Develop new perspectives on global economic integration and trade while studying in Malaysia, China, and Singapore or Indonesia.

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  • Examine the Malaysian model of Islamic banking and its expanding role in global finance.

    Long a leader in Islamic banking, Malaysia continues to play a defining role in the global financial sector. Malaysia’s Islamic banking model, based on a specific set of ethical standards and regulations, will help you more deeply understand the ethics of banking and finance in general. The juxtaposition of positions and perspectives at the local, regional, and global scales will help you understand technical financial instruments and the tensions inherent in the management of money and financial systems. You’ll also learn about Malaysia’s dynamic role in the expansion of halal management practices in the regional and global economy.

  • Learn about the political dynamics and practices of global trade among ASEAN nations and in relation to China.

    You’ll meet with policy-makers, academics, global industry leaders, halal management practitioners, small- and large-scale enterprises, and individual entrepreneurs in Malaysia, China, and Singapore or Indonesia to learn about the policies and practices of global trade. You’ll learn the history of Malay-Chinese trade over the past millennia and consider national and regional policies, new development bank goals and practices in Southeast Asia, and small commodities trading and private entrepreneurship. You’ll also debate the future of global economic integration through trade relations and the Belt and Road Initiative (aka, the New Silk Road policy).

  • Develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the relationship among economics, politics, and religion in Malaysia, a country of great diversity, and all of Southeast Asia.

    Independent since 1957, Malaysia is a country of harmonious complexity and great ethnic, religious, social, and environmental diversity. This is a wonderfully rich environment in which to learn about social, economic, and religious change. Majority Muslim, with long histories of Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, and many additional religious practices, Malaysia is a place where communities of many faith traditions coexist in a globally dynamic economy.

    Within this setting, you’ll see regional economic integration in historical and political context. You’ll consider economic life in Malaysia within its historical and religious contexts and within a rapidly changing society. Homestays will play an important role in contextualizing specific family experiences and everyday lives that you would not have the opportunity to understand otherwise. Thematic seminars and the language course, combined with the field methods and ethics seminar, will also provide a foundation for understanding more deeply the relationship among economic change, political processes, and social change.

  • Travel to China and Singapore or Indonesia as you consider the future of international relations and global finance and banking in the growing financial centers of Southeast Asia.

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plays an important role in economic and political relations, and policy making around regional economic and environmental sustainability. On two major excursions, you’ll re-think the role of political and economic alliances such as ASEAN.

    During the 10- to 14-day excursion to mainland China’s southeast coast, you’ll visit key sites of small business entrepreneurship and discover China’s small-scale entrepreneurship in a digital financial world. You’ll talk with entrepreneurs who have commercial ties to Malaysia and ASEAN meet academics and officials involved in the study and promotion of Belt and Road Initiative, and you’ll learn about China’s development bank and investment in Malaysia.

    In the spring semester, you’ll spend four to five days in Singapore, a multi-ethnic global center of finance and trade, where you’ll examine currencies and regional financial regulations from the ASEAN perspective.

    In the fall semester, you’ll travel to Indonesia for four to five days to visit ASEAN headquarters, meet with Foreign Service and government officials, and learn about trade and policy dynamics from entrepreneurs and financial industry professionals in Jakarta.

  • Choose to study either Malay or Chinese and live with families who speak the language you’re studying.

    Closely to related to Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the most widely spoken language in Malaysia. Malay language study is integrated in the curriculum to facilitate everyday spoken communication in Malaysia and for deeper engagement in the internship or Independent Study Project at the end of the semester. In the Kuala Lumpur region, and select areas of Malaysia, Chinese (Mandarin) is also spoken by many residents and can be used as a language of communication in certain contexts as well as during the excursions to China and Singapore.

  • Consider ethics in banking, finance, and trade in a global context.

