Misconceptions of International Life

There is no denying that going to an international school in any country is completely different from going to a regular school in another. Because we are lucky to be given so many opportunities to learn and travel, we are exposed to different people, cultures, religions, and ideas – therefore making us more open-minded and accepting.

Josh ‘18 said, “With public schools, everyone just comes and goes. Nobody really is that accepting of other people’s races. Especially in California, where I’m from, races don’t really blend. So for example, I’m Cambodian, I would only be able to hang out with Cambodians.”

Lily ’17 also compared ISKL to the public schools in Toronto. “Even though Toronto is a diverse city, it’s not going to be anywhere as diverse as this kind of a school, and people aren’t going to be as understanding of who you are, and how you are different.”

When students at ISKL go to other places during the breaks, they are hit with a culture shock. As most people are not given the same experiences as us, we are sometimes subject to misconceptions about Malaysia, which usually are more humorous than offensive. For some strange reason, people tend to think that we all sit in trees and live in the middle of a jungle, or they may not even be able to point Malaysia out on a map – someone once asked how many hours it takes to drive to Malaysia from Los Angeles.

Mike ‘18, who recently moved to Malaysia from New Jersey, said that his friends initially “didn’t know where Malaysia was, and even asked ‘Are you going to live in a wood shack?’”

Other than how people have misconceptions that Malaysia is an undeveloped, barren wasteland, some also seem to think that Malaysia is a terrible third world country with a sky high crime rate that must be avoided. Some people, like Hugh ’16, was told it’s a “dangerous place, to carry a knife at all times, and to not leave the house after 10.”

Of course, none of these stereotypes are true. When shown photos of the beautiful and urban city that Kuala Lumpur is, all the delusions vanish. Malaysia is home to both sparkling beaches and towering cities. The Twin Towers are iconic for it’s impressive height and symmetry, which pulls people from all over the world to see. Without the mix of cultures and nationalities, Malaysia would not be what it is today – and that’s what sets us apart from other schools and countries.Yes, we have internet, we have roads, yes, we have electricity. Oh, but then again, I am writing this article from my shack in the middle of the rainforest, beside my pet camel. My bad.