A day in my life – An American homeschool student living in Malaysia

I moved to Penang, Malaysia 4 months ago with my parents. I’m in tenth grade, and I’ve homeschooled for the majority of my life. When I entered Highschool I switched from a home-planned curriculum to an American Correspondence School. This basically meant that I was given a set curriculum, with online exams to do for qualified teachers in the United States to grade, and guaranteed Transcripts at the end of the torturous 4 years. This would give me the ability to apply for American and International Universities.

At home, 8 stories up in an apartment complex, I have 5 subjects in my curriculum. On Weekdays, I wake up earlier than weekends, and do more “average” things. So let’s say today is Thursday (Which it is. But wait, keep reading)

I wake up at 7 and am up eating cereal in 10 minutes. School is started as soon as the last sip has been taken, and that’s my world for the following  4 hours. Each lesson is 45 minutes to an hour, one per subject, so around 11 I’ve finished. At that point I tackle Social Media and my Blog, responding to your guy’s lovely comments and interacting with the community. At 12-12:15 I’m out the door and down at the gym.

There’s a Half-Marathon in June which I’ve just started training for, so far I’m up to an average of 3 miles, working up to 4. I also do weight training, and bicycling on rest-days. After the gym and a shower, we’re off to lunch.

Lunch is usually in 1 of 4 places. A Malay restaurant 25 metres away. An Indian and a Thai exactly 1 block away. And a Chinese restaurant 2 blocks away. We have no form of private transportation except for our feet, so closer the better. Commonly, as we’re deciding on where to go the “Floating Mosque” is belting out the first of the Afternoon Prayers.

We choose Thai, and have navigated our way into our regular seats in a tiny building apart of a long strip that consists of a Pharmacy, Mini Market, Indian restaurant with funny – smelling soups (We, ah. We don’t eat there) and 2 Barber Shops. I’m going to quickly tally the costs for you:

A drink is 1.50 Ringgit, or 50 American Cents.

A Thai Rice, Yellow Curry Chicken, or anything on the menu for 1 person is 3 – 4.50 Ringgit, or 1 – 1.50 American Dollars.

So an average lunch for the 3 of us, with 2 drinks each, is 15 to 21 Ringgit or 5 – 7 U.S. If I ever want to eat by myself it’s less than 2 dollars.

These are average prices for all of the thousands of Stalls and local restaurants in Penang. Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian, or even Indonesian are included. Yet don’t get me wrong, there are still over-priced coffee in Starbucks on every other street. T.G.I.Fridays and Chillis is just a 15 minutes bus ride away, usually in giant malls that hold shops like Forever 21 and H&M. Also Italian, German, and really any Western restaurants will have a nice meal, just at normal or slightly above typical Western prices. All locals are rather fluent or know basic English. With our few words of Mandarin and Malay, it’s very easy to get around no matter what.

So now it’s about 3 o’clock. Usually I have after-school classes I participate in at an International School just a couple blocks away. I used to do mock debating every Thursday and watch a pair of talented actors practice a duet play for a Forensics Tournament.  But the Tournament has passed, and classes aren’t until April again. I also did Basket ball of 3 months, and am taking Violin once a week with a teacher. SAT’s are coming up soon, and studying can never come too early. But whatever I end up doing, I’m usually home or finished by 6.

At that time I work on Blog Posts, update sites, play cards and watch a show. (Suits!) Watch a gang of Monkeys from our balconey and work on any personal projects I want to pursue. (Like video editing or Fiction Writing)

The last prayer is uttered around 9 p.m. and I’m in bed with a book by around 10 that I borrow from a local library. “Little Women” is what I’m working on at the moment, with “7 years in Tibet” next.

For such a long post this is really a rare tranquil day. Georgetown holds sushi, street art, and life music. Batu Ferringi offers beaches, a favorite Indian restaurant, and one of the longest markets in Asia during the Evening. Gurney Plaza, a 7 story monstrosity of a mall has a cheap high – quality movie theater and Coffee Bean. We do 1 of each practically every week, along with a couple of days spent with friends aswell.

One day I’ll probably write about those.

Until then,

Sincerely, James


(Below are photos taken around town)

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24 thoughts on “A day in my life – An American homeschool student living in Malaysia

  1. Wah! Welcome to Malaysia James. May I know what are you family doing here? I mean do they work here?

    Yes most of us know basic English. We call as Manglish. But I’m sure most European can understand what we speak. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Interviews and thoughts of growing up with travel | Sincerely, James

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