Q&A with FS student Alistair Cheah – studying online in KL

By Emily McAuliffe

Alistair has found the teaching style at Trinity quite different to what he was used to in Malaysia. Here, he explains why.

Alistair CheahWhat intake are you in at Trinity?

February Main 2021.

Do you study online or in your home country? 

Online from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Why did you choose Trinity? 

I chose Trinity’s Foundation Studies program as it was the most direct path into the University of Melbourne. Besides that, I have previously attended Trinity’s Young Leaders Program on campus for a week, giving me further insight and an increased sense of familiarity with both the city and the college itself.                             

What did it mean to you to get a scholarship to attend Trinity College?

The scholarship I achieved to attend Trinity College translated, for me, as a sense of accomplishment for all the effort I have put in over the years.

How has the scholarship helped you?

Attaining a scholarship has not only aided me financially but has also served as a motivational factor to continue working hard.

How would you describe your experience at Trinity?

My experience at Trinity College has broadened my perspective in regard to education in general. Two subjects in particular that had a major role in this were History of Ideas and Drama. Through these subjects, I have been introduced to new areas of education that I had not previously explored or even considered exploring. I would, however, have much preferred to have my Trinity College experience on campus, where I could meet my teachers and friends physically.

What’s your favourite thing about Trinity College?

My favourite thing about Trinity College is the ability to interact with people of diverse backgrounds, from different countries of the world, despite the limitations of this online experience.

What do you think of the teaching style/education environment at Trinity? How is it different to what you are used to? 

The main difference that I find between Trinity and my formal school is the style of teaching. At Trinity, a more independent style of learning is applied. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and do their individual assignments with minimal supervision. Besides that, Trinity also adopts a more informal student-teacher relationship, where students are expected to refer to their teachers by their first name, creating a more personal relationship.

What do you think of your teachers? 

I think that my teachers are passionate about the subjects they teach and have had a lot of experience teaching it over the years. I find them friendly and helpful, and the lessons are usually very directed towards the main objectives.

What are your two favourite core subjects and why?

History of Ideas: History of Ideas has helped me to gain a better idea of how historical events are chronologically ordered and their connections to one another. Besides that, History of Ideas has also assisted me in developing my critical thinking and objective analysis.

Drama: Drama has forced me out of my comfort zone and has made me come to the realisation that I need to be a more expressive person. It has helped me to be more confident, by being less self-conscious of myself and increasing my self-awareness.

What are your two favourite elective subjects and why?

My two favourite electives are Maths 1 and Maths 2, as I find the new content that we learn each week both challenging and interesting, while also improving my understanding of how everything is linked together.

How do you think Trinity College Foundation Studies has prepared you for university studies and your career?

I think that the Trinity College Foundation Studies has helped me to adapt to the Australian style of education that will be mirrored under university circumstances. Additionally, the individual subjects have helped to further my knowledge in those specific areas, namely, Drama and History of Ideas, of which I had little to no experience in prior to this. These have therefore aided me in building my character, which would undoubtedly benefit me in both my transition to university and eventually my career.

Have you been able to make friends with other students?

Yes, although my Foundation Studies has been online, I have still had several opportunities to make some friends.

Why did you want to go to the University of Melbourne? 

I want to go to the University of Melbourne as it is one of the top universities in Australia. In addition, the University of Melbourne has a diverse range of student nationalities, and as such, this could broaden my understanding of these different cultures. Besides that, I like the city of Melbourne and its lifestyle.

What degree do you want to study at the University of Melbourne?

The degree I wish to study at the University of Melbourne will either be the Bachelor of Commerce or the Bachelor of Science.

Would you recommend Trinity College to other students? 

I would recommend Trinity College to students who intend to further their studies in the University of Melbourne or perhaps even those looking at several other universities in Australia for which Trinity’s Foundation Studies can be applicable to. The reason for this is that I find Trinity Foundation Studies to be a comprehensive course specifically tailored to prepare students for the educational style and requirements of the University of Melbourne.


26 Aug 2021
Category: Foundation Studies