    You’ll witness the challenges associated with the maintenance of local or regional practices and expectations in banking and financial relationships as money and capital become more transnational and digital in nature. You’ll consider global and local perspectives on ethical engagement in the banking and financial sectors and what that means. You’ll also analyze the implications of new global economic integration practices for individuals, families, communities, and nation-states.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development | Economy | Inequality

Development | Economy | Inequality

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Previous college-level coursework both microeconomics and macro economics as assessed by SIT.

Key Topics of Study


Key Topics of Study

  • The implications of new global economic integration practices for families, communities, and nation-states
  • Malaysia’s dynamic Islamic banking, finance, and halal management sector
  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative (aka, New Silk Road policy) from the perspective of key sectors and actors in China’s economy and in Malaysia
  • Trajectories of change in Malaysia’s trade, national economic policy, and global economic integration
  • ASEAN’s goals for cooperation and integration in Southeast Asia
  • The role of ethics in banking, finance, investment, and trade
  • Malaysia’s sustainability priorities in the context of regional and global economic integration
  • The factors involved in the Asian Financial Crisis and its legacies for Malaysia’s financial markets and regulatory frameworks
  • Relative challenges and implications of financial regulatory instruments at local, regional, and global scales
  • The historical foundations of Malay-China trade and economic relations and the relevance of historical relations to present-day economic change
  • Community-based economic strategies and resilience




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The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Economic Integration and the New Silk Road – syllabus
(ASIA3010 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course focuses on the future of trade, national economic policy, and global economic integration. Taking Malaysia’s membership in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and China’s New Silk Road (aka, One Belt, One Road) initiative as operative lenses through which to understand the challenges and opportunities for Malaysia in the global economy, this course engages students in questions central not only to the future of Malaysia’s economy but also to the future of global economic integration in general. An additional operative lens with particular relevance to the Malaysian context is the rapid growth of halal management practices in regional and global economic integration. Never far from this view of global integration is the role of the United States in current and future economic relations in Malaysia, China, and Southeast Asia.

Islamic Banking and the Future of Global Finance and Trade – syllabus
(ECON3030 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course brings into focus the critical role money and capital play in the global economy today and what new financial instruments and forms of regulation may mean for future economic and financial governance including trade, currency markets, finance policy, and the New Silk Road (aka, One Belt, One Road) policy that are transnational in nature. Starting with a global view of money and finance, including the rapid capitalization of the global economy at multiple scales, the course adds still more complexity by bringing regional and national economic systems, and new forms of capital management, into conversation. Students gain insight into key course themes from a range of experiences inside and outside of the formal classroom, including conversations with financial sector experts and practitioners in Malaysia, Singapore, and China, who help tie institutional, national, regional, and global scales of financial operations and regulation together.

Field Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This research methods course is designed to prepare students for an Independent Study Project or internship. Through lectures, readings, and field activities, students study and practice basic social science field study methods. They examine the ethical issues surrounding internships and field research related to program themes and are guided through the World Learning / SIT Human Subjects Review process, which forms a core component of the course. By the end of the course, students will have chosen a research topic or internship placement, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project or internship project related to the program themes. All coursework is conducted in English. The program’s language course will help students develop linguistic capacity to engage in field study or an internship.

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Beginning Bahasa Malaysia
(MALY1003–1503 / 3 Credits / 45 hours)
Intermediate Bahasa Malaysia
(MALY2003–2503 / 3 Credits / 45 hours)
Advanced Bahasa Malaysia
(MALY3003–3503 / 3 Credits / 45 hours)
In this course, students hone their speaking skills through classroom and field instruction. Reading and writing skill development is also part of this course, though the development of progressively higher-order verbal expression and comprehension will be emphasized. Students learn vocabulary and practice scenarios to build capacity to discuss economics, finance, and social science–related topics, to conduct field research, and to interact in settings related to the program themes. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency.


