When choosing a degree, some students already have specific programmes in mind, while others take more time to figure out where their interests lie.
For Scott Yu Pak-Wing, a third-year student of the Faculty of Humanities at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), the decision wasn’t easy. After serious consideration, he chose a five-year double degree programme leading to a BA (Hons) in Language Studies and a BEd (Hons) (English Language).
When he made that choice, he was studying for an associate degree and, after learning about the chance to double up the benefit with a double degree, he was attracted by the challenge and the possibility of a greater range of future career opportunities.
“In secondary school, English was my best subject, and maybe it was natural to gravitate to this programme,” Yu says. “When I graduate, I will have two degrees, which I think will give me an edge in today’s competitive job market.”
As part of the programme, Yu went to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last year as an exchange student. While there, he took a number of sociology courses with transferable credits and, outside the classroom, took full advantage of the opportunities that came from living and studying overseas to explore a completely different culture.
“I tell everyone that if they have the chance to participate in an exchange programme, they should do it,” he says. “You become more independent and have experience you wouldn’t have in Hong Kong. You’re really on your own, which forces you to meet and be engaged with new people and to study English in a completely different environment. Hong Kong is a big city, so I really wanted an exchange experience somewhere different, where I was still able to meet students from different countries and now I have friends from all over the world.”
At Marquette, exchange students are paired with local students in the dormitory on campus. Social activities are organised, making it easy for exchange students to make new friends and adapt to the new environment quickly. Experiencing that has changed the way Yu views overseas exchange students he now meets in Hong Kong.
“I signed up for the ‘buddy programme’ at EdUHK as a freshman, but wasn’t very active and didn’t take my responsibilities very seriously,” he says.
Now he is much more empathetic towards the kind of challenges foreign students face in a new environment and culture. He is now very active in organising activities for incoming exchange students, such as weekend trips, campus tours, and fun activities that help them learn more about Hong Kong and meet other students of the university.
Yu plans to become a teacher, but he also notes that he is still learning about himself and does not rule out the other career possibilities.