Room to grow with CityU

Room to grow with CityU

CityU student Kitty Ngai says life experience is one of the most important things students gain at university


Making the most of uni doesn't just mean studying.
Photo: Kitty Ngai

Many freshmen enter university with a “to-do list”, which can include joining societies, living in halls or finding romance.

Indeed, going to university involves much more than a degree. I believe we are all born with room inside us to learn, have adventures and widen our horizons.

Before entering the real world after graduation, it’s a great idea to get a bit more life experience. That is what I did last summer when I volunteered for a house-building project in Sri Lanka sponsored by City University of Hong Kong and my department.

When I arrived in Colombo, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to last a month. My first impression of Sri Lanka was a South Asian country with poor living conditions and a complicated language.

However, thanks to my schoolmates, I overcame lots of obstacles and gained many precious memories; for example, working in a team to lay the foundations for some walls, trying local cuisine and playing games with orphaned children.

These kids’ smiles reminded me that we have two hands: one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

After Sri Lanka I started an internship as a marketing assistant at the Financial Times newspaper. I was put in charge of the 2015 FT desktop calendar project, and I gained a valuable insight into online marketing.

If I had to give a little tip for freshmen, it would be this: your attitude determines your success. Your department may have lots of resources, but your success depends on your willingness to seize opportunities.

During the spring of 2015, I was an exchange student at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. There, I learned the golden principle of “learning by exploring”.

In the first lecture, I was surprised to find we were asked questions, rather than being given answers. Our professor explained: “If I give you the answers, then you will never learn.” After encountering this European way of teaching, I felt like the room within me grew. I think Hong Kong universities would benefit from the same teaching style.

Without the support of my department and university, I wouldn’t have had the chance to make the most of these experiences. They have been the greatest room expanders.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Room inside for learning


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