Beginning Chinese – syllabus
(CHIN1003–1503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate Chinese – syllabus
(CHIN2003–2503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Advanced Chinese – syllabus
(CHIN3003–3503 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course, students hone their speaking skills through classroom and field instruction. Reading and writing skill development is also part of this course, though the development of progressively higher-order verbal expression and comprehension will be emphasized. Students learn vocabulary and practice scenarios to build capacity to discuss economics, finance, and social science—related topics, to conduct field research, and to interact in settings related to the program themes. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency. Students select either to study Bahasa Malaysia or Chinese (Mandarin). Students who study Chinese also receive a basic introduction to Bahasa Malaysia at the start of the program.

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
Conducted in Kuala Lumpur or another approved location in Malaysia appropriate to the project, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program's thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper.


Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
This seminar consists of a four-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, business, or international NGO in Malaysia. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and to enhance their skills in an international environment. Students will complete an internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience, analyze an issue important to the organization, and link internship learning with the program’s critical global issue focus and overall program theme. During the internship placement, the internship course includes weekly seminar sessions designed to help students build a foundation on which to engage in the internship experience.




Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Malacca and Penang

You’ll spend two days in Malacca, Malaysia’s historic center of maritime trade, where you’ll study Malaysia’s global trade and economic integration in Malaysia and learn about the city’s dynamic history. Tied to the spread of the Malay language and Islam throughout the Malay peninsula, Singapore, Indonesia, and as far west as Madagascar, Melacca was a key cultural, diplomatic, religious, and economic leader in a global network of new ideas. You’ll also examine Malaysia’s trade, investment, and economic development and assess the inclusivity of global economies. You’ll also look at Malaysia’s green economy and sustainability priorities.

In Penang, a cosmopolitan island off the Malay peninsula, you’ll learn about the island’s dynamic past as a key maritime trading center linking Southeast Asia and British colonies in the Indian Ocean in the 19th century. You’ll also discover and Penang’s democratic, multicultural present, including the island’s current trajectories of economic change in relation to immigration policy, information networks, and gender and family roles. You’ll also look at religion, ethnicity, and social hierarchy in Malaysia’s economy from Penang’s vantage point.


In China, you’ll develop comparative perspectives on international relations and economic integration during visits to the large cities of Xiamen and Shanghai and to smaller regional trading centers in the southeast, in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang.

You’ll spend several days in Xiamen, where you’ll work closely with Chinese student peers to examine China-US trade relations. Here, you’ll consider the role of the local state and community banks in global trade and investment and the role of trust in economic relations, investment, and global trade. You’ll have multiple field visits to small scale enterprises, family-owned businesses, and local state-invested economic activities to see the resilience and rapid transformation of traditional economic sectors. In the process, you will be immersed in the digitalization of economic relations in China and its transition to a cashless society.

Beyond Xiamen, you’ll travel to two or three addition locations, such as Quanzhou, Wenzhou, or Yiwu.

In Quanzhou, a small city in southeast China’s Fujian Province, you’ll deepen your understanding of the historical legacies of China-Southeast trade dating from the great missions of Zheng He, a Chinese Muslim captain in the early 15th century. You’ll also explore present-day relations between Southeast mainland China and Taiwan.

Wenzhou, located on the southern coast of Zhejiang Province, is considered one of China’s most prolific centers of family-based entrepreneurship. Known as the world’s center of button production in the 1980s, the scale and diversity of entrepreneurial activities, not to mention the global networks activated in the process, constitute an important case study in China’s present and future global trade.

Located a short train ride southwest of Shanghai, Yiwu is a small city in Zhejiang Province known as the world’s largest center of small commodities trading and a surprisingly cosmopolitan population of transient traders, entrepreneurs, and workers. Here, you will meet government officials, private sector entrepreneurs, and international traders engaged in small commodities trade and its public sector support. Your focus will be on small commodities trade with Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and the impact of the New Silk Road policy on the present and future of small commodities trading in Yiwu.

Depending on the semester, your travels in China will begin or end in the global financial center of Shanghai.

