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Study in Malaysia vs. study abroad

Study abroad or Malaysia

Should I study in Malaysia or should I study abroad? What are the plus and minus of studying locally or overseas? If similar questions have crossed your mind, keep reading.

Study in Malaysia

Pros (+)

More forgiving in overall cost / expenditure

For many, this reason is strong enough to study locally. Free from the weight of ‘currency exchange’, and familiar with the food (e.g.: mamak for good affordable food) and accommodation (able to stay with family) etc, studying locally is less likely to burn a big hole in the pocket as compared to studying abroad on the other side of the globe.

Homesick? Not so much 

Some students from other states may still occasionally feel homesick when studying in the city but the fact is you’re still in the country, and going back to hometown is a breeze in contrast with booking a 14-hour flight home when studying abroad.

You know the language

It’s your home turf and you speak the language. This is a huge advantage and often a bigger obstacle if students do not speak the foreign language when studying overseas. Imagine all the extra hours to learn how to communicate in a foreign language; on the contrary, here in Malaysia, students are able to invest the extra hours in their studies and enjoy quality time with their family and friends. Psychologically, this advantage puts you more at ease.

Cons (-):

Not as many choices & in the manner of rankings

Perhaps one of the more obvious disadvantages of studying locally is the limitation of choice. In some cases, the specific course you are looking for may not be available via local universities or colleges and this becomes the reason why students study abroad. In other times, the top law school happens to be in the UK so study abroad becomes the natural choice.

Study Abroad

Pros (+)

Character-building experience

When studying abroad, students gain life experience; often learning how to cook, live and travel on their own, students naturally become more independent and confident. Studying overseas in a new environment propels student to be an active problem solver and less fearful of new situations. Experiencing new cultures and studying with people from various backgrounds also cultivate open-mindedness. 

Perfect opportunity to improve your English

When at home, it’s easy to speak in your native or ‘rojak’ language but when studying abroad - for example in an English-speaking country, you have no choice but to communicate in English. This is tough love and it helps to improve your command of English on a daily basis. By the end of the year, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fast you’ve improved. Chances are, you may even befriend a French student and learn how to speak French while you’re at it!

Golden opportunity to travel

Perhaps everyone who dream of studying abroad secretly just want to travel. Ask students who are studying in London and they will most likely tell you that they have visited (or about to visit) Paris, Amsterdam and Rome during their breaks. Nowadays, studying abroad is synonymous with travel.

Cons (-)

One word – ‘Expensive’.

Living and studying in a foreign country is not cheap, especially when dealing with ‘currency exchange’.

Prone to homesickness

Study abroad means being away from home so feeling  homesick is not uncommon, and if leave unattended, it can potentially spiral into something negative such as depression.


Ultimately, the decision to study in Malaysia or abroad is in your hands. If finance is an issue, our full listing of scholarships may help. As long as you know what you are looking for and stay true to the right reasons, we are positive that you will excel in one way or the other!

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About Author

Study abroad or Malaysia

A freelance writer and translator in English, Mandarin and Malay, her writings have been published in several lifestyle and fashion magazines; she also does voice-overs on the side, and into movies and traveling, quantum theory and retro art.