"Learning was not restricted to the classroom. I was encouraged to venture out of my comfort zone, which I feel has contributed greatly to my skillset."
Name: Lee Chui Teng
Pre-U program & institution name: A Levels; Taylor’s College
Degree program (& Year graduated) & institution name: Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) 2016; Monash University Malaysia
Scholarship: Monash High Achiever Award (For Continuing Students) in Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences)
1. Dean’s Recognition Award (2015)
2. Monash High Achiever Award (For Continuing Students) in Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) (2016)
3. Overall Best Graduate Award in Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) (2016)
- Tell us briefly about your work or role in your current organisation.?
I’m currently unemployed and waiting to start my Honours in Monash University Malaysia next year, which I think will further broaden my skills base, as well as provide a useful base for an academic career if I so desire.
- How has your study in Monash Malaysia helped to prepare you for the working world?
My education in Monash has equipped me with an arsenal of skills that would help me transition from university to working life. The courses offered in my majors, Journalism and International Studies, demand applying a high level of critical thinking skills to real life situations, as the assignment topics often involve assessing and interacting with actual events. The realistic nature of my classes helped me cultivate a keen eye on current happenings on a local and global scale. This skill is highly imperative when finding a good story to report on. The hands-on nature of the journalism course has primed me on what to expect when I start working. I had the opportunity to undertake every step of the journalistic process, from the conception of the stories and sourcing of interviewees, to interviewing and writing.
Learning was not restricted to the classroom. I was encouraged to venture out of my comfort zone, which I feel has contributed greatly to my skillset. International Studies gave me a deeper understanding of current affairs, politics, and history, which would add depth and clarity to my journalistic work. The electives I took in communications studies and gender studies added a level of maturity and understanding to my work. It helped me understand that issues are never one-dimensional. There are layers of biases and ingrained politics in every issue.
Group work requires me to work with classmates. I’ve learned how to navigate within a group - an experience that would no doubt come in useful when I have to come into contact with different personalities in the working world. The strict deadlines I had to adhere to is also reflective of the conditions in the working world.
- While at Monash what type of opportunities did you participate in?
One of the opportunities that presented itself while I was doing an assignment concerned a soup kitchen run in Petaling Jaya. In the process of researching the assignment, I was very impressed by the good work that they were doing. I took the opportunity to volunteer in the kitchen for a period of time.
- When you were choosing a course and a university did you have a clear picture of your future (and if so what was it)?
I didn’t have a clear picture of my future but I have always wanted to write. Creating something gives me an immense satisfaction. I believe in the power of telling stories, especially when bringing unheard voices into the spotlight. My time in Monash has only reinforced that.
- How did that change (or reconfirmed) during your experience at Monash?
Although I had already decided on my majors, the high quality of teaching by the lecturers reconfirmed my choice and stimulated my interest even more. They did a good job of passing on the tools of journalism, and brought current affairs and politics to life. Two of my assignments, one on Myanmarese refugees in Malaysia without a working permit and another on the highly contested Kidex highway, reaffirmed my desire to bring to light the plight of the less fortunate.
- Whilst at Monash, did you have any industry exposure/placements? How has it made a difference to your own life or the life of others around you? Did it consolidate what you have learned from your undergraduate course?
Although I did not have any formal industry placements, some of the longer assignments provided an insight into the different aspects of journalism. For instance, one of my assignments involved attending a town hall meeting where I was able to see how the journalists present structured their questions and carried out their interviews.
- What was it about Monash that made you select this university in the first place?
I picked Monash because it has a strong brand name. Monash is internationally recognised as an academic institution of quality and calibre. Rest assured you would be able to state with pride that you graduated from Monash, even years down the road. This is especially so because it is associated with the prestigious Jeffrey Cheah foundation. The course framework offered was also in line with what I wanted to study. My decision was reinforced by positive testimonials and recommendations from seniors, making it a clear choice for me to pursue my degree.
- What do you love most about your student life at Monash?
The student life at Monash is dynamic and exciting. I particularly enjoyed the international environment of the campus. Making friends from different countries and cultures has opened my eyes not only to how diverse the world is, but also how similar we are in nature despite our geographical boundaries. I also love the stimulating academic environment. We were actively encouraged to discuss and question existing concepts, which created a liberating atmosphere where different ideas and thoughts are frequently exchanged among students and lecturers. There is a very unique environment in Monash. The wealth of resources available at my fingertips facilitated this process.