Student Life In Malaysia - Living Costs, Fun Activities, Places to Visit, The Life
Student Life in Malaysia
Okay, so let me introduce myself first. I'm Ayman Mohammed, 22 years of age, studying in Malaysia for about 3 years now. So i have basic to complete knowledge about this country and what a student may expect while studying and living here. Yes we do all face difficulties living away from home and our beloved parents in a new country at a new place. And as a freshie, you basically know nobody at all, except ofcourse your agent who will be helping you out with everything if you have one. So here are the tips and help guides i'm going to be providing you to ease your journey to Malaysia and any difficulties you may face. I've been through these so this is a student to student advice.
Please read through:
First Thing You Should Do Once Landing Into Malaysia -
Airport-Terminal walkthrough : There are two terminals. One that your plane will connect to for you to be able to get into the terminal. And then you get into a train that takes you from that terminal to the next. This next terminal basically is the one that allows you to exit the airport, and anybody who comes to pick you up(for ex. your agent), picks you up from here. BUT depending on your University you may have to stop before they let you pass the final checkpoint, where you show your Visa Approval Letter and your passport and all the other necessary documents provided by your University or agent. By "you may have to stop" i mean, it might be necessary for you to go to the immigration office and wait for your agent because for some Universities it is required for the agent to pick up the instead, instead of the student leaving the University alone by him/herself.
Emergencies: First basic step you should always keep in mind is, before travelling, always.. and i mean ALWAYS keep your cell phone adequately charged because of any emergencies you may face throughout your journey or anywhere at any time for that matter. AND always keep important numbers saved in your phone. Your parents' numbers, your University's number, your agent's number, if you have a friend in Malaysia, his/her number and if you've booked for an accommodation before hand in Malaysia, keep the number of the person in charge or anybody related for the accommodation. Trust me, it may sound naïve but THESE are the people who will definitely help you out over phone or they will come down to the airport if you get into any trouble or face any problems whatsoever. YES, that's how friendly and helpful people in Malaysia are, no joke. But obviously there's always a bad apple in the bunch, and so if you face one, just ignore him/her and move on to the next person and seek for help.
Also, it is always important to save those numbers somewhere else besides your phone. Like, right it down on a paper and keep in in your wallet or your travel pack or your pocket. And just in case, save them in your laptop, your tab or elsewhere aswell. Because you never know when anything may go wrong with your phone, or you actually run out of charge, or you lose your phone or any damage happens to it. Just to stay in the safe side, make these necessary precautions before hand. It always helps.
Final Tip before getting out of the airport: You will notice cell phone sim card brand stalls on your right side once you come out of the train on the second terminal before you go to pick up your baggages. Make sure to buy a sim card right then and there. It barely costs anything. The sim cards will be around RM9 (please convert RM9 to '$' dollars or any other currencies at your convenience to see how much it may approximately cost in your currency). This is the first step to helping you out throughout your phonecalls to your agent, or your University or for any emergency or important calls.
Taxi Service: If you haven't requested for airport-pickup from your University(which costs some money that you pay before hand so that people from your University can come pick you up for your convenience), look for black cabs parked outside. Their numberplates will have 'Limo' written on them. Those are the airport Limos, which do cost a bit more than the other traditional taxis but it's the safest mode of transport for you since it's your first time in Malaysia and the taxi drivers definitely know how to exploit you because they know you are new to this place and know nothing about the taxi fares or anything at all for that matter. But if you do end up taking a taxi instead of the black Limo, make sure to take care of your belongings at all times and do converse with the driver. Make him believe that you're smart and not somebody he can exploit or steal from and run away from it. Talk to him like you know everything and you're strong enough on your own. But doing that, don't leak out all personal information about yourself or don't tell them anything outside your limit. You never know what someone's intentions are, so be very careful as to what you talk about with the taxi drivers.
Making friends: Throughout your journey in the plane, at the airport, on your way to your accommodation or University, talk to people. Whoever looks friendly or nice enough, talk to them, be nice, some people can help you in ways you can never imagine. That's how i've made friends this whole time in Malaysia and that's how i get around without any problems or not knowing what to do. Why makes friends in the plane? Because since they are in the same plane as you and going to the same destination, they are too in Malaysia for studies, work, or business or even just to travel. So talking to these people will help you make friends from different Universities, or different cities from where you will be living and more people you can hangout with or visit Malaysia with. You might even find someone who is travelling to go to study in the same University as you. See? You've already made a friend from your University before even knowing what your University looks like. And if that person is new too, you both can help each other out throughout the whole process without you having to do it alone and being lost with the whole procedure.
University Life: Before you start your class, you're required to attend the orientation programme held by your University for all the new students. This is another place where you make new friends from literally ALL OVER THE WORLD. This orientation programme will show you safety precautions and probably most of the things i'm mentioning and show you videos of campus life and how to get around or how to defend yourself in certain situations. And last but not least, tell you about a small trip you will be having with all the rest of the new students in that orientation programme around Kuala Lumpur to help you better know the country and your new friends. Yes, it's like a field trip. An adult field trip if you may call it lol
From there and then onwards, now if you're not an introvert and do like to make friends, i bet you will already make many friends from different nationalities and you will already be knowing about Malaysia a lot and visiting different places all within one week or more or less before your classes start. OH and do keep an eye on your budget please. Since it's a country that isn't expensive at all, you will tend to spend too much at a short amount of time on what or where, you won't even realize until you get broke.
