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The Winner of Outstanding Student Award 2020

Maggie Tsin-tung NG The Winner of Outstanding Student Award 2020 on her unforgettable Service-Learning (SL) experience at PolyU, what keeps her committed to community services, and how she would like to motivate herself to serve others after graduation.

10 Questions for Maggie Ng

I’m a final year surveying student in the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE).

I’ve participated in the SOAR Youth Leadership Programme during the Summer of my first year. It is a one-year programme jointly organised by PolyU and Peking University to nurture students to be competent and responsible ethical leaders with global vision. Throughout the programme, I had the chances to participate in leadership courses, training, experiential workshops and international study service trips to Belt and Road countries together with about 30 students coming from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia.

To get ourselves into the groove of SL, we first took a trip to Mainland China to learn about the ideas of Service Leadership through attending the Global Youth Leaders’ Summit, meeting community activists and social workers, and serving people with physical and mental disabilities. In the second stage, we went to Israel to learn about the importance and challenges of being ethical leaders in a multi-racial environment. In the final stage, we put the theories of Service Leadership into action by organizing summer camps for children in Kyrgyzstan.

It is definitely voluntary teaching in Kyrgyzstan. We wanted to develop children’s Intellectual Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), Adversity Quotient (AQ), Spiritual Quotient (SQ), health and scientific knowledge through an interactive teaching approach that filled with handcraft, team games and mini experiments back then. It is through this experience that I felt the reciprocal relationship between service providers and service recipients. It is not merely about how a service provider sacrifices his/her time to help strangers but, instead, how he/she can make the most of these connections to understand and learn from one another.

  1. The homestay experience in Kyrgyzstan taught me to be thankful for the things that I own, the services and exposure I can easily access as one living in Hong Kong.
  2. I believe the leadership skills I learnt from the SOAR programme, such as active listening and being observant can be applied to my workplace in the future.
  3. It is also important to serve others with empathy in order to truly understand their needs instead of designing activities that only interest ourselves.

Rather than taking the SL project as an assignment, I suggest thinking of it as a campaign or an event that speaks who you are as one of the members of a student committee or student association. I believe it is always easier for us to build a greater sense of ownership and passion for projects that represent ourselves.

Given that Kyrgyzstan students at primary, secondary or university levels have limited chances to travel outside their home country, I would love to do more to broaden their horizons. We did try to build their skills and interest in understanding foreign cultures by teaching them Mandarin, English, and Tai Chi (a form of Chinese martial arts) during the trip. But on an individual basis, I thought I could have done more than just befriending them on Instagram.

I registered myself as a volunteer on HandsOn during the SOAR programme when we participants were asked to do voluntary services in Hong Kong on our own as one of the assignments. I discovered HandsOn as an online platform that empowers people in Hong Kong to volunteer by enabling them to identify service opportunities and have greater accuracy and ease on reporting attendance. I have been taking part in services that I found from this platform from time to time since then. Looking back, most of the activities I attended were related to children services.

The greatest motivation for me to carry on with this practice after the SOAR programme, I guess, is I value the opportunities to meet people from diverse walks of life in different services.

I wish I could continue to engage in community services after entering the job market.
There is always a quote in my mind though I have no ideas where does it come from, “there is always a shortage of hands despite the abundance of resources in any kinds of services”.

(a) Enjoy the process for there won’t be a second chance in your life like that

(b) Contribute more to your team by always “walking an extra mile” and you will gain something beyond your expectation

(c) Keep the spirit of self-reflection alive and you will be able to make every day counts

About Outstanding Student Award

Each year, the Outstanding Students Award Scheme of PolyU recognises the achievements of full-time final-year students who have excelled in their academic and non-academic endeavours, rewarding students at three difference levels. Outstanding students selected for the award at the departmental level go on to compete for a similar award at the Faculty/School level. The Most Outstanding PolyU Student of the Year is then selected from those who have received the Outstanding Student Award of their Faculty/School.

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