YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
YES Alumni lead the 10th anniversary with worldwide events throughout the year. read more >
Study in MALAYSIA with YES Abroad
If you are a secondary school student in Malaysia interested in applying for the YES Program, please click here for more information.
Malaysia, a constitutional monarchy, is a predominately Muslim nation with a moderate Chinese influence and an additional western influence. While it is not an entirely homogenized country, there are only a few main ethnic groups: half are Malay; just under a quarter are Chinese; about 7% are Indian; and a small percentage are indigenous or other. The languages reflect this distribution, with Bahasa Malaysia, or Malay, as its official language, English, several forms of Chinese, and small amounts of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, and Thai all spoken. Although Islam is the official religion, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and a number of traditional Chinese and indigenous religions are practiced and respected. After declaring independence from Britain in August 1957, Malaysia practices a legal system comprised of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law.
It is difficult to distinguish a unitary “Malaysian cuisine,” as it blends flavors of Malay, Indian, Chinese, and traditional indigenous food, and it differs among regions. All of the regions hold one element in common, however: it’s certainly spicy. Malay and Indian food uses lots of herbs and spices, like fennel, cumin, and coriander, and especially curry for Indian food. Rice, vegetables and meat are common staples to be mixed with these spices. Chinese influence provides the tradition of Yin food, like vegetables and fruit, and Yang food, like starch and meat, balancing in each meal. The Indian influence adds staples of light bread and fish in certain regions. Together, these styles create a culinary culture of diversity, tradition, and regional distinction.
The several ethnic groups and cuisines all come together in the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. The city is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in Southeast Asia and juxtaposes ancient mosques and temples alongside cafes, office buildings and malls.
Students will live with host families in order to experience a true immersion into Malaysian culture. Families are selected based on recommendations from members of the local community, and each is carefully screened by AFS staff and volunteers. Many families hold a position of influence within their community, and all are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. Hosting communities exist through the presence of a strong volunteer support network, with a local volunteer, or “liaison,” available to each student hosted in the community.
Students are supported through a strong network of AFS staff and volunteers both in the United States and in-country in Malaysia. Within the larger volunteer community, each student will have a local volunteer, or “liaison,” assigned to him or her, who is often either an alum of the YES program, a past host parent or a teacher at the student’s school. Each student will be given a cell phone stipend after arriving, and will be given the contact number for the AFS-Malaysia office. In the case of emergency, a Duty Officer is oncall 24/7 in both Malaysia and the U.S., and this number is made available to both students on-program as well as their parents.
During the course of the academic year, numerous festivals will be celebrated in Malaysia, including Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Thaipusam and Christmas. As the Malaysian population is made up primarily of people with Malay, Chinese and Indian heritage, there are ample opportunities to visit various communities during their particular religious and cultural celebrations.
Students will likely attend a public, co-educational school. All subjects will be taught in Malay, with the exception of Maths and Science, which will be taught in English. For the first three months of the program, students will also be enrolled in Malay language classes twice a week for two hours, to encourage language acquisition. To gauge progress in language ability and understanding of the subject matter, students will be given periodic exams on roughly a monthly basis.
The Political and Security Environment
Active in international organizations, Malaysia provides a stable environment through its position as a founder of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an active member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the United Nations (UN). The U.S. is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner and has worked with Malaysia on counterterrorism and regional stability. The extensive history of cultural exchange between the U.S. and Malaysia has contributed to the positive relationship that the nations share.
Basic Eligibility Requirements:
A limited number of applicants who are high school graduates at the start of the program will be considered for placement in the following countries: Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, South Africa, Oman, Thailand and Turkey
For the following countries, prior French skills are required: Mali, Morocco, Tunisia
Additional Eligibility Information:
The Youth Programs Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks to make youth exchange programs funded by ECA available to a wide and diverse American audience. Also, ECA wants to prevent conflict of interest issues from arising with regard to Department employees who are involved in particular scholarships and exchange programs. Therefore, in addition to the specific requirements for each program, an applicant for ECA-funded youth exchange programs must meet the following eligibility criteria:
Click here for more information about applying to the YES Abroad program.
Studying abroad in high school can benefit your child in a multitude of ways. The decision to allow your child to participate can be difficult. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding whether or not YES Abroad is the right choice for your child. We compiled the information below to help answer some of the questions you may have. For further information, e-mail the YES Abroad Advisor or call us at (800) 237-4636 x2151.
Who will support my child while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations that have competitively been awarded grants by the U.S. State Department to implement the program. While organizational structures vary, field staff and/or trained volunteers in the host country and here in the U.S. support participants, host families, and natural parents. While on the program, your child will have regular contact with a trained coordinator in their community who will provide support, assistance, and guidance, and will be in regular contact with a staff member here in the United States. All YES Abroad students are provided a local cell phone for emergency use after arrival in-country.
As a parent, how can I help promote the well-being of my child?
One of the ways you can help YES Abroad plan for your child’s successful participation in the program is by providing all relevant information regarding your child’s personal health and family history in the forms provided in the application. This information will not be evaluated as part of the selection process, but is considered in making country and host family assignments. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavioral or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also influence a student’s participation. Living and studying abroad can be a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program. In order to help YES Abroad staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience, please inform us of relevant situations as quickly as possible throughout the application process and program.
What is the involvement of the U.S. Department of State and embassies abroad?
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Communities where YES Abroad students will be hosted are selected in cooperation with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the host countries. The Department of State and implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the YES Abroad countries. All YES Abroad students are registered with the Office of Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country. Students will only be placed in countries that have been approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Where will my child be living?
All YES Abroad students live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected. Host families receive formal orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. These families may or may not speak English. Local coordinators, who are proficient in English, provide support to participants and host families throughout the program. Students attend a school in their community alongside local peers.
What happens in the case of an emergency?
YES Abroad implementing organizations are prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Each organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. YES Abroad consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
Will my child have medical coverage while abroad?
YES Abroad participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the case of an emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible in the host country.
What costs are covered?
The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to: room and board for the In-Person Selection Event (for semi-finalists); round-trip airfare, room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation (for finalists); round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad (for finalists); in-country support; cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family; secondary medical benefits; and visa fees.
What costs are not covered by the scholarship?
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include: costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport; required medical examinations and immunizations; and extra pocket money while on program.
How will YES Abroad help my child prepare to go abroad?
YES Abroad provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES Abroad experience begins shortly after the finalists are selected, with activities that may include online resources, handbooks, conference calls, opportunities to speak with YES Abroad and YES alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Participants are also encouraged to be proactive in engaging in their own research on the host country and its culture. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in Washington, D.C. that addresses how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.