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The aim of my project was to research whether studying locally in Malaysia can be a viable option when choosing universities and perhaps even a better option to studying abroad in the UK. Studying locally in Malaysia brings lots of pros and cons, as does studying abroad. This project will look more in depth into these advantages and disadvantages and will eventually draw a conclusion as to whether it is more beneficial to study abroad than locally. Firstly, I researched the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad, to perhaps find out the reasons for why people go abroad for university. My findings showed that the reasons students go abroad or prefer to study abroad was mainly either about the experience in a new country and careers after university, as some universities provided a job to the students after they finished university. These were just some of many advantages of studying abroad. However, in order to see whether it is better to study abroad, the pros have to outweigh the cons. Thus, a few factors that would perhaps change a person’s opinion on studying abroad, this included: the cost (international student fees and standard of living), independence and even being homesick. However we cannot just look at the number of advantages and disadvantages and compare which has more, as some factors when choosing a university is more important and are prioritised over others, Therefore I made a success criteria to choosing a university from student’s opinion, this would include: current university students, teachers and students that are currently looking at university choices. I wanted to get the opinions of current university students and teachers, as they had not only decided on which university to go to, and may currently be at the university, but I can also get their opinion on whether their factors into choosing this university was actually as expected. But, some university students did not get the choice that they wanted, so will not be studying at their first-choice university, so I had to take this into account when making the success criteria from these students’ opinions. One of the largest reason why students choose to study in Malaysia as oppose to other choices such as the UK is its cost. In a recent survey on the ‘Most Affordable Cities for Students in 2016’, QS University Ranking found that “Kuala Lumpur – the capital city of Malaysia receives a near-perfect score for affordability, with a winning combination of low living costs and relatively low tuition fees”. This clearly shows the cost-effectiveness of studying in Malaysia. Although university fees and standard of living in kuala lumpur is fairly cheap, it still may not be a good choice for university. This is because universities in Malaysia may not be as good as other universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, so employers may favour towards students and employees that have come from a more well-known UK university. Therefore the next thing I researched was how Malaysian universities were ranked compared to other UK universities. In a recent 2018 World University Ranking list, the highest Malaysian university was the Universiti of Malaya, placed at 114th, and the next two best Malaysian universities after the Universiti of Malaya were Universiti Putra Malaysia, ranked at  229th and Universiti Kebanagsaan Malaysia being 230th. These rankings were ranked out of 1000 other universities from all around the world. This may suggest that Malaysian universities are fairly good, as there are some universities that are actually ranked top 300 .in the world. However, in comparison with other UK universities, malaysian universities do not look as good as it seems. According to the 2018 QS World University Rankings, only 5 Malaysian universities are in the top 300 compared to the UK having 38 universities in the top 300. This clearly indicates that studying abroad for example in the UK, is a more desirable choice compared to studying locally in Malaysia, as the universities in the UK are much better,as the rankings do show. Despite that, we need to look into how these universities are ranked, and which factors are used into ranking these universities, as we do not know if they take into account: grades, education, experience, cost and many more. In addition, although university rankings may be important when choosing a university, but do employers really care about university rankings? This is because usually the main point of going to a good university, was so that the student could have an easier and perhaps better career path after university. However I wasn’t sure if universities prioritised or even looked at university rankings, perhaps they just look at the degree you have gone into. Other than going to a top 20 university: such as: Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard University and many more, to my surprise, the university that you go to isn’t as important as you may think, as the degree that you do is more prioritised by employers, as they feel that it is more important. Plus, according to some employers, going to a top 20 university acts as an advantage over other candidates to employers, as they feel that the degree you do is more important than the university you have gone to. Research shows that work experience, how well informed you are for the job and activities outside the classroom is more important. But, this does not mean that going to highly ranked and respected