Study in Malaysia: Travel and Stay Guide for International Students

by neha.bhaskar

Malaysia is increasingly becoming a favored study abroad destination for international students. The ratio of international and local students in Malaysia is 1:10. The reason for the rapid influx of students in Malaysia is the affordable cost of education.

To travel and stay in Malaysia, students do not need to make a hole in their pockets as the cost of living is lower when compared to other study abroad destinations. Notwithstanding, students get to experience a diverse culture in Malaysia and get a chance to travel throughout the country at affordable rates.

Presently, there are more than 500 private higher educational institutions in Malaysia that are approved by the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia. Although the number of institutions is many, only 200 of them have been given permission to recruit international students.

Before planning to study in Malaysia, students from across the world need to make sure that the university they are applying at, recruits international students. At the top universities in Malaysia, students are allowed to only undertake full-time courses.

Entering Malaysia: Pre-Departure Checklist

Before students leave their home country, they need to be absolutely sure that they have the following documents with them.

Passport with 6 months validity
Proof of financial support
Letter of acceptance from the university
Entry clearance letter obtained from Malaysian Consulate at home country

Having all these documents in place, before leaving to study in Malaysia, will make sure that students do not face any difficulty upon their arrival in Malaysia. Other things to keep in mind before entering as an international student in Malaysia are:

  • A student will only be permitted to study at a higher education institution in Malaysia if he or she has sufficient funds to support them till the end of the course.
  • It is a mandate to pay a personal bond fee to the Malaysian Immigration Department when applying for the Malaysian student visa. The fee varies from USD 48 to USD 483.
  • A medical examination is compulsory to enter Malaysia.

Entering Malaysia

At the immigration checkpoint, students need to show their Visa Approval Letter (VAL) after which they will be issued a special pass that is valid for 30 days.

  • Students will be given a Visa upon Arrival by the immigration department
  • All the immigration matters usually take 30 days after the arrival
  • For students planning to study in Malaysia, it is advisable that they enter the country visa Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
  • Students need to inform their institution about their estimated time of arrival, flight number and other relevant details.
  • For students to be recognizable at the airport they need to wear a badge with the logo of the university as the top universities in Malaysia have representatives waiting at the airport to receive students.

It is recommended to arrive in Malaysia one week prior to the course commencement

Other Immigration Matters

Affixing student pass sticker: The special pass issued at the immigration checkpoint is valid for 30 days. Within four weeks of arrival, the university needs to send the students passport to the State Immigration Department to be affixed. The visa and student pass are endorsed in the passport by the Malaysian Immigration Department. All the payments (Student pass fee and Visa fees) needs to be made at the respective state immigration departments. A student pass in Malaysia is valid for the entire duration of the study, depending upon the validity of the passport.

Medical Screening: All the students wanting to study in Malaysia, need to undergo a medical screening 7 days post their arrival in Malaysia. Students need to consult the university regarding this, and then download the medical screening form from the EMGS website.After this, the university will schedule an appointment with EMGS approved clinic for the screening. Passport is mandatory at the screening location.

Getting the i-Kad: All students who have a valid student pass will be issued an i-Kad, which is an identification card having all the important information about the student such as name, passport number, pass expiry date and university information. Even though it is a valid travel document within Peninsular Malaysia, it should not be mistaken as a replacement for a passport.

Staying in Malaysia: Accommodation for International Students

International students have lots of accommodation options during their course of study in Malaysia.  The choice of accommodation made by the student is largely dependent on whether the university of their choice has a hostel facility or not, which is the city they are living in and what is their monthly budget. Whenever a student has been admitted into a university he or she needs to make it clear as to whether they require accommodation or not. 

Different types of accommodation options available to students are:

On-Campus Accommodation:

  • The top universities in Malaysia provide a managed accommodation for its students
  • Accommodation different from countries like UK and USA. It does not mean a residence hall, but can be residence hall or a student hostel with varied facilities and rates.
  • For any query related to on-campus accommodation in Malaysia, students can directly contact the university office.
  • Residence Halls – The resident halls are situated just a few minutes’ walk from campus. The kind of residence hall differs from university to university. Whilst some provide meal facility per day, others have self-catered options. The cost per semester for a residence hall can vary from USD 184 to USD 920
  • Hostels- Hostels usually have various communal facilities and living areas. Students have the option to either share a room or live separately. The cost of hostel at the top universities in Malaysia varies from USD 28 – USD 68. Each room is furnished and equipped with WiFi.

Off-Campus Accommodation:

  • Accommodation in Malaysia for international students are many, the majority of them being off-campus. These are also called student communities.
  • Can be studio flats or apartments, shared houses having 3-4 bedrooms and communal facilities.
  • Apartments and Studio Flats – Students can live more independently whilst they study in Malaysia. Rent usually varies from USD 55 – USD 123 per month including electricity and water bills.
  • Agencies and renting privately – Students can also contact housing agencies in Malaysia through universities. Usually, the rental cost for a single bedroom in Malaysia is USD 470.

Travel and stay in Malaysia for international students is pretty easy. With the country being extremely diverse in every aspect, students have lots of options to select from for their travel and stay. The country has a great public transport network enabling students to commute easily at affordable rates. To sum it up, Malaysia is a country which enables students coming from across the globe to leave peacefully, without any hassles during their course of study.

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