Surviving Unpaid Internships in Malaysia

Surviving Unpaid Internships in Malaysia

Surviving Unpaid Internships in MalaysiaDespite the rising cost of living, unpaid internships and work placements remain. And for many, these are the only way to enter a competitive field.

You should know your rights if you are asked to do an internship for free. If an unpaid internships is the right choice, here are some money-saving tips to help you get through it without draining your bank account.

Here are 6 tips on how to survive unpaid internships in Malaysia:

1. Negotiate basic expenses

Make sure to ask about payment and costs during your interview. Companies will gladly pay for your journey and lunch if you are lucky. But this is often only true if you ask about it.

In light of this, don’t be afraid to tell them what’s happening. If you must travel a long way to get there or stay somewhere expensive, they can make an exception and add to your costs. You should try it!

Also, try again to learn about costs when your job ends. If you’ve worked hard and impressed them, they might be able to compensate you by the end of the internship.

It would help if you also tried to talk about your work hours. This could make it possible for you to work part-time.

Or, if you can’t find a part-time job to go with your work, you could ask for flexible hours when public transportation is busy. Traveling during quiet times will be less stressful and cost less.

2. Stay with friends or at cheap accommodation.

If your job is close to where you live or go to school, you won’t have to worry about where to stay. But if you have to travel for your job, this will be the most expensive thing you have to pay for. You should figure it out as soon as possible.

First, see if you can stay with a family member or friend. If you can’t think of anyone who would work, put it on social media and see what people say. You might even find someone through a friend who has a free bed.

Also, check to see if any nearby universities rent out their student hostels if you are doing an internship. These can be cheaper than rental rooms and just as nice.

3. Buy a travel pass in advance

If your employer has decided to pay for your travel, you shouldn’t worry too much. But if they can’t, plan your journey early to save money.

If you must take public transportation daily, look into bus passes or season tickets. In the long run, it might cost much less. You can buy My50 Unlimited Travel Pass for train and bus. You only need to spend RM50 monthly and get unlimited travel on all Rapid Penang and Rapid KL rail & bus services. You can purchase My50 from the Rapid KL Customer Service Office at all LRT, MRT, Monorail, and BRT stations.

If you commute by car every day, add up how much it costs you to get to and from work for the week and add that amount to your budget. Check out other ways to get where you need to go, like biking, walking, or car-sharing, which is a great way to save money. This will help you keep costs as low as possible.

Related article: The Benefits of AI in Job Search

4. Bring lunch to work.

Even though it sounds dull, you should plan your meals for the week. Lunch can get pricey if you buy a meal deal or a sandwich daily. Instead, you could make your own cheap but fulfilling lunch.

So, if there are opportunities for work lunches, take them! These are almost always paid for by the company (check first!), and they are a great way to get free food and get to know your coworkers.

You can also ask your coworkers if they know of nearby cheap places to eat. They might know of a great coffee shop or affordable lunch place you wouldn’t find on your own for weeks.

5. Buy work clothes at thrift stores or during a sale.

As an unpaid intern, you also have to pay for a work outfit. If you don’t know where to look, it can be expensive.

First, find out what people are expected to wear. Will everyone be in suits, or will they be more simply dressed? Buying fancy attire doesn’t make sense if you don’t need it.

Consider renting clothes instead of buying them if you don’t want to spend money on things you won’t wear often.

You can also buy used clothes through apps like Carousell.

There’s no reason not to check out the thrift shops near you. They often have some hidden gems.

6. Get your time worth.

Spending your time and money on a job that doesn’t pay you is a big deal. You have to ensure you get as much as possible from the job.

Once you’re in, it’s all about making connections. Talk to as many people as possible, pay attention to what they say, and make sure they remember your name.

If you get your first job after graduation at the end of the unpaid internships, you can start making up for the money you spent on school. It will pay off if you work hard and give it your all.

Visit for general tips and help when you look for internships. At, you can find a wide range of internship opportunities in your area.

Anisa is a writer who focuses on career and lifestyle topics in an effort to motivate both job searchers and employers towards greater fulfillment in their professional lives.

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