Studying abroad is a wonderful experience but for international students in Australia, particularly those from countries where English is not the dominant language, it can be tough initially. To help make the process a little easier, we’ve put together a guide that covers food, religion, cultural support and language.
While the number of Malaysian students studying in Australia has stagnated over the past few years, Malaysia is still one of Australia’s greatest sources of international education. Of the 690,000 international students who called Australia home in November 2018, over 26,000 (four per cent) were from Malaysia. While a large portion of Malaysian students enter bachelor award level study in Australia, a growing number are also seeking out vocational education with over 8,000 students registered as studying VET. Malaysia’s international student population is mainly concentrated in large Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, while a handful of Malaysian students study in regional areas of New South Wales and Victoria.
You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding Malaysian food in Australia. Larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne have restaurants that cater specifically to Malaysian cuisine, while you’ll tend to find fusions of Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian food in smaller cities and regional areas.
Islam is Malaysia’s official religion, which is followed by roughly 60 per cent of the population. While Malaysia is a secular nation, different ethnic groups do tend to follow a variety of religions. Malaysians of Chinese origin do not follow a dominant religion, but they do practice Buddhism, Christianity and Daoism. Australia’s multicultural landscape means there are plenty of places of worship available around the country, irrespective of your religion. You will be able to find mosques, churches and temples in all capital cities and a number of regional areas.
Many major Australian universities have student groups for Malaysian students, so joining one is a great way to link up with fellow students and navigate your Australian study journeys together. Education Malaysia Australia provides a number of services to Malaysian students studying and living in Australia, including accommodation, consular assistance and general communal support.
Malaysian is the official and most commonly spoken language in Malaysia, and is sometimes simply referred to as Malay. English is also commonly spoken throughout Malaysia, with Malaysian Standard English having deep Malay, Tamil and Chinese influence. Mandarin and Hokkien dialects are also widely spoken by those of Chinese ethnic origin, just as Tamil is spoken by those from India.