Teach English in Malaysia
The majority of people who teach English in Malaysia are situated in the city of Kuala Lumpur. This modern capital has all the hallmarks of a bustling city with all of the necessary infrastructure, cafes, restaurants, and entertainment around to keep you occupied from Monday to Friday. On your weekends, you can start by exploring the Batu Caves, which are a quick 30 minute train ride north of the city. These astonishing limestone caves are said to have formed about 400 million years ago and are the focal point for the small Hindu population of the country. Before you walk up the multi-coloured steps, and pass the monkeys at the entrance, you will come face-to-face with the giant golden statue of Murugan – one of the tallest of its kind in the world – standing at almost 43 meters tall.
What do a 40,000-year-old rainforest, a pulsing megacity and an incredible stretch of coastline all have in common? They’re all in Malaysia. Diversity personified, the Wild East as it is so affectionately known, is one of the world’s most exotic destinations for teaching English abroad. Now with a booming economy, Malaysia has its finger on the pulse of progress and English teaching is more important than ever in this country rich in history, biodiversity and incredible food.
Cities Spotlight – Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu
As with anywhere else in the world, most jobs can be found in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. KL is one of Asia’s true melting pots, where cultures and cuisines from around the globe complement each other so perfectly, it has created a sparkling clean metropolis complete with a towering skyline, a testament to Malaysia’s rising power. The city is home to the Petronas Towers, the tallest buildings in the world from 1998-2004, which still cut a pretty incredible figure in the centre of the city. KL is incredibly easy to get around and very safe, which makes it a great place to live and work, not to mention all the convenient short haul flights you can take from KL airport to the rest of Malaysia and neighbouring countries.
Penang is an Island destination just off the North-West coast of Malaysia. This tiny Island is joined to the mainland by bridge so getting on and off the Island is incredibly cheap and easy. However, the ease is not what makes Penang desirable. George Town (Penang’s only city) is known as the food capital of Malaysia and its old town is a UNESCO heritage site, due to its unique rustic architecture. The city is home to hundreds of vendors and restaurants, selling everything from Curry to coconuts, from Pad Thai to fried crab, and all at ridiculously low prices. Penang is also home to the world’s smallest National park, diverse and interesting street art is on display along every wall, and high end shopping centres back on to the Islands beautiful beaches. Everything you could ever want can be found on this tiny Malaysian Island.
From one Island to another, the next recommendation is the capital city of Malaysian Borneo, Kota Kinabalu. The city is similar in many ways to Penang and KL, it’s clean and diverse, with a plentiful array of delicious foods. However, KK is the gateway to the Bornean rainforests. Living here you are hours away from ancient jungle and amazing wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. Take a weekend away to visit the Orangutans, or watch crocodiles on the Kinabatangan river. You can enjoy days of hiking in the many national parks, or visit crystal clear waters for stellar diving that rank as some of the best in the world.
Wherever you go in Malaysia, you won’t be lacking in things to do, see or especially, eat.
So the food is a pretty big deal out here. Your typical Nasi Goreng just doesn’t cut it in Malaysia, where you can fill your plate for less than $2 with mouthwatering curries, rice and noodle dishes. Malaysian food is heavily influenced by two separate countries; India and China. So you’re in for a culinary treat as you eat your way through the thousands of dishes that are on offer for only a tenth of the price you’d expect to pay in the West. Buffet restaurants are extremely common, where you can help yourself to as much as you can eat and the waiter estimates how much you’ve taken afterwards, dropping your jaw with the price every time. Malaysian food is a saucy foodies dream, so wherever you decide to go you’ll get something lathered in something else. Also, because of the Indian influence, it’s extremely easy to be Vegetarian here and enjoy just as many incredible dishes as the carnivores.
Malaysian culture is a cosmopolitan mix of different ethnicities, so to pin point to one thing they have in common and call it a culture can be difficult. However, if there is one thing that can be said for everyone in Malaysia, it’s that they place a lot of value on food and socializing. It’s very common for every restaurant on a street to be filled to the brim during meal times, with Malaysians enjoying their time together to eat and drink. With the price of the food, this comes as no surprise, and Malaysian people are often very forthcoming with their company during mealtimes. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited to dine with a group of people at any time of the day and no matter where you are. Their amazing food is what gives Malaysians a lot of pride, and they usually want to help you enjoy it as much as they do.
When you teach English in Malaysia, the prerequisites can be a little higher than other countries in the area, so teaching online can often be a great idea for those wanting to explore the country as it’s cheap and easy to make your way around. Many Malaysians already speak perfect English due to the majority of their schooling being taught in English. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t prefer foreign teachers for their classes. You can find work better when you’re already in the country, as most Malaysian schools want to meet and interview you in person, so it’s best to have done your research before you arrive and have some schools in mind. The public schools are the bigger payers here, and salary is much higher in the capital, but with the cost of living being so low there is plenty of opportunity to save money anywhere and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. One major perk of teaching in Malaysia is that many schools offer subsidized or free accommodation, so keep an eye out for any schools willing to help you with your living arrangements. Malaysian children are smart, funny and respectful, with a great interest in other cultures, so teaching in Malaysia can be extremely rewarding.
As previously mentioned, Malaysia can be a tricky market to navigate. Immigration requests that all those applying for a work visa as a teacher must have a BA degree, be a native speaker, a TESOL Qualification and a minimum of two years’ experience. Those with more experience are more likely to have a chance at interviewing also. However, for those of you who don’t have a degree, it’s extremely cheap to live and travel around so teaching online offers you the best of both worlds and a free and easy lifestyle.
Citizens from many countries such as the UK are allowed to stay for 30 days without a visa in Malaysia, allowing a good amount of time for some job hunting. After this, your school will deal with working visas and immigration. If you’re unable to obtain a work visa, a tourist visa is a cheap option that will allow you to teach online while you hop around Malaysia’s mainland and Islands.
The Wild East has something for everyone, especially their stomachs, so you’d be a fool to think you’d find nothing here that tickles your fancy. For those already sold, waste no time in booking those flights and start your Asian adventure in the most exotic country on the continent.
After finding your way through the tourist attractions in the city, including the Petronas towers, you’ll be a stone’s throw from countries like Singapore and the rest of south-east Asia, enough to keep any TESOL teacher busy. When you’re ready to teach English in Malaysia, contact TESOL Australia today to speak with one of our course advisors. Start by clicking Enquire below!