Learning @ PolyU

To Self-Actualise in PolyU- Mr. Chan Hoi Shing, Kris

The first day could be traced back to 2009.

When I stepped onto the redbrick campus, I did not belong to Faculty of Humanities (FH) yet. My undistinguished A-Level results made me not a FH student, however keen I was on language studies. The first year was a daunting time, as I clearly understood that I was not doing something I liked.

On one occasion I was wandering round the university and thinking about my future. I realised that the dissatisfaction could not continue anymore. I decided to find a way out. I went to the Academic Secretariat office.

‘Is transfer of study possible in PolyU?’

The staff passed me a form. ‘Fill this out, tomorrow is the deadline.’

Thus, I got interview opportunities offered by FH.

‘While many students are struggling to dig out what they want, I’ve made up my mind to pursue a language major. What I need right now is a chance of being self-actualising.’

It probably assured the interviewers. They made a daring decision – accepting a student who had attained poor GPA (2.4) from another academic department. As a result, I joined FH in 2010, majoring in Chinese and Bilingual Studies (CBS).

I was aware of how invaluable the transfer was, thus making every endeavour to learn and to apply. I did enjoy CBS too. CBS involve a wide range of subjects which cover linguistics, translation and interpreting, bilingual corporate communication, and foreign languages (i.e. Japanese and Korean). Such extraordinary variety provides students with chance of exploration. They will, therefore, discover their preferences and develop certain specialisms. The comprehensiveness also helps to batten down the hatches – CBS students become well-equipped for the dynamic and multilingual workplace environment.

Eventually, GPA literally justified my self-determination. I got 3.9 (no longer 2.4!) for the first semester in FH. The mere figures somehow indicated the drastic difference between doing something I disliked and doing something I liked.

In PolyU, I was offered substantial opportunities to explore the world, to develop intercultural communication skills, to embrace harmony in diversity:

2011: I joined a summer programme held by the CBS department. The programme contained professional training and an internship. I went to Hangzhou to fulfil the work placement. I attended training conducted by China Jiliang University, and being a teacher for two weeks in Mandarin Capital, where students learned Chinese as a foreign language. I had gained hands-on experience of language teaching.

2012: I participated in an exchange programme organised by the Chinese Mainland Affairs Office. I became an exchange student at Peking University in Beijing. I stayed there for an entire semester. Lifelong friends from different cultural groups had been made. I felt deeply honoured to have studied the standard Chinese language and literature in one of the most prestigious Chinese universities.

2013: I received a reaching out award and became one of the participants in Rural Youth Holistic Development Service Programme, which was provided by the Office of Service Learning. The outreach programme brought me to Sichuan where I looked after local kids through accomplishing service-learning assignments. Apart from work experience and exchange study, I had chance of developing leadership and contributing to community.

Time certainly flew. I wore the mortar board on my last day in late 2013. I was fortunate enough to have my degree conferred with first class honours, thus delivering the valedictory speech on graduation, sharing my story with schoolmates.

In the end, I became the grantee of ‘University of Birmingham Hong Kong Postgraduate Scholarship 2013’ given by the Hong Kong Government. I finished a Master’s in Applied Linguistics in the UK.

‘What have you learned from PolyU?’

‘PolyU gave me a year to struggle for what I really wanted. Then she gave me three years to enjoy everything I wanted. So I’m exceptionally lucky to self-actualise in four years. I’ve learned how important it is to pursue a dream.’

That was what I told the scholarship interviewers.

Chan Hoi Shing, Kris
Alumnus 2013
BA (Hons) in Chineses and Bilingual Studies