Foreign student’s hostel experience in Malaysia

Story of a Zimbabwe student’shostel living experience in Malaysia.

Moving to Malaysia from Zimbabwe was a daunting experience. I travelled alone for the first time in my life, and had to move my entire life by myself. I was terrified, to say the least. Due to a lack of knowledge about any facilities in Malaysia, I was encouraged to stay at the university accommodation. At the time of applying, I did not know that I was signing up for an overpriced, small living space that is filled with several rules and regulations, and completely lacks privacy. I have a single room with electricity and water, a shared kitchen and shared bathroom, for RM950. There is a fitted air conditioner in every room, however to use it, you must pay RM50 for a prepaid card that you can top up once it is finished, RM50 lasts about a month.

Upon checking in to the university hostels, I was presented with a contract to sign, listing the rules of the hostel, some of these rules are plastered on the doors all around the accommodation.

Being given these limitations was unexpected, as many of these rules did not even exist at my home when I was younger, but now that I am an adult living independently, I was being confined to a greater extent. A few of the rules we are limited to are:

– Visitors are not allowed to our rooms

– Any time we leave the hostel after 7pm, we must sign out of the accommodation with the our name, student ID and time.

-At 7pm as well, visitors are no longer allowed to enter the premises.

-The accommodation has a curfew during midnight.

Furthermore, our rooms were subject to spot checks. I did not mind the spot checks as I did not have anything that was not permitted, however, I was not present during the time of the spot check, which felt like a complete invasion of my privacy. I was not informed that my room had been entered, but had to figure it out myself as several objects were placed in different positions, including my passport folder which contains my money, and was kept in my suitcase which was initially kept closed. One of my male friends informed me that the female matron entered his room with no warning whilst he was changing his clothes.

As if the dorm rules were not enough on their own, the cleaning services made the experience even worse! Upon opening the kitchen cabinets for the first time, I found them to be infested with cobwebs. Cleaning services are meant to be every second day, however there are times when the trash is full for about 5 days, but it is not taken out. The cleanliness, or lack thereof, of housemates also becomes an issue, as cleaning services are very rare, when a housemate makes a mess that they do not clean up, it is left up to you to clean it up.

Altogether, staying in accommodation may be convenient for the first month or so after foreigners have moved to Malaysia, whilst they search for other places to rent out, but it is not worth it to stay in university hostels throughout the course.

We understand that some of the rules are a bit stringent, but there are good reasons behind them. Such as the 7 pm rule introduced for safety purposes and a peace of mind for parents. Other reasons are to respect other roommates or housemates requirement, to observe quite hours for all to have a good rest.

Do you have your personal hostel experience to share or how cool your place is? Drop us an email at [email protected] if you like your story to be heard.