One Degree, Two-place Learning Experience 一個學位 體驗香港、英國兩地大學生活
Many people dream about studying abroad but are limited by time or money. The University of Sunderland is a UK government-funded university with a heritage of over a century. The University launched our Hong Kong campus with the introduction of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. For the 3-year bachelor degree programme, students can opt to study abroad, at either the main campus in Sunderland or at the London campus, in order to expand their horizons, and to enhance their English language proficiency. It is also a wonderful opportunity to build an international network with students from around the globe, all the while experiencing UK culture.
“After spending just one year abroad, my family already noticed a huge difference in me!”
Ryan Yuk joined the “HK x UK: One degree, Two-place learning experience” programme organised by The University of Sunderland in Hong Kong (Sunderland’s Hong Kong campus). He studied his bachelor’s degree in Sunderland’s Hong Kong campus in the first two years, and then completed his final year of study in the Sunderland campus in the UK.
很多人對海外留學都充滿憧憬，可惜受到時間或金錢所限而未能實現出國留學夢。擁有逾百年歷史的英國公立大學— 新特蘭大學，在香港設立分校並開辦多個學士及碩士課程。其中，三年制的（榮譽）學士學位課程，學生於修讀期間可參加「香港x英國：一個學位，兩地學習體驗」，自選到英國的新特蘭及/ 或倫敦校區修讀一至兩個學期，以較相宜的留學預算體驗英國留學生活，藉此豐富同學的學習歷程及生活歷練，提升英語能力，擴闊國際視野，增強他們日後就業的競爭力。剛畢業的郁智皓（Ryan）就是參加了該「香港x 英國：一個學位，兩地學習體驗」，他先在香港分校修畢學士一、二年級課程，再負笈英國完成最後一年的三年級課程。返港後跟我們分享他的喜悅。
A Life-Changing Year in the UK
A lot of youngsters in Hong Kong never have to do any housework. Everything at home is taken care of by either the mother or domestic helpers. Ryan used to be no different. In the past, he never helped his mother with household chores. After dinner, he would leave the table and move on to play on his mobile phone or computer games. However, during his year abroad, Ryan had to handle everything on his own, including cooking, cleaning, buying food and daily necessities. Only then did he realise how demanding these chores are!
“After returning to Hong Kong, my the family was really surprised to see me help with dishes and chores alike. Now I understand that as part of the family, I should take up some responsibilities and try to contribute – be it now or the future.”
Ever think of giving up in times of difficulties? “Absolutely not! My family is all extremely supportive. Spending a year in the UK was an excellent opportunity to train myself. I didn’t want to disappoint them.”
From Mediocre to 2:1
When preparing for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), Ryan anticipated that he would not fulfill the requirements for admission to the eight universities in Hong Kong. Luckily, a relative introduced him to Sunderland’s Hong Kong campus.
“When enquiring about the programme, I was told that majority of the course would take place in Hong Kong, with a year abroad. Not only would I have the chance to experience overseas studies on a lower budget, I would also acquire an honours degree from an internationally recognised university in the UK. Considering the flexibility and appeal of the programme, I decided to enroll soon after.”
According to Ryan, there are no huge differences between learning in Hong Kong and the UK. The way of teaching, course content, assessment criteria – such as individual presentations and graded assignments – are all rather similar in both campuses, making it easier to adapt. One major difference is the number of students in class. When studying in the UK campus, there were around 20 students in each class, including a few international students. Communicating in English was crucial. In the Sunderland campus, by contrast, there can be up to 80 students in each lecture. Often, Ryan has to do a lot of research when preparing for lessons and assignments, which is a great opportunity to foster his proactivity and self-discipline.
“I am overwhelmed to be able to achieve a 2:1 honours after all those years in high school with less-than-satisfactory academic results! Throughout the whole learning process in the Hong Kong campus, I learned a whole lot about learning and living environments.”
Making the Most of University Experience
Universities in the UK have always been known for their welcoming learning atmosphere. For Ryan, the library’s self-study area with a riverside view was probably the best study spot. He also made sure to make the most out of university life.
“If anyone plans to take the 1-year-abroad route, I would suggest taking part in a few extra-curricular activities in the main campus. You will be able to meet friends from all over the world! I did, and I would practise football with my new mates on grassy fields.”
In fact, Ryan joined quite a few clubs, societies and school teams, including the Malaysian Society and the Football, Volleyball and Badminton teams. He even competed for the university! “There aren’t a lot of Hong kongers at the University of Sunderland, which is why I joined the Malaysian Society instead. I love sports so I decided to join several sports teams. I met teammates from Italy, Greece, Philippines, Britain, etc. Playing sports acts as our common language. Absolutely no barriers whatsoever. Together, we represented the university in the Volleyball League, and won 2nd place!”
英國的留學環境總是令人嚮往， Ryan 更說他喜歡到圖書館向著河邊的自修區做功課，而課外的英國大學生活亦相當豐富，Ryan參加了很多的學會和校隊，如馬來西亞學會、足球隊、排球隊、羽毛球隊等，更曾多次代表大學出賽。「因為新特蘭大學很少香港人，所以我加入了馬來西亞學會。我喜歡運動，所以參加了幾個校隊，認識到很多不同國籍的隊員，如意大利、希臘、菲律賓、英國等，運動就像我們的共同語言，沒有隔膜，我們一起代表大學到出賽，在排球隊校際聯賽更取得第二位成績。」
From the interview, it is clear to see that Ryan has apparently evolved into a more responsible, self-disciplined and academically strong young man. All as the result of spending just one year abroad! It is definitely a much-cherished experience.
Editor編採: Bess Luk
Interviewee受訪者: Ryan Yuk 郁智皓
The University of Sunderland delivers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.