Singapore (Fall Semesters)

You’ll spend four to five days in Singapore, where you’ll examine currencies and regional financial regulations from the ASEAN perspective. Your time in Singapore, a multi-ethnic global center of finance and trade, will give you an opportunity to compare and contrast Malaysia’s economic integration policies and practices, especially in the financial sector, and their social outcomes in the context of Singapore, a country with a social and political history closely tied to Malaysia and China.

Indonesia (Spring Semesters)

You’ll spend four to five days in Indonesia’s capital and mega-city, Jakarta, where you’ll visit the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) headquarters and meet with experts in international relations, geopolitics, and economic integration. Your time in Jakarta and surrounding communities will include learning in situ about Jakarta’s long history of regional and global trade, the different colonial histories of Indonesia and Malaysia and the nations’ close relationship, and current trends in economic and political relations — including relations with China — in these two dynamic, democratic, majority Muslim nations.

Faculty and Staff


Faculty and Staff

Six staff members of the Malaysia program standing by a Institute Kajian Etnik sign

Faculty from the National University of Malaysia

Amirul Mukminin Mohamad, Language Instructor

Malaysian man in red shirt holding a bookAmirul Mukminin Mohamad is an active, enthusiastic, and experienced instructor who has served since 2010 as Malay language faculty at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), where he has taught students from Australia, China, Japan, and African and European countries. Amirul holds a bachelor’s degree in Malay studies, with a major in linguistics, from UKM, where he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Malay language education to non-native learners. His expertise is in Malay syntax, morphology, and teaching Malay as a first language and to non-native learners. He enjoys incorporating IT and language learning apps in his language teaching, including Kahoot, Quizziz, and Plickers, among others. Amirul has received multiple honors and awards from UKM, including the Outstanding Instructor Award (Social Sciences Category, 2013), the Excellent Service Award (2014), and the Bold Medal, K-NOVASI Competition (2016).

Lay Shi (Liz) Ng, PhD, Language Instructor

Woman in professional attire sitting in front of a stone wallLiz is an experienced lecturer teaching Chinese as a second language. She started her teaching career in 2005. Prior to this she was a corporate planning executive of an insurance firm. Liz joined Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2014 after obtaining her PhD in linguistics and applied linguistics from Beijing Normal University, China. During her studies in Beijing, she received a full scholarship funded by the government of China. Her doctoral research has been chosen for one of the 2014 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Awards by the Chinese Academic Journal, Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Her area of expertise is in Chinese syntax. Her current research interests include Chinese grammaticalization, computer-assisted language learning, and mobile-assisted language learning.

Kartini Aboo Talib Khalid, PhD

Kartini Aboo Talib Khalid is an associate professor of policy analysis and deputy director at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM’s) Institute of Ethnic Studies. She was appointed country consultant for Malaysia to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in 2014, grantee for Sumitomo Foundation Japan in 2011, and Fulbright scholar to Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts from 2000 to 2005. Her research focuses on gender, civil society, comparative politics, ethnicity, and consumerism. She has published scholarly articles and chapters in books on various issues pertaining to policy, including alternative dispute resolutions and consumer rights, ethnicity and consumerism, labor law and immigrants, gender and politics, nonprofit and policy implementation, elections, environmental policy, and sustainability. Her new books, Dasar Pandang ke Timur: Pencapaian Adaptasi dan Cabaran and Etnisiti & Konsumerisme di Malaysia, were published by Penerbit UKM in 2017. Her chapters in Transnational Social Work and Social Welfare (Routledge, London) were published in 2016, and her book Policy Implementation and People Processing Organizations (Scholars Press, Germany) was published in 2014. Current book projects include Gender and Elections (2018) and Platform of Integration: Managing Diversity in Multiethnic Society.

