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Home | Where in the World | Meet Foreign Exchange Students | Meet Foreign Exchange Students - Malaysia: Alvin

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Meet Foreign Exchange Students - Malaysia: Alvin

My name is Alvin. My journey to the "melting pot" begins. Riding plane after plane after plane, at last, we, the 30 of us from Malaysia, arrive on this land of dreams and desires. The three day orientation gave us almost all the information we needed on about the Unites States. Three days later, each and everyone of us headed towards every edge of the country. As for me, my destination was Portland, Oregon.

When I first got here, everything looked the same as if I was in Malaysia. The only difference I noticed at the first was the fact that everyone drove in the other lane, and the drivers sit on the left side. Its the other way round in Malaysia. Upon arriving in Portland, I was hoping for snow, but I was surprised to see ice on the ground!

The high school here is so much different than those in Malaysia. Each of us have our own locker to store books and another locker for physical education. Every teacher has his or her own room while the student move around to go to their classes. It's like college life for me.

The students here walk in and out of the class without greeting the teachers. That is considered rude in Malaysia but it's a norm here. In class, students are allowed to talk freely without any barrier. They can say anything they want even about others or the teachers without offending other people. People speak out their mind here. They do not keep things buried in their heart.

Classrooms are taken cared by students in Malaysia. We sweep the floor everyday, decorate the room, and keep it clean. We have a contest too. Every week, there will be one winner. The cleanest class. The worst class will receive a punishment. We aren't allowed to eat in class in order to keep it clean.

In the U.S., people here are all very friendly but you must take the first step to start a conversation with them. In Malaysia though, if a foreigner enrolls in our school, every one in class will crowd around him/her and start asking questions about them and their country. Foreigners are "stars" in our school.

Malaysia is a warm and humid country. It averages about 80 degrees everyday. The most interesting facts about it, other than the weather, is its own culture and food. As a multi-racial country, there are three main races: Malay, Chinese, and Indians. We live in harmony with other Aborigines as well. Malaysians carry their own identity around the world. For example, we are very polite. We say "thank you" a lot.

Malaysians still preserve their own customs. For instance, the Chinese aren't allowed to cut their hair or their nails, and even sweep the floor 15 days after Chinese New Year. They believe that will bring them bad luck. The food in Malaysia is more spicy and has many varieties from soups to rice. Each and every kind of food has its own specialty. Prawn noodles is one of the famous Chinese food. It is served in a hot and spicy soup which taste like heaven.

So far, this is what I have learned during my stay here. Four months more and I will be heading home. I will cherish every second of my stay here in this beautiful part of the world.

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