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Our Head of Careers visits Hong Kong

Posted: 18th May 2017

In March our Head of Careers, Miss Hayley Bendle travelled to Hong Kong at the invitation of Hong Kong University. Whilst on her travels, Miss Bendle documented her experiences and she is now temporarily taking over the student blog page to give us an insight into what she got up to during her visit:

Monday 20th March

InsteLanding in Amsterdam Airportad of my normal commute to work at CSFC today, I am heading to Cardiff Airport with my bags packed, ready to catch my first of two flights to travel to Hong Kong. A couple of months ago, Professor John A. Spinks from the University of Hong Kong invited me, along with colleagues from other leading educational establishments, to visit him in Hong Kong to get to know the university and city better.

09:00: I’m at Cardiff Airport, I’ve checked in and I’m having breakfast before I catch my flight to Amsterdam. It was an early start and I’ve got a long day ahead. I’m already regretting not bringing a travel pillow with me!

09:30: I’ve got time to reply to a few emails before my flight, so I can get a bit of work done and reply to some student questions before I start boarding.

11:30: Arrived in Amsterdam, after a very bumpy landing!

Unfortunately, I now have a six hour wait before my connecting flight to Hong Kong. Luckily, I’ve found a quiet corner near a café, so I can work my way through my inbox. I’m sure it will be difficult to find time to reply to emails when I’m in Hong Kong.

17:30: After a long layover in Amsterdam, my flight is now ready to take-off for Hong Kong… only around 11 hours to go!

Tuesday 21st March

12:00:  I have arrived in Hong Kong! There were some amazing views on the approach. Straight to the hotel for a nap!

17:00: Fortunately, I have a friend in Hong Kong who has offered to show me around on my first night. She took me out for a great meal in Sheung Wan before I returned to the hotel for an early night to try and get rid of this jet lag straight away.

Wednesday 22nd March

Today, I had a free day to explore before my meetings start tomorrow. I am so grateful to have the chance to be a tourist here too. I took an early bus ride to Ngong Ping to see the Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha.

In the evening I had another new experience – watching horse-racing. My friend and I went to the Happy Valley Racecourse, and we had a great time. It’s something I’ve never done before in the UK, but certainly will do in the future!

Thursday 23rd March

Today, I met with staff from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK):

  • Ms. Jenny Wu, Assistant Director
  • Prof. Suk-Ying Wong, Associate Vice-President and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Ms Irene Man, Executive Office
  • Prof. Andrew Ng, Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Studies)
  • Ms Elaine Tam, Administrative Director (Undergraduate Studies)
  • Prof. Stuart Hargreaves, Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Studies) and LLB Programme Director
  • Prof. Tony Gin, Chairman, Faculty Medical Students Admissions Committee

It was a great day within the fantastic surroundings of CUHK.

We talked through the admissions procedures for Medicine, Business and Law courses to ensure that I am guiding the fantastic students at CSFC towards the best chances for gaining entry to this excellent university.

Both myself and CUHK are looking forward to strengthening our links further in the future and we hope to send many more fantastic students to CUHK, not only from Hong Kong, but from elsewhere in the world too.

19:00 – Following my day of meetings at the university and having a tour of the outstanding facilities, I went to Mong Kok market in the evening to experience some more of the culture!

Friday 24th March

Today, I visited Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and met with:

  • Jacky Yiu, Manager, Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions Officer
  • Harriet Ng, Assistant Director of World Bachelor in Business
  • Winnie Chan, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Recruitment and Admissions

HKUSTI was kindly shown the university facilities and given a campus tour. It emerged that the red sundial in the pictures is the university symbol.

I was treated to a wonderful lunch with Jacky, Harriet and Winnie along with the Chief Executive of HKUST, Mr Leung Chun-Ying.

During the meetings we discussed creating strong relationships between HKUST and CSFC through university courses such as Global Business, Engineering and Sciences.

I was also guided through the intricacies of the admissions requirements, including what the admissions team is looking for in personal statement and interviews, and the grade entry requirements they have for their students. This was all really useful information which I could use to build upon the knowledge I already have, and I can’t wait to share it all with the students at CSFC!

Saturday 25th March

Today, I had some more free time so I took a spur of the moment decision to travel to Macau.

08:45: I caught the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau, which took about one hour.

10:00: Having arrived in Macau and disembarked the ferry, I went for a walk to explore the area.

11:45: I ended up in Guia Hill Municipal Park, at the lighthouse. I also came across a beautiful wedding that was happening in the park.

14:00: Lunch was a Portuguese egg tart from a pastelaria (pastry shop), which was delicious! While eating it, I took in the views of the Ruins of St Paul’s.

16:00: As a snack, I decided to try some roasted pork neck jerky… it was an experience!

18:00: I wandered down to Senado Sqaure, which took me back to my year abroad in Spain and Portugal in 2011. The fountain in the square looked fantastic once the sun had set, too.

19:00: I walked back to the ferry terminal via the Casino district, taking in all the bright lights – it could’ve been Las Vegas!

20:00: Back to the ferry terminal to return to Hong Kong. Ready for a busy day tomorrow!

Sunday 26th March

10:00: After a great night’s sleep, I had a relaxing morning visiting Kowloon Park.

