After completing my secondary and pre-university education in Singapore, I chose to come to Hong Kong to further my tertiary education. I was deeply fascinated by and attracted to this city during a trip here earlier.
Many of my friends were quite surprised when they found out and asked me why I chose to come to Hong Kong instead of staying in Singapore. They think that Hong Kong is very similar to Singapore in numerous aspects. I agree to a certain extent, but I still think there are some differences that are worth exploring.
The Hong Kong environment is very unique and different from what Singapore has to offer. It is a city immersed in Chinese culture but developed most rapidly under the British rule. It is only in Hong Kong that you can see how Eastern and Western cultures can be very well blended into society.
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) offers very attractive programmes such as the course I am taking, a combination of Civil Engineering and Law. It appears to be academically unrelated but I have greatly benefited from my programme as it has helped me to broaden my horizons and heighten my understanding on both disciplines. This opens up more doors for my future career path, which is very helpful to me.
HKU is also distinctly different from other universities in Singapore. Facade-wise, it does not look as modern as Singapore’s universities. Yet being a hundred years old, HKU has preserved many historical buildings and sites that are rich in culture, which you can see as you walk into the campus. Apart from that, the school is also saturated with traditions such as having yearly high table dinners. During these dinners, you can enjoy the experience of wearing a gown and dining at long tables with fellow schoolmates while listening to the speeches of distinguished guests.
Another interesting aspect of HKU is its hall culture. Each hall has its own range of sports and cultural activities and you are free to join whatever you are interested in. There are plenty of opportunities for you to interact with other hall mates, be they local or international students, and to know more about their culture.
The HKU Scholarship is a great help as it pays part of my tuition fees. There are no contractual terms attached to the scholarship so I have more flexibility in my future career paths. Moreover, the university provides opportunities for all scholarship holders – international students and Mainland students alike – to interact and exchange ideas with one another. Overall, this experience has been very enriching for me.
Now that I am halfway through my university education in HKU, I feel that the choice I made a year and a half ago was definitely a correct one. On top of my academic development, I have also had the chance to learn Cantonese and immerse myself in the fast-paced life of Hong Kong. I believe that all these experiences will better prepare me for my career and this is exactly what I am looking for in a university.