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How International Schools in Malaysia Help Foreign Students Adapt and Excel

by on 05/07/2023 3024

International students face unique challenges when adapting to a new school environment, but fortunately, many international schools in Malaysia prioritize the well-being and integration of their diverse student body. These schools go above and beyond to create a nurturing and inclusive atmosphere, offering various support systems and programs to help students feel at home. In this article, we will explore some of the notable initiatives undertaken by international schools in Malaysia to facilitate the acclimation of their international students.


Nexus International School


At Nexus International School, students like Eun Bae from Korea have experienced firsthand the school's commitment to student well-being. Eun Bae highlights the school's guidance and counselling services that helped her regain motivation during challenging times. The boarding house, known for its supportive environment, provides a common space for students to study and interact with their peers, fostering a sense of safety and motivation. Nexus International School recognizes the importance of comprehensive support, which has proven crucial for students' academic success.


When I first arrived, I'm really not good at English. I can't really speak or understand. My house parents and my teacher assigned me a buddy who's also a Chinese, so he can help me, he can translate for me. And then we also have EAL, so that's English class, especially for students who are not really good with English. So that helped me to fit in with the community.

Max Ma, China, Year 12

One subject that I found particularly challenging was chemistry. I remember feeling frustrated that I just didn’t understand certain ideas or concepts and I was struggling to apply them to real examples or to questions. My chemistry teacher at the time was really supportive and she absolutely understood how I was feeling. She would sit with me after class and explain things to me and she really helped me to understand the material and to improve my grades to the end.

Gopika, UK, Year 12

When I first came to Nexus, I couldn’t speak English at all, but now I can keep up with the English classes, so I think my English has improved a lot. The teachers pay close attention to each student, and one teacher talks to each student after the test results are returned, telling them what was difficult and what they need to study more, so that they can move on to the next step. I thought that was a great help to me.

Hana, Japan, Year 12



St. John’s International School


St. John International School organizes an annual multicultural event that encourages parents and students to come together and celebrate diversity. This event serves as a platform for individuals from various cultural backgrounds to interact, fostering a sense of belonging and understanding. By promoting cultural exchange and appreciation, St. John’s International School creates a vibrant and inclusive community that supports the integration of international students.



Australian International School Malaysia


Recognizing the importance of peer support, Australian International School Malaysia assigns a buddy to each new student. This buddy acts as a guide and provides support during the initial weeks, helping the new student navigate the school environment and establish connections. Additionally, the school actively involves parents by assigning a parent representative in each year group and including them in the year group WhatsApp. The Parent Teacher Community (PTC) group organizes events to engage both new and existing parents, fostering a sense of community and support.



Oasis International School


Oasis International School takes a personalized approach to help new students transition smoothly. Before their first day, the school's Pastoral Care Coordinator and Principals meet with each new student to provide guidance and answer any questions they may have. This initial connection is followed by continued check-ins to ensure the student is adapting well. The school's teachers also play a crucial role by creating introductory posters with notes of encouragement, making the new student feel welcome and excited. Student ambassadors and parent ambassadors further contribute to the welcoming environment, providing points of contact for both students and parents.


OIS has changed my way of how I look at assignments. I used to look at it like, "Let me just finish this assignment." But now I feel like I have a deeper sense of thought and I try harder in my work

Arsha, Iran, 8th Grade (Middle School)

I really like OIS because the teachers here are always willing to help answer questions, make sure I understand and challenge me to learn new things. On top of that, the sports program allows me to pursue other interests and become a more well rounded person.

Gracie, U.S.A., 11th Grade (High School)


Pine Hills International School


Pine Hills International School emphasizes the importance of unity and inclusivity. By maintaining English as the primary language of communication, the school ensures that language barriers are minimized, promoting effective interaction among students. The school's commitment to fostering a safe and supportive environment is reflected in their HOPEFUL core value and their dedication to raising awareness about bullying. By promoting a family-like atmosphere, Pine Hills International School encourages students to support and care for one another.



