overall Experience 8

Great Student Experience

Chill, relaxed, convenient, exciting, thrilling, and eye-opening – this is how some former Malaysian international students described their experiences after completing their studies in this South-East Asian powerhouse. It creates a conducive environment for students to study, learn, experience, and experiment all at the same time. 

When you’re done studying in Malaysia, you might even land a good job offer here. 

To find out more about which university or college to enrol in in Malaysia, send us your application and we’ll fill you in on the details.

Table of Contents

Related Content


Which Top Ranking Malaysian University Should You Enrol in?

Malaysia offers the right advantages for International students and is increasingly pulling students from traditional international higher-ed destinations such as UK, US, Australia, and others.

Here are the top private universities in Malaysia for you to consider.