Living Cost In Malaysia As An International Student

September 20, 2023


living cost in Malaysia

Malaysia is a highly sought-after location for students worldwide looking for a top-tier education at an accessible price point. 

The country boasts a rich tapestry of cultures and exceptional educational institutions, making it a popular destination for those seeking to further their academic pursuits. 

However, international students must consider the cost of living while pursuing higher education in Malaysia. 

With that in mind, this article provides valuable insights and practical tips on how students can manage their finances while pursuing academics.

How Much Will You Spend In Malaysia? 

1. Accommodation 

living cost in Malaysia

As an international student in Malaysia, you have a variety of accommodation options to choose from. 

Many universities provide on-campus housing options, from shared dorms to private rooms. 

However, choosing shared or private rooms is only available in private universities such as Taylor University or Management Science University (MSU). 

As such, you must make a deposit payment of RM2,500. The processing fee procedure, however, may differ depending on the university. 

For instance, if you plan to live on-campus at MSU, you must pay the processing fee of RM500. 

It is important to note that the accommodation cost will vary depending on whether you choose a single or twin-sharing room. 

You can visit the university's official website for more information about the accommodation offer and costs.

Another option is living off campus. 

Renting a room or sharing a house with fellow students can be more cost-effective. 

Off-campus housing costs vary depending on the location and amenities, ranging from RM 400 to RM 1,500 per month. 

To manage accommodation costs effectively, starting your search early is important. 

When budgeting for off-campus housing, it is helpful to consider splitting expenses with roommates and factoring in additional costs like utilities.

These steps can lead to a more comfortable and affordable living arrangement while studying in Malaysia.

2. Food and groceries

living cost in Malaysia

Malaysia is renowned for its diverse and delicious cuisine, influenced by Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Western flavors. 

Whether you dine out and savor the local delicacies or cook at home, the food costs in Malaysia are generally affordable. 

Eating at hawker stalls, street vendors, and small restaurants can be budget-friendly, with meals ranging from RM5 to RM15. 

If you prefer to cook your meals, grocery shopping in Malaysia is reasonably priced, with a monthly budget of RM300 to RM500. 

Nevertheless, it depends on your dietary preferences and eating habits. 

It's worth noting that some ingredients, such as fresh produce and seafood, could be more expensive than others.

Alternatively, you can explore local food markets and street food for more affordable dining options.

These places offer a great opportunity to try various dishes at reasonable prices. 

Not only is it cheaper, but it also allows you to experiment with new recipes and flavors. 

It would be a big waste if you didn't taste local cuisine!

Following these tips, you can enjoy Malaysia's delicious food without breaking the bank.

3. Transportation costs

living cost in Malaysia

If you're planning on exploring Malaysia's cities and towns, you'll be happy to know there are plenty of transportation options available to you. 

Public transportation is a great choice if you're looking for an affordable and eco-friendly way to get around. 

Depending on your location and how often you plan to ride, monthly buses and LRT transportation passes can range from RM100 to RM200. 

Of course, ride-sharing services like Grab and traditional taxis are also available and super convenient. 

But they tend to be a bit pricier than public transport. 

It's always a good idea to compare prices and options before deciding what mode of transportation is right for you. 

If you want to save some cash, you might consider sharing rides with friends or using a bicycle for short commutes. 

4. Healthcare and insurance

As an international student studying in Malaysia, it is imperative to prioritize your healthcare needs. 

The majority of universities in Malaysia require international students to purchase health insurance, which costs between RM 500 to RM 1,000 annually. 

It is also important to allocate funds for unexpected medical expenses.  

Consultation fees can range from RM50 (or higher) for a basic check-up to higher fees for specialized treatments.

To manage healthcare costs efficiently, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of your insurance coverage. 

Make sure to seek medical attention within the network whenever possible to maximize your insurance benefits and avoid out-of-pocket expenses. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the likelihood of experiencing medical issues and prevent costly medical bills.

Taking care of your health should be a top priority, especially when studying abroad. 

With proper preparation and knowledge, you can meet your healthcare needs without worrying about the financial burden.

5. Education expenses

As an international student studying in Malaysia, you might notice that tuition fees can be a significant expense. 

The cost of tuition varies depending on the level of study and field. 

For undergraduate programs, the cost can range from RM10,000 to RM30,000 per year. 

In contrast, postgraduate programs can cost anywhere from RM15,000 to RM40,000 annually.

Aside from tuition fees, there are also additional expenses to consider. 

For instance, study materials like textbooks can be costly and range from RM1,000 to RM2,000 annually. 

However, purchasing used textbooks or accessing digital resources can save on these costs.

Exploring scholarships and financial aid options is advisable to manage your education expenses. 

These options can help offset tuition costs and provide the necessary funds to cover your education expenses. 

By taking advantage of these opportunities, you can focus on your studies without worrying about the financial burden of pursuing an education.

6. Everyday expenses

In addition to the necessary expenses, international students may need to spend money on leisure activities, entertainment, and personal care items. 

To avoid overspending, it's recommended to set aside RM200 to RM500 per month for things like movies, dining out, and cultural experiences. 

Furthermore, allocating a budget of RM100 to RM300 per month for toiletries and miscellaneous purchases will ensure that all personal needs are handled. 

To make the most of your time in Malaysia, you should balance your enjoyment of leisure activities with sticking to a budget. 

This way, you can fully experience the country's rich culture and academic opportunities.

As an international student in Malaysia, it's important to plan and budget carefully to manage the cost of living. 

You must consider housing, food, transportation, healthcare, education, and everyday costs. 

Creating a realistic budget allows you to enjoy your educational journey without financial stress. 

If you plan to pursue Malaysian universities, you can contact our education counselor via email or phone number

We are ready to assist you in providing the necessary information and finding the perfect university for you! 


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