After a restful three hours of sleep upon our arrival to the Kuala Lumpur hotel, we began our orientation led by wonderful volunteers from AFS-Malaysia who had studied abroad in other countries. Over the next two days, we played games, learned about life in Malaysia, studied the basics of Bahasa Malaysia (see a sample of the language here!), and went on a tour of Malaysia’s capital city!
I couldn’t get a photo, but we could see the infamous Petronas Towers and the Kuala Lumpur Tower off in the distance rising out of the mist one morning from a corner of the hotel – a really beautiful sight!
On our second day in Malaysia, we 35 AFSers from around the world (a lot from Italy, many from Germany, seven of us from the U.S., three from France, two from Spain, one from each Argentina, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary) were guided on a tour of some of Kuala Lumpur. We visited the National Museum, a stop added to the itinerary thanks to our first time experiencing a massive downpour of Malaysian rain. About an hour later, we were able to visit a so-called night market, located in an alley.
One Malaysian ringgit is worth 25 cents USD, which makes conversion easy, and everything is SO much cheaper in Malaysia! I bought a pair of pants for the equivalent of $2.50 and fresh coconut water (which is marketed in bottles in America for about $4.00) for an eighth of that price.
Following the ‘night’ market, we walked to the King’s Palace.
Nearly everyone in Malaysia speaks English, which makes communication easier but also might limit our level of immersion in Bahasa Malaysia.
Though tired from our 28-hour travel day followed by three hours of sleep, I’ve adapted to the expected jet lag seamlessly, and I felt adjusted to the 12-hour time difference right away, thankfully!