Life is full of surprises, and Hilton Cheung Hei-tung, a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Language Studies (BA(Lang Studies)) offered by the Faculty of Humanities at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), is still a little surprised to be working in an administrative role.
When initially choosing her undergraduate degree, she was most interested in learning languages and had visions of working in the education sector. At the time, she was unsure what kind of role would suit her best, but knew there would be tough competition for jobs among the “double cohort” year of 2012.
Importantly though, the BA(Lang Studies) programme allowed her to acquire a solid foundation in Chinese and English within the context of three broad subject domains: language, literature, and culture and communication. She could also consider taking the Postgraduate Diploma in Education after completing her degree to become a qualified language teacher, which would open up all kinds of opportunities.
However, as things turned out, Cheung is now working at her alma mater as an administrator. Looking back, she still recalls the excitement she felt when exploring the wide range of possible career options in her final year of study. Back then, one ambition was to operate a learning centre, running playgroups and language classes, but she saw the importance of gaining practical work experience first.
Not surprisingly, she was also attracted by the idea of working at EdUHK and, after taking the necessary steps, was more than happy to land a job in one of the university’s central units.
At the outset, it took time to familiarise herself with what a university administrator actually does. She knew there would be a certain number of nitty-gritty tasks, but soon realised there was much more to it than that.
In her current role, she is privy to a lot of behind-the-scenes processes and now has a much better understanding of what the many different stakeholders must do to keep everything running smoothly. She enjoys doing her bit to ensure all the wheels are in motion, something which requires good interpersonal and communication skills.
Thanks to her undergraduate studies, with a Chinese major and an English minor, Cheung has a very solid foundation in both languages. That’s a great help in the workplace, but she also notes that internship experience with Esprit taught her what’s needed to perform effectively in an office environment and get on with other people. As a result, she is confident that she can transcend the various challenges that come up every day.
Cheung now sees a clear career path ahead at EdUHK and plans to keep advancing, with a view to becoming a senior administrator and contributing as much as she can along the way.