Experience the magic of Malaysia—a rich collage of cultures, modern buildings next to traditional spice markets, and rainforests teeming with rare and endangered species. The Malaysian diversity of ethnicities and religions is celebrated throughout the year with many different multicultural festivals. Because Malaysia’s population is so diverse, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and other holidays are observed throughout the country.

Malaysian teens love sports like soccer and badminton, movies and window-shopping. Extra study time and attending supplementary classes are very common. Dating is not encouraged among teenagers.

AFS Youth exchange in Malaysia

Culture & Community

Your host family may belong to any one of the main ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese, or Indian. Regardless of which family you are placed with, extended families often live together and elders are highly respected. Parents like to be included when their children make decisions.  While you could be placed anywhere in Malaysia, most AFS students live in urban or suburban areas. 

Love them all.

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Students wear uniforms, and while most classes are taught in Bahasa Melayu, math and sciences are taught in English. School plays an important role in Malaysian society—more than just for formal education. School is a place where moral values are instilled. The role of teachers is very important and regarded with utmost respect.


The variety of people in Malaysia makes for a very interesting mix of cuisine—spicy Malay dishes, an endless variety of Chinese food, exotic cuisine from North and South India, as well as local Nyonya and Portuguese dishes. Western cuisine is also easily accessible, and there are many international fast-food chains. Most dishes contain lots of spices, chillies and coconut cream. Fish is made for any occasion and in many styles. Food on the table is shared by all the family. You should eat with your right hand and keep the left under the table.

Explore the Programs Available in Malesia