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US native considering grad school in Malaysia

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allanl Male
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  #1 Old 25-06-2013 Default US native considering grad school in Malaysia

Hello, I am an American who may be interested in either graduate school or a second bachelor's degree in Malaysia. Any help is appreciated - I have done some preliminary research but so much of the terminology is different from what I am used to that it's quite confusing!

Six months from now I will have completed a bachelor's degree with high marks from a typical but well known state school (Ohio State University). I studied economics, and I am considering getting a second bachelor's degree in something technical like computer science, or possibly a master's degree in statistics (I'm strong in math).

Is it a reasonable thing for an American to go to school in Malaysia? Or, should I find work for a while to become established, and then go to school in a year or so? I see that many on this board aspire to go to school in the U.S. or the U.K. - though, two of my friends spent a month in Malaysia and tell me its a beautiful country with diverse population and growing economy.

For those that have chosen to go to school in Malaysia, what are your thoughts of my plan? I am a little older than the typical student and have some work experience in technical support and computer networking (CCNA). Also, I would not mind teaching English if that was desired of me.

Thanks for any input and I hope all of you achieve your educational pursuits!
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henry_yew Male
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  #2 Old 25-06-2013 Default Re: US native considering grad school in Malaysia

Hi there! It's rather amazing how serious you seem about pursuing your graduate studies in Malaysia (here, most institutions use the term "postgraduate studies" to mean the same thing). Yes, many Malaysians aspire to go to the US or the UK for a new environment (even I had spent more than a year at Texas Tech and will be returning for more of West Texas). It is rather uncommon for Americans to consider pursuing graduate studies in developing countries (however many American professors and scholars have spent their sabbaticals here, and USC has a particular summer school programme in Malaysia for its architectural students), but you must have other reasons to consider Malaysia as a possible point of interest.

Whether you'd like to spend a few years working first before pursuing graduate studies is a decision best evaluated by yourself. Some individuals feel that they should obtain some work experience before pursuing graduate studies, and some believe that once they pursue their career they will never return to academics, so they will pursue graduate studies first. And considering that you will be an international student in Malaysia, you might need to secure your own funding for your education here.

Depending on the course that you're pursuing, you may or may not have the option of choosing between coursework-only graduate studies or research-only graduate studies. Most graduate schools in Malaysia offer Master's or PhD programmes by research only and there are no coursework components involved. If this is not what you really want, then you must do your homework more carefully and search for universities that offer Master's programmes with coursework components involved (pretty much like what is done in the US).
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allanl Male
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  #3 Old 25-06-2013 Default Re: US native considering grad school in Malaysia

Thank you Henry so much for your response.

I'm interested in Malaysia first off because I'd like to add something more technical to the education portion of my resume, and because I'd like to try something completely different while doing it. I've lived in the same boring town in Ohio/USA for my entire life.

Grad school isn't necessary ... I'd also consider another undergraduate in computer science. Are there any work/tuition arrangements in ML? Do employers ever pay for school? I could also teach english.

It's very difficult for me to gauge prestige among schools. It seems some gauge quality by how the school is perceived in Singapore? Also, I see there are public, private, and "international" universities.

Are there possibly any government programs in which I could agree to stay in the country for x - years working for a public institution or something (maybe teaching english or doing something related to my I.T. background ... or even utilizing my economics degree)? I probably sound a bit foolish since I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Is it realistic to attend school while working?

Please don't feel obligated to respond though all info is most welcome. Would it be possible for someone to list one school in each of the categories of best/medium/worst?

I have some of my own money but it would be hard to arrange rent and an expensive tuition simultaneously. Also, I am paranoid that some fake schools will take advantage of a clueless foreigner and that a degree might be worthless.

thanks again!

note: I am already bilingual (Russian) and would be happy to work hard at learning Malay if it would increase my options. Sorry this post is so long.
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adele123 Female
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  #4 Old 25-06-2013 Default Re: US native considering grad school in Malaysia

I'll answer what i can answer.

It should be do-able to attend classes and be working. The downside of this is, the pay in Malaysia ain't that high, and obviously you are limited to part time jobs and since you are a foreigner, on the record, you will be paying more tax (in fact, the highest which is at about 28%, if I am not mistaken). If it's off the record, anything can happen.

As for worrying about the fake schools, i guess asking for some input from the frequent visitors of this forum will help eliminate the risk.

I didn't study locally, but from what i hear, the medium of teaching is primarily in English. Learning the Malay language may not increase your options substantially. anyway, this should not be one of your major problems.

I have not heard of employers in malaysia paying for school for their current/future employee. the more common practice in malaysia is offering scholarship but those are for Malaysians.
i'm cynical, but for the right reasons (i think)
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