It was a dream come true for Sunway College Johor Bahru’s Australian Matriculation (AUSMAT) arts student Sean Yap Zhi Yi, 19, when he received the news that he was offered an ASEAN scholarship for his tertiary education at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Sean garnered a Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) of 97.15, placing him in the top 2.9% of the achievers worldwide.
The student, currently pursuing a degree in Arts and Social Sciences, lauded the AUSMAT programme for its high standards and ability to balance internal assessments with external examinations, and allowing students to gain admission into universities all over the world.
“I had to attend an interview with NUS early this year and to get myself prepared, my lecturers conducted a mock interview session with me. They obviously did a terrific job!” exclaimed the 19-year old.
Mr Alan Teng, AUSMAT Co-ordinator, said the lecturers saw the potential in Sean and hence, nominated him for the ASEAN scholarship.
“He is an active student in class and also a relatively good speaker which gives him a winning edge,” said Mr Teng.
Prior to the wonderful news, Sean had already enrolled in University of Sydney to pursue a combined degree – Bachelor of International and Global Studies and Bachelor of Laws. He was there for one semester.
“This ASEAN scholarship really came as a big surprise and I flew back immediately because it’s such a prestige to be an ASEAN scholar. Besides, NUS is a highly ranked university and is highly regarded throughout the world.”
He further narrated that his areas of interest are in diplomacy, foreign affairs, international studies and journalism and he hopes that his NUS degree can act as a platform for him to enter these fields after graduation.
In fact, Sean had a taste of working experience as a part-time journalist with The Star while waiting for acceptance into universities.
“I had fun-loving colleagues who were ever ready to coach me. Through the different stories, I was able to learn more about the many aspects of life in Johor and Malaysia,” he said.
He said he chose the AUSMAT programme because of its emphasis on knowledge, understanding, reasoning ability and skills, which make this programme an excellent preparation for university.
He was grateful for the orientation on his first day at College where he had many opportunities to interact with new students, hence friendships were nurtured.
Sean mentioned that support and encouragement were not only provided by lecturers and staff, but also from many classmates who voluntarily shared their knowledge.
“Thumbs up to the smaller group classes I attended each time as we all get more attention from the lecturers and our doubts are cleared easier and faster.”
The scholar added that students should not work hard but work smart and at the same time remember that College could also be a fun place so taking part in activities and making good friends are just as important.
“Although it has been a short, fleeting 10-odd months, I’ve gained a whole new experience in my life.”
ASEAN Scholar Sean Yap Zhi Yi currently pursuing a degree in Arts and Social Sciences with National University of Singapore.