Until 2004, Malaysia was the unlikely home of the world's tallest buildings-a distinction that says just as much about this small country in southeast Asia as it does about the region as a whole. Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's bustling, exciting capital city of nearly 1.5 million residents, the Petronas Towers soar nearly 1,500 feet above the ground. And on top of their sheer height, the architectural design of them, conceived to reflect the nature of the local Muslim culture, is an achievement in itself.
Most impressive of all, however, is what the Petronas Towers stand for: The heralding of South East Asia as one of the single most important economic regions on the planet. For indeed, South East Asia has seen an economic and political resurgence the likes of which the world has never really experienced before, and the significance of the fact that the symbol of that ascendance, the twin towers of Kuala Lumpur, are found in Malaysia, is difficult to overstate.
The city itself is an exciting amalgam of the past, the present, and the future. One of the most telling examples of this happy coexistence is the juxtaposition of the supremely modern and the astoundingly ancient. From the truly dramatic architecture of Kuala Lumpur's city center to the ancient Batu Caves just north of the city, the best of both worlds exist together in this country.
Students in the capital city will find themselves in the heart of one of the most exciting, up-and-coming urban centers in the region. As a result, they will enjoy international cuisine, a bustling nightlife, other students from all over the world, and a culture as stimulating and as exciting as any they are likely to encounter anywhere.
In terms of nightlife, which is key to any college student's experience, "Kuala Lumpur has the most upbeat nightlife scene in Malaysia. Dining out and a night at the pubs or discotheques are regular activities for city residents, and entertainment venues are virtually around every street corner. There are also concentrated pockets which can almost be classified as entertainment districts" . This, of course, is of tremendous benefit when it comes to relaxing after all the rigors of the classroom that students in Malaysia are sure to experience.
Outside of the city itself, there are too many things to see and do for a college student to ever experience them all. From the beaches of the Malaysian islands to the outdoor and water activities that so enthrall tourists and residents alike, there is something in this country for everyone.
Students, of course, may find themselves a bit intimidated by the prospect of having to learn the Malay language, but they needn't be: It is really no more difficult to learn than any other language, and immersion in a country in which it is spoken is sure to make understanding it and communicating in it much easier than you may fear. And because it is so similar to the Indonesian language, and its use is so widespread through South East Asia (including some people in Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines), a working knowledge of it will take you far in your travels and work throughout the region.
However, with a little bit of practice, the ways of life of the Malaysian people will come to seem like second-nature to you.
In the end, Malaysia is an excellent place to attend college not only because of its rich history and fascinating culture, but also because of the ever-increasing importance of the region itself. And the more you can integrate yourself into it now, and the more contacts you make, the more likely you will be to eventually play a roll in the business dealings of it once you're finished with college. All told, then, studying in Malaysia will likely provide you with everything most students desire from their education.