Living In Malaysia
Malaysia is a bustling melting pot of many ethnic groups and religions making it a very diverse multicultural and multiracial country where the citizens live together in peace and harmony.
It therefore made Malaysia home to hundreds of colourful festivals, celebrations and exchanges. Malaysia is truly Asia!
Weather and climate in Malaysia
The country is generally warm throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 21° to 32° Celsius in the lowlands. The minimum can be as low as 16° Celsius in the highlands. Annual rainfall is heavy at 2,500mm (100 inches). On a rainy day, thunder and lightning often accompany the heavy downpour which normally lasts for about an hour or two. The high humidity level at 80per cent throughout the year favours light and sweat-absorbent material like cotton for daily dressing. Generally, Malaysia has two distinct seasons. The dry season occurs during the south-west monsoon from May and September. The northeast monsoon brings the rainy season to the country during mid-November till March.
The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit Malaysia or RM but is still referred to by some people as a‘dollar’. The Ringgit Malaysia comes in denominations of RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100. Coins are 1 sen (cent), 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen and 50 sen. Foreign currencies can only be changed at Banks and licensed Money Changers.
It is obligatory that all international students have medical insurance cover and you are also strongly advised to ensure that you have adequate insurance cover for your personal effects.
International students are required to take out Health Insurance and information regarding this will have been sent to you prior to registration. The policy is to cover Hospitalisation and Surgery but does not cover the cost of consultations or treatment at a General Practitioner. If you need to register for this policy please contact our International Student Office.
Insurance of Personal Effects
All students are recommended to take out insurance to cover loss, theft or damage to their personal effects. The University does not advocate any particular Insurance company but if you are in doubt as to how to go about insuring your personal effects please ask for assistance. Do not use the lack of information as an excuse for not taking out insurance.
Opening a Bank Account
You are required to open a bank account to ease any financial transactions made with banks in your home country. To open a bank account, you need your passport and a minimum of RM20. We would recommend all students to open their bank account with Bank (www.muamalat.com.my).
Malaysia’s official religion is Islam, but freedom of worship is well accepted, with most of the world’s major religions are represented in Malaysia. There are mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples, and Christian churches in the nearby area. The Albukhary mosques are on site near the campus available to all the Muslim staff and students. The respects for all religions is one of AiU’s core values, and expects all students to practice the same.
Malaysia is a multi-lingual country. Bahasa Melayu is the national language in use, and English is widely spoken. Other ethnic groups also converse in their various languages and dialects.
Living In Kedah
Kedah is located in the north of Peninsular Malaysia, bordering with Perlis and Thailand. Kedah has a total area of 9426 square km and comprises 12 districts. It is also known as the “rice-bowl” of Malaysia, it being the largest padi growing state in the country. Because of that Kedah forms a very scenic wide with a lot of lush green environment.
By 2010, the population in Kedah had reached 1.9 million and comprises 76 per cent Malays, 15 per cent Chinese, 7 percent Indians and 2 percent other groups.
Entertainment and social activities
Throughout the year the Student Affairs Department will be providing a variety of entertainment and social activities. However, for those who wish to be more adventurous and seek out entertainment in and around Alor Setar the following guide will provide a starting point for you.
Shopping Malls & Cinemas
The nearest shopping mall to the campus is the Souq Albukhary. It is located within 10 minutes walking distance from the student’s hostel. Other shopping malls in Alor Setar are Star Parade, and Alor Setar Mall. They carry a wide range of products and goods, including food outlets.
The nearest cinema is in Alor Setar Mall, although there are larger cinema complexes in the Sungai Petani and Penang.
Safety and Security (Off-Campus)
All students are reminded that it is not wise to travel alone, especially at night, and you are strongly recommended to travel in groups. For your safety there are a few basic rules we recommend you to follow:
- Never go out alone. Go with friends who you know and trust.
- Do not let strangers buy you drinks or leave your drinks unattended.
- Make sure that you have a means of getting home if you are intending to stay out till late. Remember taxis may be more difficult to find after midnight.
- Do not accept lifts from strangers. In emergency, call the police.
- Make sure that friends know where you are if you are to be out late. Better still, if the University is also kept informed.
Cafes and Restaurants (Off-Campus)
As in all Malaysian towns there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Alor Setar for anyone to sample. Restaurants vary in price from very cheap to 5-star hotel prices so there should be something to cater for everyone’s budget and tastes.Local foods are generally hot and slightly spicy, though this may vary from place to place.
Within the campus, there are also instant food outlets that are internationally known brand names.These fast food outlets will not deliver free of charge to the campus.