Home » International Affairs » International Students » Information for International Students


Living in Malaysia
Malaysia is a modern, multi-racial, multi-cultural country with a population of 23 million. Malaysians are a diverse lot with people of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Dusun, Bajau, and many other ethnic origins or also known as a big cultural potpourri because of its multi-ethnic and multi lingual peoples. This comes as a result of a rich history resulting in a true melting pot of the different races. In Malaysia, you will be fascinated with the outstanding characteristics of Malaysia's population with a highly variegated ethnic mix, thus reflecting a pluralistic and multi racial society. The same diversity in Malaysia's society can be found at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Get to know the different nuances of each race, as well as what has converged and come to be known as true Malaysian culture.

Malaysia enjoys an equatorial climate, which is either hot and dry or hot and wet during most periods of the year. The wettest periods result from the heavy rainfall brought by the monsoons, with some dry inter-monsoon periods. The average temperatures range between 22°C and 32°C. You do not need to have special clothing, as the climate is sunny almost throughout the year.

Being multilingual, there are no less than 70 belonging to different language families of Austroasiatic and Austronesian stock. Despite Bahasa Malaysia being the official and national language, other languages like English, Mandarin and Tamil are used in everyday business communications, radio and television broadcasting stations as well as in the educational institutions. In Malaysia, the English language is also recognized as a second language in this region. Therefore, generally most Malaysians understand and speak English. Hence, foreign students will be able to communicate effectively with the Malaysians.

Because of its multi-ethnic composition, different religions are practiced in Malaysia. The official religions is Islam but there are many Protestant and Catholic churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples in addition to the mosques, are easily accessible to the students of respective faiths. Freedom of religion is a constitutional right and people are allowed to choose which religion or faith they would like to follow.


Food is plentiful, cheap and a popular pastime for most Malaysians. The Malaysian famous dishes are Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Chicken Rice and Char Kuey Teow. As these foods are probably alien to you, do try them out when you get to Malaysia. As diversity is the name of the game, variety is the spice of life with foods from all over the world available within a stone's throw.

Living Expenses
The average cost of living for a student living on campus is RM3,500.00 per year and this amount includes the cost of food, accommodation and personal expenditure. For an off- campus students, the cost of living ranges between RM6,000.00 to RM7,000.00 per year. The cost of accommodation and transportation constitute a substantial portion of the off-campus expenses.

Miscellaneous Information

Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)

The Ringgit Malaysia (RM) is the official currently. The exchange rate is approximately RM3.80 to US$1.00.

Electricity supply:
All electrical items operate on a 240-volt 50 cycle power supply.

International Student Visas
All international students applying to study in Malaysia must have a student visa. Applications and processing of student visas can take up to one month.

For all visa enquiries and applications, please contact your local Malaysian Embassy or High Commission:

Malaysian Embassies and High Commissions: http://www.kln.gov.my

For further visa information, visit the Malaysian Department of Immigration website: http://imi.gov.my

English Language Requirement
All non-native speakers of English are required to provide evidence of their proficiency level in English prior to their admission to the University.


updated on 2009-07-24 07:23:11 by admin