Mohd Rizal Palil, PhD

Malaysian man in a suit and tie standing in front of a blue backgroundRizal is an associate professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Economics and Management. He received his PhD in accounting and taxation from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He is an active researcher and has secured several research grants since 2003 from the Ministry of Higher Education. He is the recipient of several awards such as the Excellent Service Award, Faculty Award for Research and Highly Commended Award. His five books have been published by Oxford Press and Pearson-Prentice Hall, among others, and he has published nearly 40 research articles in various international refereed journals. He has also taught courses for public servants from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Works, National Audit Department, and the Malaysian Institute of Accounting. His research interests include public finance, fiscal policy, and tax administration internationally.

Sity Daud, PhD

Sity is the chair of the School of History, Politics, and Strategic Studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM’s) Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. She obtained a BA with Honors in politics from Flinders University of South Australia and an MS in politics from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. After receiving a PhD in development science from UKM, she obtained the Advanced Certificate in Development Economics from the University of Cambridge, UK. She has over 26 years’ teaching and research experience in political economy at UKM; the University of British Columbia, Canada; Monash University, Australia; and the University of Cambridge, UK. Her broad research interests include developmental states, social safety nets, and elections. Among her publications are books on social sciences and development studies; human security and peace in archipelagic Southeast Asia and in the broader Asia Pacific region; politics and security; and democracy, leadership, and security and numerous articles on state intervention, human security, leadership, social safety nets, and elections.




The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.

You will live with host families for up to six weeks in the Kuala Lumpur area. You will also have opportunities for homestays during the excursions into rural communities and during the independent period when you are carrying out an internship or Independent Study Project.




Attend an Islamic finance and banking workshop

This weeklong workshop is composed of academic lectures and discussions, site visits, and discussions on the Malaysian model of Islamic banking and finance, with an introduction to the dynamic field of halal management in Malaysia. Halal management forms a growing field of research and training in Malaysia, both for Malaysian entrepreneurs and for international entrepreneurs seeking to engage in trade and investment in Muslim-majority economies.

You’ll get an introduction to Halal management theory, visit large- and small-scale companies, and discuss issues with students of Halal management programs from Malaysia and other parts of the world. At the end of the week, you’ll have a deeper understanding of Islamic banking, finance, and management in the context of a global finance and management practices, from a Malaysian perspective.

Independent Study Project


Independent Study Project

During the final four weeks of the program, you can choose to use your new language and cultural skills and the academic knowledge you have acquired to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic of interest to you. The ISP is conducted in Kuala Lumpur or another approved location. You will integrate different components of the program as you conduct an in-depth investigation of a social movement or organization. The ISP is an opportunity to build a solid foundation for further research for a senior thesis, Fulbright fellowship, or graduate school.

Sample topics:

  • Implications of economic integration on small-scale enterprises
  • Geopolitical challenges of investment and trade in Southeast Asia
  • The role of gender in trajectories of economic change
  • Migration and economic opportunity in the age of the New Silk Road
  • Role of religion (e.g., Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism) in building economic networks today




The internship may be completed with a local community organization, research organization, business, government agency, or international NGO. The internship will enable you to gain valuable professional experience, enhance your skills, and deepen your understanding of the social implications of migration through practical experience with people who work on these issues.

Topics and placements may vary according to the availability of each institution. Sample internship sites:

  • Islamic banking and finance institution in Kuala Lumpur
  • Community economic development organization or office in rural Malaysia
  • Organization engaged in promoting investment and economic relations with China
  • Small-scale enterprise engaged in halal management practices in Southeast Asia
  • Training center developing skills in halal management for global clients

Cost and Scholarships


Cost and Scholarships

SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students. 

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $16,247

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Economic integration and the New Silk Road
    • Islamic banking and the future of global finance and trade
  • Research Methods and Ethics course on research methods and Human Subjects Review
  • Intensive language instruction in Chinese or Bahasa Malaysia
  • All educational excursions, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study Project or internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food) 
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period
  • Transportation to all excursion sites

Room & Board: $3,728

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Kuala Lumpur), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
  • The homestay (six weeks in the Kuala Lumpur area)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay. 

Estimated Additional Costs:

Airfare to Program Site

Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses: $170

Immunizations: Varies

International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.

In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.

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