Maple Leaf Kingsley International School


Maple Leaf Kingsley International School (MLKIS) supports its foreign students in acclimatizing to the school environment through various initiatives. These include:


  1. English language support: MLKIS offers English language support services such as the English as an Additional Language (EAL) and English Enhancement Program (EEP) tutoring programs. These resources are designed to help students improve their language skills, enhance their communication abilities and facilitate their integration into the academic environment.
  2. Cultural integration activities: The school organizes events and activities that promote cultural integration and understanding among students from diverse backgrounds. This may include cultural festivals, international food fairs, language exchange programs, and clubs or organizations focused on specific cultures or interests. These initiatives encourage international students to connect with their peers, fostering a sense of belonging.
  3. Peer mentorship programs: MLKIS implements peer mentorship programs where experienced students serve as mentors to new international students. These mentors offer guidance and support in navigating campus life, understanding academic requirements, and adjusting to the social and cultural aspects of the school community. The peer mentors provide valuable insights and establish friendships, helping international students feel more comfortable and connected within the school environment.
  4. Inclusive policies and resources: The school is committed to creating an inclusive environment where all students feel valued and included. MLKIS implements policies and provides resources that address the specific needs of international students. This may include cultural sensitivity training for faculty and staff, multilingual information materials, accessible campus facilities, and accommodations for religious practices. These measures contribute to a supportive and inclusive atmosphere for international students at MLKIS.



Acmar International School


Acmar International School prioritizes open and easy communication between teachers and students. This includes regular updates from teachers to parents via email or phone calls, providing insights into the students' progress. To further facilitate communication, the school conducts Parents Teacher Conferences (PTC) twice a year. These conferences offer a platform for meaningful discussions and feedback, ensuring that parents are well-informed about their child's educational journey.



Sri KDU International School


Sri KDU International School adopts a multifaceted approach to support students and their families. Through their buddy system, new students are paired with existing students to facilitate their integration into the school community. Additionally, the school maintains an active parent engagement program, promoting transparent communication between teachers and parents. Weekly Coffee Morning Talks serve as a platform for sharing news and updates, fostering a stronger parent community within the school.



Sri Bestari International School


Sri Bestari International School's tutor-ward system assigns a dedicated tutor to each student. This tutor acts as the main point of contact between the school and the parents, providing comprehensive support throughout the term. The school recognizes the importance of regular communication and arranges parent-tutor meetings twice a term, ensuring a strong partnership between teachers, students, and parents.


Sunway International Schools



Sunway International Schools (SIS) offers a Buddy Up system designed to assist high school students in overcoming social barriers. Through peer support, international students receive guidance and assistance with their social, cultural, and academic needs. Middle school students are supported by core teachers and peers, and they can request a Buddy Leader for additional guidance.


Orientation Day provides parents and students with a comprehensive understanding of the school's programs, procedures and support systems, fostering a sense of familiarity and confidence for new students.


"I was welcomed by the SIS House guardians along with other boarders who were so welcoming and warm. Instantly I felt comfortable and part of the community, making the first day of school an easy transition."

Rose Kaupa Sinamoi, 2021 graduate from Papua New Guinea


"I had supportive classmates and teachers, many of whom came from other countries themselves. I thoroughly enjoyed my studies and made many new friends."

Masaki Nakamura, 2017 graduate from Japan


"SIS provided a culturally inclusive environment where I felt I fit in more than in Indonesia. The teachers' and friends' open-mindedness and moral local support proved to be the greatest experience I've had. The Canadian curriculum offers extensive understanding and learning in academic subjects and builds awareness of community and environmental care."

Chatarina Hanny Angelita Teja, 2020 graduate from Indonesia


These testimonials highlight the positive experiences of alumni who found comfort, support and academic growth within the SIS community.




International schools in Malaysia prioritize the holistic well-being and integration of their international students. From personalized support systems and buddy programs to parental engagement initiatives and multicultural events, these schools create nurturing environments where students feel valued, supported and encouraged. By offering a range of resources and programs, these schools foster a strong sense of community and help international students adapt to their new school environment with confidence.