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UK students laud HK learning

August 09, 2015

Practical pointers

Practical pointers:  British student Natalie Dearden joined a conservation course at City University where she learnt how to rear horseshoe crabs.

Character building

Character building:  Natalie joined a Chinese calligraphy class to learn more about the local culture.

Business brain

Business brain:  British student Oliver Charlton (centre) gained practical business experience during a three-week summer finance programme at Hong Kong University.

“Studying in Hong Kong was never a consideration, that is until now. Through conducting my research into studying in Hong Kong, I have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of opportunities studying here can bring.”


That is what British student Natalie Dearden, from Oldham, Manchester had to say about her experience of studying in Hong Kong this summer.


The 19-year-old is one of the five winners in this year’s “ Hong Kong: A Dream Destination for University Study competition organised by the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in London.


Winners are sponsored to study at a summer course offered by a local university for a taste of the city’s world-class university life, as well as its cosmopolitan lifestyle and unique culture.


Natalie joined City University’s Unique Experience on Environmental Conservation course, as she is passionate about animal conservation and protecting the environment .


During the two-week course, she learnt how to rear horseshoe crabs and the importance of conserving them. The sea creatures are used in the bio-medical industry for their bacteria-fighting blue blood which is used by scientists to test medical injections for contamination.


Natalie’s tutor, Department of Biology & Chemistry Associate Professor Paul Shin is in charge of a project to increase the horseshoe crab population in Hong Kong, which is under threat from urbanisation.


“A lot of the areas where horseshoe crabs are supposed to live have been destroyed or disturbed because of urban development, reclamation or even pollution,” he explained.


Interactive learning

Natalie said she appreciated the emphasis her tutors placed on practical learning.


“The teaching methods are quite different to the UK. It’s a lot more relaxed, it made me feel more comfortable and the teachers are really kind and welcoming in the lessons. It was really good to have hands on practice, rather than just learning about them in a book.”


Natalie did not only learn about conservation, she also took advantage of her time on the programme to learn about Chinese culture.


“My first day on the course, I learnt some Chinese calligraphy which was extremely interesting, I learnt how to write my name and how to draw, it was really good,” she said.


Financial insight

Fellow competition winner, 17-year-old Oliver Charlton from Chester, joined the three-week Young Finance Professional Summer Programme at Hong Kong University.


Oliver welcomed the practical learning experience he received, which included participating in a stock market simulation game with a group of local and international students.


“Here it’s very practical. A lot of the analogies applied to real life situations and then we learnt from real life situations, whereas maybe back home, programmes are more theoretical, so you don’t really gain the real life experiences, which I have here.”


He hopes to study business and eventually work in the finance industry, and believes Hong Kong, as Asia’s financial hub, is the foremost place to learn.


Positive experience

Both competition winners praised the Government initiative for opening their eyes to the possibility of studying in Hong Kong.


The Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in London has been running the competition for four years now and has welcomed 20 UK secondary school students since it was launched.


Entrants are invited to describe why they think Hong Kong would be a great place to study as a university student. Entries have ranged from essays, websites and blogs, to YouTube videos. Each of the five winners is then sponsored to study on a summer course offered by a local university.


The office’s Director-General Erica Ng said the competition was launched to encourage more students from the UK to pursue tertiary education in Hong Kong.


“The cosmopolitan nature of campus life in Hong Kong nurtures its students with the inter-cultural confidence to be future world citizens. Our tertiary institutions are recognised as leaders on various international league tables.“


She added that three Hong Kong universities were ranked among the top 50 universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2014/15.

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