Top Reasons to Study at a University in Malaysia

By Edmates Editorial Team

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Universities in Malaysia are leading global institutions with strong recognition, provide good quality of education, have a well developed international partner network and are one of the most affordable destinations.
Malaysia university

Stepping into the world of higher education can feel a little stressful and daunting but it is a rite of passage that every young adult face. It will open up a whole new world of experiences and opportunities for you, especially if you choose to study in a welcoming country like Malaysia. 

Bear in mind, things can be challenging but if you rise above it, the experiences will enrich and empower you, arming you with irreplaceable prowess and reinforcing your own personal strengths. As the saying goes, there is no better teacher than experience. 

Malaysia has much to offer students in terms of quality education. A land of diversity, great food, welcoming locals and a booming economy, studying in Malaysia will gear you up for a more opportune future. It will set you for the global stage. 

A study done by UNESCO revealed that the small nation of Malaysia has gained a firm foothold in the world market share of international students, especially in the rapidly growing private education sector. Students from more than 100 countries continue to flock to the diversified nation thanks, in part, to its affordability factor. Its private educational organisations are known for being great alternatives to studying in costlier countries without compromising on world-class recreational, medical, sporting, and lifestyle amenities and facilities.

Affordable & Quality Education

As with studying in any other country in the world, parents and students should take into consideration both the cost of the course tuition fees and living expenses. Compared to living and studying in other countries, time and time again Malaysia emergences as a more budget-friendly destination for higher education

An engineering degree in Malaysia will cost you approximately USD46,000 (RM184,000) for 3 years compared to studying and living in the United Kingdom which will cost families around USD61,000 for the same 3 years’ course. 

For a 2+2 American Degree Transfer Program, the cost is estimated to be USD11,300 for the 2 years in Malaysia and USD$40,000 in the United States. 

You’ll also stand to save up to USD$35,000 per year on tuition fees and cost-of-living expenses when you complete your MBA in Malaysia as opposed to the United Kingdom.

Internationally Recognised

There are many cost comparisons made over the last decade and one thing has not changed – studying in Malaysia is still drastically cheaper. Also, the degrees carry the same weight. Because the course modules are the same, are evaluated using the same criteria and marking scheme, the degree is equivalent to those from Universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. 

The strong lineup of Malaysian private universities and education centres included in the world’s top 200 universities include:

  • UCSI University
  • Taylor’s Lakeside Campus
  • Monash University Malaysia
  • Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)
  • Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
  • Multimedia University – MMU Cyberjaya
  • The University of Nottingham Malaysia
  • Management & Science University
  • KDU University College, Utropolis Glenmarie
  • INTI International University
  • International Medical University
  • SEGi University Kota Damansara
  • INTEC Education College
  • Asia e University
  • Open University Malaysia

Global Partnerships

Playing a major role in Malaysia’s meteoric rise as a global destination for higher education is its growing number of partnerships formed with top Universities from other countries. The government of Malaysia actively encourages the forming of such partnerships. 

Students can now get foreign degrees from renowned universities like Monash University and the University of Nottingham right here in Malaysia. Malaysia now has a smorgasbord of world-famous campuses originating from leading foreign Universities. 

While Malaysia’s KBU International College formed partnerships with Nottingham Trent and Sheffield Hallam Universities, the setting up of Iskandar Malaysia’s EduCity in Nusajaya and KLEC also does the same, welcoming foreign students with open arms. 

Johor, the southernmost state of Malaysia, has become another major player in the Malaysian education industry. Not only has it become the international education hub, but it is also located a stone’s throw away from Singapore, one of the world’s leading economic players.

