Malaysia is a diverse tropical country that is split into two sides known as Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo (East Malaysia) by the South China Sea. Its blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups exhibits a kaleidoscope of colors and cuisines, making for a distinctly varied culture.
Kuala Lumpur, the most populous city in Malaysia, is located on Peninsular Malaysia about a five-hour bus ride north of Singapore. This spread-out city constantly on the rise is ornamented with many mosques and colonial British- and Moor-influenced buildings that remind trendsetting city-goers of its colourful past.
Malaysia is currently the world’s 11th most preferred study destination. According to UNESCO, Malaysia has captured a 2% market share of international students in the fast growing private education sector. With a population of 27.9 million in 2009 and more than a million Malaysian students in tertiary education, Malaysia also accommodates more than 80,000 international students.
Higher education opportunities are abundant for international students at an affordable cost. All students are welcome to come learn in a country of great diversity, rapid economic development and people living in peace and harmony!
Recognising the potential of the country to become an education hub, various measures have been taken to promote Malaysia as a centre of excellence for education. These include establishing Malaysia as a higher education mobility hub for international students, deploying effective marketing strategies, and setting up Malaysian Higher Education Centres in selected cities worldwide.
In addition, high impact projects have been developed to cater specifically for education, for example, Kuala Lumpur Education City (KLEC) and Iskandar Malaysia’s EduCity in Nusajaya (Johor) that offers tailored-made programmes for international students.
The US Newsweek magazine listed Malaysia as the eighth best nation in the education category among the upper middle-income countries in its The World’s Best Countries survey 2010.
Malaysia comprises two distinct land areas, West Malaysia and East Malaysia. West Malaysia is a peninsula, flanked by the South China Sea on the east and Straits of Malacca on the west, with Thailand as its northern neighbour and Singapore sitting at the south. West and East Malaysia cover a total land area of about 329,758 km2 and are separated by approximately 40 miles of sea.
East Malaysia consists of a federal territory and two large states, namely Sabah and Sarawak, which occupy the north of Borneo Island. West Malaysia consists of 11 states and 2 federal territories, all of which have their own distinctive attractions.
The country is 8 hours ahead of the GMT and 16 hours ahead of the US Pacific Standard Time. The climate is warm and humid throughout the year. Malaysia is a physically blessed country which does not experience drastic weather changes or natural calamities. Temperatures are around 30oC during the day and 22oC at night. Light, cotton, cool and casual clothing is recommended all year round.
Malaysia is a haven for food and cultural activities. The races which make up the Malaysian population provide excellent and diverse cuisines. Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes are easily and cheaply available at most restaurants and hawker stalls, whilst fast-food restaurants and western food are easily found too. In addition, various other delectable cuisines are also available, such as Middle Eastern and Thai food. Malaysia is popularly known as Asia’s Food Paradise.
Culturally, Malaysia presents a kaleidoscope of colours and diversities as different races exhibit their individual traits and traditions through festivals, songs, dances and traditional attire. Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, but the races also speak their own ethnic dialects. English, being taught as a second language in schools, is widely used in the higher learning institutions, for daily communication and business transactions.
Dubbed as ‘Mini Asia’, Malaysia is a multiracial country with a population of more than 26 million which consists of Malay, Chinese and Indian as many other indigenous races, all coexisting in harmony. There are also people of other nationalities studying, working and doing business in Malaysia. Bahasa Malaysia is the national language, but English, Mandarin and Tamil are widely used too. Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, but the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship to all races, so faiths like Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and other religions are freely practised. This politically stable nation emphasises the sharing of power among the races, which ensures a peaceful and harmonious environment. As a result of this, Malaysia has gained recognition and acknowledgement as a model multicultural society.
Malaysia takes pride in being one of the world’s largest exporters of palm oil, natural rubber, natural gas, timber, cocoa beans and pepper. It is also one of the leading exporters of manufactured products such as semiconductors, audio-visual products, electrical goods, rubber-dipped products and oleo chemicals in the world.
Education is another growing industry where Malaysia is gaining acceptance as a reputable study destination in the region. The education sector offers a variety of higher educational programmes as well as professional and specialised skill courses that are competitively priced and of excellent quality. Underlying this is the current trend of setting up branch campuses in Malaysia by reputable universities from the UK and Australia. Furthermore, various universities from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and New Zealand are offering twinning, franchised and external degree programmes in partnership with Malaysian educational institutions.
Whether it is land, sea or air, Malaysia has one of the most developed infrastructures in Southeast Asia, comparable to that of developed nations. There is an impressive network of roads and rail links, while the international airport, KLIA, provides world-class facilities and services, as well as hosting airlines from every corner of the world.
Meanwhile, Malaysia is also becoming a formidable force in sea related activities by having some of the best ports in the world. Port Klang, a transhipment hub, is positioning itself as Malaysia’s sea gateway to the world and together with Northport and Southport, offers impressive multipurpose port facilities which have encouraged many shipping lines to increase their calls at these ports.