university is not a good choice, as it does help swing the employer’s decision for an employee. According to the QS World University Rankings, their universities are ranked according to academic reputation, citations per faculty, employer reputation, faculty student, international faculty and international students. A clear and is generally quite an important factor is the cost and university fees, which is a very big selling point for choosing a Malaysian University. Research shows that the average monthly cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is around £550 (MYR 3,000), this includes: food, accommodation, transport, electric and water bills. In addition to that, the average annual university or tuition fees for a Malaysian University such as the University of Malaya is around £3,068, which is around MYR 17,000. This means that annually the average student studying in a Malaysian University will be spending approximately £9,668 (MYR 53,568) per year. In comparison to the UK, the average monthly cost of living in the UK for an average university student is about £1,004 (MYR 5,567). Furthermore, the standard annual cost of tuition fees for a university in the UK from an international student’s point of view is around £22,500, which was approximately MYR 124,778. This meant that in order for a student from Malaysia to study in the UK, paying international fees not home status fees, would have to pay £34,548 (MYR 191,593) annually. This was more than 3 and a half times the ordinary Malaysian student would be paying in a local Malaysian university. This clearly shows that Malaysian universities is a viable option,as it is very cost-effective. The next main factor that students consider very important and is usually prioritised quite highly when choosing a university is its employment rate after finishing university. I will be researching into some universities that provide a job right after university and the employment rate after going to a university. Firstly, I researched the Malaysian Universities to see how they ranked against other universities in the world for graduate employment rate. According to the QS Graduate Employability Rankings, the highest Malaysian University is the Universiti of Malaya ranked at 133rd place, as its graduate employment rate has a rating of 75.3. Furthermore, not far from the 133rd position is the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) placed at 161st with a graduate employment rate rating of 65.9. Looking at how these Malaysian universities are ranked out of thousands of other universities and are placed in the top 200 doesn’t seem very bad. However when compared to other UK universities, there are 34 universities compared to Malaysia only having 2 universities in the top 200 for graduate employment rates, this includes: The Lancaster University (21st), The University of Aberdeen (22nd), University of Surrey being 25th place, Robert Gordon Universities (27th) and many more. The top 9 of the top UK universities for graduate employment all have a rating above 90. Although this may make the Malaysian Universities not look as good, as there are not only 2 Malaysian universities in the top 200, but also their rating for graduate employment isn’t the highest. But in spite of that, the University of Malaya with a rating of 75.3 for employment after graduation is higher than 15 of the universities that were in the top 200 for UK universities. Additionally, the Malaysian University UKM with a rating of 65.9  was higher than 9 of the top 200 UK universities for employment after graduating. This evidently indicates that some Malaysian Universities may not be the best in the world compared to other universities, but can also be a likely option for university choices, as their graduate employment rate is not very low. This could be a great benefit for a student that prioritises on getting a job after graduating from university, aside from it being easier for the student, as he does not need to spend time and go through the difficulty of trying to find a job, but it also ensures a certain career path for him after graduation. The next fairly important factor when choosing a university is its experience, some students prefer a busy city life, some prefer a quieter area and some would even prefer a party life etc. Firstly, as previously mentioned the cost of living in the UK is much higher than in Malaysia, so this would suggest a better and richer standard of living for a student living in Malaysia. Thus, this would imply that the student studying in Malaysia would have better accommodation, food and many more, as he would have a larger disposable income. A large disadvantage of studying in the UK is the weather, the average annual rainfall is around 885 millimeters. On the other hand, the average rainfall in Malaysia is approximately 250 millimeters per year. Due to UK’s weather and its location in the world, the UK’s temperature per day is not very good too. It is usually very cold everyday, let alone during the winter. Typically, the daily temperature in the UK was around 10 degrees celsius. Whereas, the average daily temperature in Malaysia was around 27.5 degrees celsius. The difference in Malaysia’s and the UK’s average daily temperature clearly shows a big change in temperature, from hot (Malaysia) to cold (UK). This could be very difficult for the typical Malaysian student to cope with this sudden large change in climate and weather.

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