Malaysian student likes new home but misses native food

Photo of Kelly Lim

Kelly Lim
Age: 22
Home: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Major: Marketing
Hobbies: Photography, Traveling, hanging out with friends and Asian-style karaoke
Favorite Malayasian saying: “Have you eaten?” listen


After two years of studying marketing in her home country of Malaysia, Kelly Lim wasn’t sure what direction her life was going in or if she even wanted to do marketing anymore.  So naturally, she packed her bags and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, to figure it out.

Lim is now 30 hours away from home and hasn’t been back to Malaysia in nearly two years. But isolation from a familiar culture is exactly what she was looking for.

“When you isolate yourself from your comfort zone, you learn a lot about yourself,” Lim said.

When asked what she missed most about home, Lim replied without hesitation, “the food.”

“We Malaysians complain about things a lot,” she said. “But one thing we never complain about is our food.”

Lim wishes she could give a taste of Malaysia to her friends in Lincoln, but there are no Malaysian restaurants here, and it’s too much work for Lim to cook.  Her favorite dish is Asam Laksa, which is a spicy noodle soup.

“In Malaysia we are really proud of our food, and we are always hungry, so we will always ask each other, “Hey, have you eaten yet?”

Lim says she rarely sees anyone eating alone in Malaysia.  Perhaps this is because of their collective culture or maybe they just want to share food.

Lim is now graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and in a year her visa will expire.  She will have to return home if she can’t find a company that will hire and sponsor her, but she doesn’t want to return to Malaysia quite yet and would love to work at an advertising agency in New York.

“My heart is not ready to go back to Malaysia,” she said.  “I still have so much to learn here.”

If that doesn’t work out, Lim would like to keep traveling, maybe to Europe, Asia or the Middle East.  She doesn’t really care as long as it’s somewhere with good food.

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