Former Trinity College student Siana Xue explains why choosing Trinity was one of the best decisions of her life and why she thinks other international students should consider doing the same.
Siana Xue grew up in China’s Shandong province and knew she wanted to study in Australia. After looking at a number of universities and foundation programs, she settled on the University of Melbourne and Trinity College.
‘I chose Trinity because I love the diversity of the [Foundation Studies] course,’ says Siana. ‘I did so much research, looking at colleges within the University of Sydney and Australian National University, for example, but chose Trinity because the subjects provided by other schools were just English, mathematics, accounting and economics – subjects like that. But I realised that, at Trinity College, they want to help students improve their English skills, so provide subjects like drama, literature and the history of ideas. I thought, "Wow".’
As a soprano, Siana was particularly excited to pursue drama and singing while studying Foundation Studies, as she had little opportunity to pursue these interests in China. She was surprised to find that she also got to make valuable connections through her teachers at Trinity – one of whom introduced her to someone working in musical theatre. ‘I now encourage other students to be friends with their teachers, because they can not only help you with your study but can give you other opportunities.’
Siana found Trinity’s teachers and her classmates provided invaluable support when it came to essay writing – something she didn’t have a lot of experience with from high school in China. ‘I had never learnt proper [essay writing] before I went to Trinity, so I had a lot of questions,’ she says. But after asking for help, she got great marks for her essays, and feels that the skills she picked up are now helpful in her studies at the University of Melbourne.
Though Siana is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Melbourne University remotely from China (on an International Undergraduate Partner Scholarship thanks to her high marks in Foundation Studies), she hopes to return to Melbourne when international borders open and would like to study a Master of Social Work. ‘I love to volunteer, so social work is my dream job now,’ she says.
Siana’s passion for volunteering grew during her time in Australia, when she took on a tourism volunteer job with the City of Melbourne. In particular, she found this role helped her improve her English, noting that language can be one of the biggest challenges for international students.
Thankfully, as she worked on improving her language skills, Siana discovered that people in Australia are very friendly and helpful. ‘I found it really interesting that people in the elevator would say, "Hi, how are you today?" It’s common in Melbourne, but in China that would be a little bit weird,’ she laughs.
Siana also came to appreciate the rich culture of Australia while studying Foundation Studies, given there are many people from many backgrounds living in the country. ‘There's a lot of cultural difference [in Australia] that I didn't know about before. And because I went to Melbourne, I feel like my mind was just like this,’ – she says, making a tight circle with her fist – ‘but now the world is like this’, she says with arms outstretched.
‘In China, the Trinity College office asked me to give a presentation to future students, and at the end I said, believe me, choosing Trinity College will be one of your best decisions you make in your life.’