Scholarship Recipient: Master of Architecture at Swinburne University of Technology

By I’mACE Team

Interviewee: Chhay Phally

Chhay Phally was recently awarded a Dean's Inaugural Scholarship to undertake a two-year, full-time Master of Architecture at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. He will begin the program in August 2019.

Could you please introduce yourself?

I am 27 years old. I graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA). I come from Phnom Penh, and my family has a background in business. My parents earn money to help support my studies.

How did you become passionate about architecture?

I became passionate about architecture after watching a Singaporean movie in which the architect tries to present his creative ideas and a physical model. I learned a lot about architecture from that movie. During my foundation year at RUFA, my interest in architecture grew and grew, so I decided to stick with it. That said, however, I almost gave up many times due to financial concerns. In the end, I managed to graduate!


How did you learn about the Dean's Inaugural Scholarship?

I wanted to undertake a Master of Architecture in Australia, so I did some research on Melbourne. What I like about Swinburne it that it is far from the city centre. I also really like the environment at Swinburne: it isn’t very crowded. I feel like it was a good choice for me. When I looked at the university website, I read the course curriculum and was very interested in it. The curriculum includes not only creative design, but also entrepreneurship. We’re encouraged to look at architecture from a business point of view. I then noticed that there were scholarships offered at Swinburne, and I applied for a Dean's Inaugural Scholarship.

Why do you think you were awarded the scholarship?

I think I was selected for three main reasons: my academic performance, work experience and commitment to Cambodia. I worked full-time for two years at an architecture design intelligence company based in Phnom Penh.


Phally and Wendy Khoo, Regional Recruitment Manager, South East Asia, Swinburne University of Technology

What are you looking forward to at Swinburne and in the program?

I am really looking forward to learning more about sustainable architecture. I hope to be able to apply what I learn to the Cambodia context when I return to Cambodia, to help advance sustainable development locally.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in similar opportunities?

Please don’t give up. Work smarter, not harder: one day, your work will pay off.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I have short-term and long-term goals. When I first return to Cambodia, I will go back to RUFA. It’s looking for lecturers with expertise in architecture to improve its Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture courses. Long-term, I hope to work in an architecture firm and develop the country as much as possible using sustainable concepts.

Share this article