Malaysia is home to many ethnic groups, each co-existing in harmony and helping to enrich the country’s cultural lifestyle. International students in Malaysia can benefit from Malaysia rich cultural diversity in the following ways:
- Exposure to Multicultural setting
Studying in a multicultural environment and working with people from diverse background contributes immensely to broadening students perspective and this experience is invaluable in a rapid globalised economy.
- Gastronomical Paradise
Malaysia is well known for its rich diversity in food choices. Local cuisines are plentiful as its of Malaysia’s ethnic groups have their own dishes. Most University and College Campus’ cafeteria serve food ranging from hot Indian dishes to and exotic Mediterranean to Western and popular Chinese dishes and spicy Malay food.
When you are studying in Malaysia, you should take this opportunity to explore, experience and understand the various ethnic groups’ history and its unique traditions, clothings, beliefs system, food, customs, family and social arrangements, religion and rituals.
The multiculturalism has made Malaysia home to hundreds of colourful festivities. They are many holidays and festivals that an international student will experience when studying here in Malaysia.
Some background information on Malaysia major ethnic groups
Today, the Malays, Malaysia’s largest ethnic group, make up more than 50% of the population. The vast majority of Malays practices Islam and speak the Malay language The Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) is the national language of the country. The Malays are known for their gentle mannerisms and rich arts heritage.
The second largest ethnic group, the Malaysian Chinese form about 25% of the population. They are mostly descendents of Chinese immigrants during the 19th century, the Chinese are known for their diligence and keen business sense. The main language spoken by chinese in Malaysia include Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese. Most chinese are either Buddhist or Christians.
The smallest of three main ethnic groups, the Malaysian Indians form about 10% of the population. Most are descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian immigrants who came to the country during the British colonial rule. Indians in Malaysia are predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine and exquisite sarees.
Other smaller ethnic groups
There are many ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak. Some examples are Iban,Melanau, Kelabit in Sarawak and Bidayuh, Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau and Murut in Sabah. Each have their own language and customs.