University life as an undergraduate
In roughly 2 years of studying in university, I have taken 66 units in four semesters including one exchange semester and one summer semester after my final year project. Regardless of the dissatisfactory results, I still managed to explore different fields in journalism, English, politics and European Studies. Yet, what added colour to my academic studies are the General Education courses which include Tai Chi(Physical Education), Jazz Dance(Physical Education), Moral Heroes in an Immoral World (Values and the Meaning of Life) and Taiwan: Past, Present and Future (History and Civilization).
Academically, it was indeed a productive period for me to know more about the world in different disciplines. Let alone my hands-on experiences in being a student journalist and active involvement in international affairs, I also learnt to conceptualize my valuable experiences of studying abroad by the seven Graduate Attributes advocated by the Hong Kong Baptist University–Communication, Citizenship, Creativity, Knowledge, Teamwork, Learning, and Skills.
As a university graduate with an international journalism major, it comes to my first priority to explain what I have learnt from more than delivering a clear message to the recipient and interpreting the meaning of a message from a speaker. During my exchange semester in Denmark, it was challenging to communicate with international students from Europe to America, and from Africa to Oceania. While I’m confident with my spoken and written English, I had difficulties in understanding their accents and usage of words due to various cultural contexts. When I returned Hong Kong after the exchange programme, it’s obvious that I am capable of intercultural communications.
As a Hongkonger, it is commonplace to be confused about my own identity. In 2015 I participated a photography training workshop organized by Communication University of China in Beijing, the capital of mainland China. Whilst sharing the same Chinese cultural background, the difference in spoken languages and the ways of life make me feel like I’m a foreigner when I was in the Chinese capital. Another clue of finding one’s identity is how one introduces himself when it comes to a natural conversation. When I was an exchange student in Denmark, I always tell the others that I’m from Hong Kong instead of China, explaining how Hong Kong differentiates from China while being part of it.
Hong Kong’s education system has been widely critisized as a spoon-fed system, yet in the journalism department it doesn’t work as such. In the international journalism major, it’s compulsory for Year 2 students to be the reporters of the student-run magazine The Young Reporter, Year 3 students to be the editors of the publication, and Year 4 students to be the executive committee. Ambitious as I was, I decided to run for the Chief Editor election and found a group of passionate classmates to carry out reforms of the marketing strategies and contents of the student magazine. In spite of losing the election for one vote, I somehow came out with some creative ideas based on a critical review of the publications in the past few years.
In all seriousness I believe that knowledge is based on accumulation of literary reviews and critical analysis of one particular field of specialization, in lieu of finding shortcuts to memorize a sea of second-handed summaries written by the others. Since graduating from high school, I was determined to be a media professional because I had been reading TIME magazine every week since I was secondary five. Yet, my area of interest has changed, thanks for the inspiration of the European Politics classes when I was on an exchange in Denmark. I started to make most of my time in reading and immersing an array of European news, histories, and even the political system of the European Union. It’s crystal clear now for the formulation of knowledge–time.
During my exchange semester, what inspired me the most was the international cooperation within the exchange students group. In the final days of our classes, we were required to stimulate a real newsroom operation, and everyone needed to have different roles everyday–journalist, editor, and editor-in-chief. In addition to my overseas experience which consolidated my sense of teamwork, my participation of organizing TEDx HKBU 2015 talk as a Speaker Team member also strengthened my ability to work closely with a team.
Majoring international journalism is definitely an advantage for me to be a quick learner. Unlike other talents, learning is more like a desire of knowledge and skills instead of an instinct. When it comes to learning, adapting to a new environment is a foreign country makes most of efforts count. In Denmark, I learnt the general greetings in Danish, getting used to its bicycle-dominated traffic and integrating with the local Danes.
Throughout two years of studying a bachelor degree, public speaking skills and journalistic skills are what make the most of my university life. In my freshman year, a massive occupation broke out as a form of democratic movement in Hong Kong, and as a reporter of the student-run magazine The Young Reporter, I went to the occupation site and reported live via Tweeter. As I interviewed more people, I started to develop a strong sense of journalistic skills through asking the right questions to get the newsworthy answers. Likewise, the foundation of public speaking skills of mine, are built upon numerous international conferences and sharing and speeches during social events.