Studying within the Australian education system can be quite different to school in Vietnam, but as Cedric Nguyen found out, the challenge can be worth it.
Cedric Nguyen, born in Russia and raised in Vietnam, attended Hanoi Academy before enrolling at Trinity College in Melbourne. Cedric had heard from friends and family that the education system in Australia would be different, but the reality of it hit him when he first started studying at Trinity. ‘It took me a decent time to get used to the education system here in Australia,’ he says.
The most surprising thing for Cedric was the amount of independent work required.
Unlike the education system in Vietnam where students generally just listen to teachers and take notes, Trinity requires more self-learning and independence. ‘The teachers and tutors here at Trinity would give you certain ideas, and you would need to develop from it and just think by yourself,’ says Cedric.
Despite the differences, Cedric was impressed by the approachable and helpful nature of the teachers at Trinity.
One of his tutors, Paulo, was able to help him with a subject he struggled with, math. ‘Every time I send him a message on [Microsoft] Teams or anything, he's very helpful. And he also stays back at school sometimes to help me with explaining the math concept, which I'm very grateful for,’ says Cedric.
Cedric started the Foundation Studies program at Trinity in August 2022, moving to Melbourne at age 17 and finishing his year 11 studies in Australia. ‘I was a bit worried because I didn't finish the whole high school curriculum back in Vietnam, so coming here to Trinity, sometimes I felt quite nervous about like, ‘Oh no, will I understand this concept? If the teacher explains something, will I understand that or not?’
‘I wouldn't say it was easy when I came here. I found some of the tasks quite challenging, but, in the end, it is manageable so long as you put in the time and you ask your tutor, then you’re fine.’
For Cedric, the challenge and nerves were worth it, as he knows that by doing well at Trinity College, he can gain direct access to Australia’s number-one university, the University of Melbourne. ‘During my high school time in Vietnam, I was very interested in University of Melbourne as I know it’s one of the most prestigious universities.’
‘Trinity has provided me with a range of skills that I think will prepare me for university. One of the skills that I find very helpful so far is definitely citation, which I learned in EAP [English for Academic Purposes], history of ideas, and literature where the teachers will teach you how to do citation and referencing and how to do your research, which I'm very grateful for and think it'll be very helpful for when I start writing essays.’
Cedric has been able to meet new friends at Trinity too, who help him out with his studies.
‘Even though I believe I'm not the most sociable student, since I came to Trinity, I've made a lot of good friends who are very hardworking and very smart, very talented, and they're very friendly … They motivate me and also help me with school. Overall, I think the thing that I'm most grateful for is we're all happy with each other. We spend time with each other to go out after school, which is something I'm very happy for, especially coming here to Australia alone.’
Cedric lives with a group of his Trinity College classmates in a student accommodation in Melbourne city and says that living together has helped forged closer friendships with his peers. ‘I guess the good thing about living with friends is I get to learn about new cultures from other countries because all my roommates are from different countries. I get to see things a bit differently from a different perspective.’
All in all, Cedric has found his experience at Trinity College positive, and recommends that other students consider taking the Foundation Studies course.
‘If you are considering coming to Trinity as a step to prepare you for the University of Melbourne, then I definitely recommend you to do so because Trinity really has quality teachers and really good infrastructure. I believe it has a perfect environment to prepare you for university. You don't have to worry about the education system here being hard or not being able to make friends because I believe, first of all, the teachers here are very approachable. They're very willing to help. And the friends and the people you meet are all very friendly and very nice. And I believe most of the students I meet at Trinity, they're very hardworking, so they'll be able to help you in some way, both academically and also in life. I think you'll be fine.’
For a list of Trinity College agents in your area, visit https://eap.ascentone.com/trinity