PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, has broken into the global top 30 best student cities to live in.
According to the latest QS Best Student Cities Ranking 2023, Kuala Lumpur is now placed 28th globally.
The capital moved up by three places in the 10th edition of the global ranking, beating cities like Beijing, Los Angeles, Adelaide and Taipei.
For the fourth consecutive year, London, United Kingdom, took the top spot.
Coming in sixth in Asia, Kuala Lumpur is also ranked as Asia’s most affordable study destination.
In Asia, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong bagged the top three spots respectively while Singapore was fourth.
Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) chief executive officer Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin said this showed that Malaysia was on the right track to achieving the government’s target of having 250,000 international students in the country by 2025.
“It’s a positive outlook. With KL ranked as Asia’s most affordable study destination, the country will become a more attractive destination for families planning their children’s future tertiary education pathway.
“We are targeting to have 50,000 international students apply to study in Malaysian higher education institutions by the end of this year,” he said, adding that last year, there were 40,000 applications.
The number of students coming in had been steadily increasing, said Mohd Radzlan, adding that Malaysia experienced a 6% increase in enrolment between January and May this year compared to the same period in 2019.
Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) Master of Business Administration student Justin Louis Halim first came to pursue his undergraduate programme at the private university.The Indonesian student is now staying on to complete his masters.
The 22-year-old said Malaysia was his main choice due to the affordability of the tuition fees, cost of living and for its quality programmes.
“Price wise, tuition fees and cost of living does not differ that much from Indonesia but the programmes offered here are very different and specialised which I couldn’t find back home.
“Malaysia’s culture, liveability and internationalisation are also plus points for us international students,” he added.
APU Master of Philosophy in Management student Khyaati Ramlalsing, 23, enjoys the togetherness among local and international students, the affordability of food prices and APU’s facilities were some of her main factors for choosing Malaysia as her tertiary education destination.
Like Justin, the Mauritian too stayed on after completing her undergraduate programme.
Bangladeshi student Faizaan Rabib Islam, 22, first moved to Malaysia nine years ago with his family in support of his older siblings who came to pursue their degrees.
Soon, the Taylor’s University student followed suit and is currently pursuing the American degree programme.
“The day-to-day living in the Klang Valley is reasonable and the cost of university programmes here aren’t as exorbitant as it is in other countries. Also, most higher education institutions here offer a great education,” he said.
During the EMGS’ 10th anniversary dinner on Monday, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said Malaysia remained as the preferred choice of destination for international students to further their studies.
She said although the number of applications to further studies in Malaysia slightly declined following the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the situation improved in 2021 with the number rising by some 32%.
“This was further strengthened when KL was ranked second in the QS Top Universities ‘Most Affordable City for Students’ for 2018 and 2019. In other words, the tuition costs are affordable,” she said.
QS senior vice-president Ben Sowter said five of the world’s top 10 cities in the metrics for quality of universities were based in Asia, highlighting the continent as a bastion of higher education excellence.
“Combine this with outstanding career opportunities in its metropolitan hubs and we see an exceptional region to study and live in,” he said, adding that Asia was home to some of the most outstanding student experiences in the world.
Factors such as affordability, quality of life, university standard and the views of previous students who have studied in these destinations were taken into account.
A total of 140 cities worldwide with a population of at least 250,000 are ranked annually.