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Top 10 Volunteer Projects in Malaysia

Volunteer in Malaysia and explore a country that has both beautiful landscapes and fascinating cultural sights...

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Volunteer Opportunities in Malaysia

Volunteer opportunities in Malaysia

Given its cultural diversity and the stunning landscapes that this country has in store for you, you might be eager to become a volunteer in Malaysia. If this is so, you should consider which field of interest might be most dear and near to your heart. Would you rather work with wild animals in a conservation during your time as a volunteer in Malaysia or are you interested in bettering the lives of the local population by volunteering at a community or education project in Malaysia?

The choice is entirely yours and you might also like to ask yourself which skill set you bring to the table. After all, you might find your time as a volunteer in Malaysia to be even more worthwhile, the more you can rely on your skills in your volunteer work. Since we work with different volunteer projects all throughout Malaysia, there will be plenty of opportunity for applying yourself. Find out more about the causes that you can support below.

Help protect the wildlife in Malaysia

Malaysia is home to some of the most diverse wildlife worldwide. In order to keep it that way, your support as a volunteer in Malaysia is required. From Malaysia's coast to its abundant rainforest, 210 mammal, 250 reptile, 150 frog, and a whooping 620 bird species call this country their home. While not all of these wild animals need your help, many of them do:

A typical day at a wildlife conservation center can include but is not limited to:

  • enrichment: providing animals with stimulating environments
  • husbandry: feeding animals, cleaning the wildlife cages and enclosures
  • construction to extend the center and rehabilitate more animals
  • organic farming
  • boat trips to monitor and observe wildlife
  • trekking to learn more about the rainforest, flora and fauna
  • reforestation, planting trees
  • working with local communities and school children

Take the opportunity to do volunteer work in Malaysia and support a wildlife project. You will give back to nature and its animals and maintain mother nature’s creatures.

Work for community services and education

If you want to support the Malaysian community in whichever way you can, you might want to become a community involvement volunteer in Malaysia. From working at the local library to helping with childcare, there are plenty of ways in which you can help out. Alternatively, you might be asked to work on a farm or help with construction to create housing. Another area for volunteering is education. Teach alongside local staff in a Kindergarten or school and encourage small children to learn and grow.

Working at a community or education project includes but is not limited to:

  • learning the local lingo
  • get to know about traditional culture and local customs
  • building authentic longhouses with traditional construction methods
  • constructing schools and playgrounds
  • creating lessons
  • managing English conservation and grammar exercises
  • teaching English classes
  • engaging in activities such as music and games

If you love children and would like to make a difference in their lives, you can help them improve their English skills and develop various new interests through teaching a variety of English-based subjects. If you are more of a person that loves working with people and you want to volunteer in social projects which support the community, these programs will give you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others while teaching you new skills and offering a different worldview.

As you can see, there are many volunteer opportunities in Malaysia. Whatever you will decide to do, volunteer work in Malaysia will be a great experience and most of all a meaningful travel.

Cost of living

The suggested daily budget abroad for living as a volunteer in Malaysia is between 15 US$ and 30 US$. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.

Additional costs you should consider as a volunteer in Malaysia:

An exemplary overview of living costs in Malaysia (in US$, for one person) is:

Things to know before you volunteer in Malaysia

Before starting your job as a volunteer in Malaysia, it’s important to think about the cultural norms you’ll need to adjust to. In addition, learn about the precautions you might need to take. The following list might help you with that:

Safety & precautions

Theft continues to be an issue in some of the bigger Malaysian cities. In order to protect yourself, you should thus consider taking the following measures:

  • Never leave valuables out in the open in your car
  • Never leave your drink out of sight at a bar or club
  • Do not go to a stranger's home alone
  • Always keep an eye on your possessions
  • Keep an eye on the local weather warnings and follow the instructions of the authorities in case a natural disaster is imminent

Health advice

Even though the Malaysian government will not require you to get certain vaccinations before you can enter the country, you will want to be prepared. For your own safety, the following vaccinations are thus recommended:

  • MMR
  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Polio

You will want to contact your physician as soon as possible in order to make sure that there is plenty of time left to get all of the vaccinations that you need. Keep in mind that you do stand a chance of contracting Malaria in Malaysia, although chances of this happening are slim throughout most of the country. Also note that your local program contact might know more about the risk of contracting Malaria in that particular region. In order to protect yourself, you should consider taking the following steps:

  • Sleeping under a mosquito net
  • Always wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants at night
  • Using mosquito repellents to cover all exposed parts of your skin during the day

Religion & Culture

About 61.3% of all Malaysians are Muslims. 19.8% of the entire population is Buddhist, while 9.2% are Christian. 6.3% of all Malaysians practice Hinduism, while those practicing some sort of traditional Chinese religion are in the minority at 1.3%. In general, Malaysians tend to be quite tolerant when it comes to religion, which is why you should feel right at home as a volunteer in Malaysia. Depending on where you volunteer in Malaysia, you might even be able to become part of the local community that shares your faith.

Who can volunteer in Malaysia?

As you will have noticed by now, there are many different projects that expect different skills and abilities from their volunteers abroad. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their program page, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in the Malaysia:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you're 16 years old
  • You need to have basic English skills to join a volunteer project in Malaysia. Please note that some teaching projects might ask for more advanced skills though
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering

What visa do I need to volunteer in Malaysia?

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip: getting your volunteer visa for Malaysia.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Malaysian embassy or consulate in your country .

General entry information

There are some general requirements you should comply upon your arrival in Malaysia:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. Your passport should have at least 6-month validity from the date of arrival in Malaysia
  • One blank page required for entry stamp
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket
  • Nationalities of most countries are given a 30-, 60- or 90-day visa on arrival
  • Electronic Visa (eVisa) applications are available to citizens of Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Serbia and Sri Lanka
  • Visit the Immigration Department of Malaysia website for the most current visa information