We caught up with Izwan Ismail, an alumnus of the Foundation Studies Program who attended amongst the first July intake back in 1995–1996.
During the recent Eid al-Fitr festival (celebrating the end of Ramadan), Izwan and his family returned to Melbourne for a fond visit.
It was his first proper return to the College since his university days, having visited Trinity in 2010 during summer break when the College was closed.
Looking back to 1995, Izwan sees that the Foundation Studies Program was quite different to today.
‘If my memory is correct, there were around 60 of us in the July intake,’ says Izwan.
To compare, there were over 200 students in the 2014 FS August Main intake.
‘The small student numbers helped us to bond, some of us to this day.’
As proof of this lasting bond, Izwan married Zunita Zakaria, who also completed the Foundation Studies Program around the same time.
‘Coming back now brings back a lot of memories,’ says Izwan, ‘mostly good and fun ones.
‘I was taken aback by the warm reception from staff and our ex-teachers. Even after all these times, they still remember us.’
Some things haven’t changed, though.
‘I remember how my Maths teacher would always take time for me after class for further consultation.’
As it can be today, Drama classes had a big impact on FS students in the mid-90s.
‘I remember one session during the initial stage – where we just had to stand in front of the class, stay calm and stare at every face for some time. Sounds easy, but coming from an Asian culture – it was really tough.’
Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenging class experiences, Izwan and Zunita have future plans for involvement in Foundation Studies.
Without hesitation, Izwan reflects, ‘We would cherish sending our children to our alma mater’.