The transformation of Malaysia into an education hub comes along with a vibrant economy of ambitious goals——in 2015 the per capita GDP in Malaysia was recorded at 9, 557 USD in 2015 by IMF, and this figure is anticipated to reach 15, 000 USD in 2020. Indeed, higher education sector with a growing emphasis on quality has contributed to the strong growth of Malaysian economy by creating a larger pool of qualified human resources, which is the lasting momentum for an increasingly knowledge-based society

The Changing Landscape of Higher Education in Malaysia and China, Institute of Malaysian & International Studies University Kebangsaan Malaysia, IKMAS Working Paper Series No. 2 (2016)

Warm & Welcoming

Malaysia often surprises tourists and international students with how open, trouble-free, and open to communication we are. While other countries impose stricter control over its immigration procedures, Malaysia continues to welcome international students, and this brings about cultural diversity. 

Most Malaysians are not only proficient in the English language, but countless other languages and dialects are also spoken throughout the Malaysian landscape. You would have no communication problem if you speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Indonesian or Hokkien although English is the language of choice for lectures in private institutions. In fact, students who do not speak English well will find Malaysia a fantastic place to pick up new languages. 

To cater to the growing number of students from all over the world, you can often find a melting pot of food destinations strewn across the cityscape, offering Halal and non-Halal cuisine. A simple search on the internet would also reveal how revered Malaysian food is on the world culinary stage.

On top of having access to local Malay, Chinese and Indian food, you’ll fall in love with fusion cuisine in fine diners, world-class restaurants in hotels and beatific streets lined with stalls offering delicious fares. It’s no wonder that Penang island, the quaint northern Pearl of the Orient, is known for being the culinary capital of the East.

Favourite local food to try:

  • Banana leaf rice
  • Nasi lemak
  • Nasi Dagang
  • Popiah
  • Bak kut teh
  • Hokkien mee
  • Sang har noodles
  • Rojak/Rojak buah
  • Satay
  • Chicken and char siew rice
  • Asam laksa
  • Appam balik
  • Roti canai
  • Ramly burger
  • Fish head beehoon
  • Char kuey teow
  • Wan tan mee

A Comfortable Lifestyle

On average, an international student should be able to live comfortably in Malaysia with approximately RM1,800 per month. The figure is not final and can only be used as a rough guide because students can further reduce the cost with some slight lifestyle adjustments.  

With room rental or boarding going for RM400 – RM1,000 per month (depending on the vicinity and campus), food and housekeeping for as low as RM600 a month, and less than RM100 a month for transportation, Malaysia remains to be one of the most affordable countries to live and study in. 

With massive, modern malls everywhere being serviced by feeder buses, trains, rental cars, e-hailing companies, and taxis, students will find major Malaysian cities a wonderful place to live in. In fact, if you’re in Penang, with a rental car, everything is literally a skip and a hop away. There are also clusters of fancy restaurants, bars, and fine diners to visit, quaint cafes at every street corner, and recreational facilities surrounding its major cities. 

Top malls in Malaysia:

  • 1 Utama
  • KLCC
  • Sungei Wang Plaza
  • Central Market Kuala Lumpur
  • Starhill Gallery
  • Low Yat Plaza
  • AEON Mall Shah Alam
  • The Gardens Mall
  • Sunway Pyramid
  • Berjaya Times Square
  • Amcorp Mall
  • Bangsar Village
  • Empire Shopping Gallery

However, for students living on campus or in a boarding house, they are encouraged to share out the cost of traveling and arrange for group trips to further cut down costs. 

Housekeeping is also cheaper in Malaysia (RM60 per 2-hour cleaning session) compared to neighboring countries and it’s a luxury that even students can enjoy without breaking the bank. For those who rarely make international phone calls back home can enjoy limitless data plans at competitive prices by using internet-based messaging, video, and voice call apps. You pay simply for what you need instead of being bound by a contract. Most students can make do with spending RM50 a month on their phone and data plans.

So, it’s easy to see how and why so many parents and students choose Malaysia to study instead of flying to a more expensive country. Malaysia offers the same modern amenities at lower prices and students will get an internationally acclaimed qualification at the end of the day. 

With budget-friendly prices and hospitality, it’s no wonder Malaysia has become a hub for foreign students. 

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