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.

Host Family & 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. 

#mybigfamily ??

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You will attend a public school, which runs from Monday to Friday (7.30 am to 1.30 pm) in most regions and Sunday through Thursday in other regions. You will be able to choose between studying a track in science, humanities, commerce or technical studies. 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 official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu, but English is a compulsory second language. Having a basic knowledge of English will helpful. AFS will provide you with tips and tools for learning the language.

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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.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.