How to manage your money and keep a budget: Yes, yes i know, we all do that, we all want to dress fancy, look good, eat fancy. I mean, why not, right? We have traveled abroad obviously to see and experience the nicer things in life which we probably couldn't because of restrictions or cultural conflicts and other matters back in our countries. But here's the thing. Beside trying all these out, there comes a point where you won't care anymore. You will want to be simple. Dress simple. Eat simple. Save money. Yes, you will, i know it lol. Saying it from experience. Everybody here does that, and this happens. Start saving from before. For example, buy clothes for a few grands all at once and then stay with those. Don't go around, look at new awesome clothes and shoes, drool over it and then buy it anyway and then cry later because you're broke. Do it this way. Buy a little every month, fashion doesn't end or run out of time. There's always the rest of the year left to look good. Take it month by month, by the end of the year you will have a closet full of all your favourite clothes already, that way you won't run out of clothes easily and not be able to buy more because you're broke.
Eating fancy food? we all LOVE it, let's be honest! But for this, make another plan! Try out fancy and delicious food restaurants once or twice per week during the weekends with your friends. Not everyday. I've done that too and by the mid of the month i was already crying to sleep, because of starving lol So keep it to once or twice per week.
And for the rest of the cost, don't spend unless you really have to. And always make a budget list. Write down where you've spent and on what. By the end of the month or before your money finishes you will know where you spent your money. So if you get broke even before the month ends, you can cut down on the unnecessary costs from your budget list and save up more. This way you won't get broke/run out of money and you can even actually save up every month and then by the end you will have a lot of saved money that you can use for something important. Follow these steps and you won't regret, trust me :)
Masterroom - Approx. RM750
Medium - Approx RM650
Small - Approx. RM550
All these are excluded from electricity/utility bills/water bills and internet bills. You have to pay for those separately(shared among housemates),
Modes of transport:
LRT(Train): Only a few ringgits to travel from one end to another end of Kuala Lumpur
Taxi: Approx RM20-30+ within Kuala Lumpur
Renting cars: RM60(Half day), RM120(Fullday) depending on the type of car, the price may increase.
CLASS CLOWN AND MAKING FRIENDS, BEING POPULAR: Nothing is more fun than being able to make your friends or your new multi-cultured friends laugh and know you. The more you interact and be friendly and makes jokes and be funny, the more you entertain people the more people will know you and like you. Ofcourse don't overdo it and make a fool out of yourself. But do it enough to let yourself be known and make good friends. The more good friends you have, the more fun you will have attending classes or doing projects or hanging out after class somewhere and any time you need help with something, people will definitely be there for you because you're fun and friendly and everybody likes those kind of people. And that's what i mean by popular, you don't have to be a dancer or a singer or have talents, i'm not talking about those kind of popular lol
Now towards the fun side of the country - Malaysia - Places to visit and what to expect:
The parties, the urban cities, the beaches, the people, the currency - everything about this place will want to make you live here as a student. -As a working individual? eh not so sure. Taxes can be pretty annoying when you come from a tax-free country from the middle east
Planning on a trip to Malaysia? Islands with amazing beach you need to visit, Perhantian Islands/Langkawi/Tioman Islands/Pangkour, yeah the parties there are great too, a lot of foreigners and BOOZEE!
Want to go high up in the mountains where it's foggy and the view of the city beneath is amazing? and you get to wear your coolest hoodies so that you don't shiver to death? Go to GENTING HIGHLANDS. Trust me, if you like cold and heights, that's the place to go. Oh and did i mention they have pretty awesome Casinos there too? yes they do. There are themeparks, water-parks, movies and pretty much everything you would find in a tourist place or a mall.
Want to explore a new/different culture/religion? Go to Batu Caves! It's a nice place to visit. Has a big Golden monument which is the iconic statue for one of the ..Gods(i'm guessing?) at the front and a cave that you walk through to go the the waterfalls at the back.. not bad huh?
Not really looking for anything classy or on a tight budget but still want to drink and listen to good music? Perhaps meet a lot of foreigners who love to drink and dance the night out like you? DEFINITELY go to Changkat-Bukit Bintang!
Want to buy cheap collectibles or cool looking t-shirts, singlets, original copy shoes, and a variety of handy stuffs starting from bags to souvenirs to cool looking lighters? Go to China Town in Pudu Raya| Also Berjaya Times Square does the job| Why not visit both right?
Last but not least, enjoy the urban city life if you're already bored of beaches and parties at KLCC - basically the whole city area where the Petronas Twin Towers are located. They have roofless double-decker hop-on/hop-off buses there that give you a tour of the whole urban city of Kuala Lumpur|
HOPE ALL THIS HELPS FOR YOU FELLOW STUDENT TRAVELLERS! :) GOODLUCK PEOPLE!