15:00: In the afternoon, I met with delegates from University of Hong Kong (HKU) in preparation for this evening’s welcome dinner.

18:00: Welcome Dinner on Hong Kong Island

Prof. John A.Spinks, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Dr. Philip Beh, Chairman of University Admissions Committee, welcomed myself and representatives from other top international schools from around the world, including schools from Malaysia, Kazakhstan, India, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and of course myself from the UK.

I felt very privileged to be representing one of the only 13 schools invited by HKU for this Counsellors Conference.

Monday 27th March

A busy day had been planned by HKU for myself and the other visiting delegates.

09:00: I met up with the rest of the group in the hotel lobby, ready for a full day of touring and meetings. We took a walk to the HKU campus, which was the same route HKU students walk to class.

09:30: A meeting with Mr. Tiff Liu, Senior Programme Manager, Admissions and Academic Liaison Section, Registry at the HKU visitor centre. We discussed the admissions requirements and procedures for students looking to attending HKU, along with details of the scholarships they have on offer.

10:30: I was introduced to Dr. Song Gang, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Admissions) and Admissions Tutor, and Prof. Samson Tse, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Education) and Director of Experiential Learning, to learn about the subjects in the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences at HKU.

11:40: We visited the Moot Court with Mr. Michael Jackson, Associate Professor, to learn about Law teaching and facilities at the university.

12:30: Some current HKU students came to talk to us to let us know about student life at the university. We heard about how classes are and how much they enjoy their courses, as well as hearing about the social life and their experiences outside of the classroom. It was great to hear the students talking so passionately and I’m sure our CSFC students would enjoy their time at HKU just as much.

13:00: Networking buffet lunch with the Faculty of Science including Dr. William Cheung, a Lecturer at HKU and Prof. George Tham, Associate Dean.

14:15: We visited the Engineering labs and took a tour of their facilities with Dr. KC Cheung, Assistant Dean (Undergraduate Admissions). We got to see the 3D printing and virtual reality laboratories. which were so much fun!

16:00: We headed over to the K.K. Leung Building for an introduction to the Faculty of Business and Economics, accompanied by Dr. Derek Chan, Associate Dean (Undergraduate)

17:00:  We took a tour of the science laboratories to end our first day with HKU.

During the evening, myself and three other school representatives went out for a networking dinner at The Peak with Vicky Chan from HKU, who works in the International Admissions and Recruitment Department.

Tuesday 28th March

07:00: Up early for breakfast at the hotel before our second day with HKU.

08:45: Today we are catching a bus to Li Ka Sing, Faculty of Medicine.

09:15: Professor YS Chan, Associate Dean (Development and Infrastructure) met us at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine and introduced us to the School of Biomedical Sciences. We had a tour of the medical campus facilities and learnt about it 130 years’ celebration.

10:45: Dr Jeffrey Timmermans, Associate Professor of Practice, met with us to introduce us to the Journalism programme at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre.

12:00: We had a formal lunch in the Senior Common Room of the university with Dr Eugenie Leung, Dean of Student Affairs and Professor Ying Chan, Master, Shun Hing College, Jockey Club Student Village III. I struggled trying to eating tofu with chopsticks!

13:45: Dr Zhou Ying, Assistant Professor and Admissions Tutor; Mr Sony Devabhaktuni, Assistant Professor and Admissions Tutor; and Mr Yu Ka-Sing, Lecturer and Admissions Tutor from the Department of Architecture, gave us a tour of the Architecture studio and explained what students study on this course.

15:00: Now was the time to hear about HKU’s opportunities in School Exchanges and International Work and Study. This was conducted by the International Affairs Office, and we learnt about the amazing scholarships and connections on offer with universities and companies around the world to enrich a student’s experience at university.

16:00: Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, the Director of the Common Core Curriculum, was the next to speak to us about the integral role that the Common Core plays in a HKU student’s timetable. I was impressed by the breadth and depth of this subject, and it made me want to be a student again and learn more about the interesting topics on offer!

17:00: We returned to the hotel for a quick freshen-up before our farewell dinner.

17:45: We caught an earlier ferry than expected to Lamma Island – it really took me by surprise to see how distinct Hong Kong is beyond the city centre. I was lucky enough to witness the start of sunset whilst on the boat!

19:00: Before dinner at 7pm, we had a quick tour of the Island. So beautiful!

Wednesday 29th March

10:00: Today, I was allocated a special meeting with the Assistant Dean of Admissions for the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Dr Gilberto KK Leung. Given the number of outstanding students CSFC regularly sends to the University of Hong Kong, he was eager to organise a meeting with me to discuss how we could further strengthen our links with HKU to continue sending exemplary non-JUPAS students to them. We talked not only about how to increase the chances of gaining an interview and subsequent conditional offer, but also how the choice of A-levels can have an impact upon their curriculum in university; whereby he is of the opinion that a mixture of sciences and a humanities subject is the best combination! 

12.00: I joined my fellow CUHKdelegates in the Jockey Club Student Village III, after they finished their tours of Prince Phillip Dental Hospital and the Flora Ho Sports Centre. It was time for us all to say our goodbyes and we thanked HKU for being such fantastic hosts during our stay! I have ensured that we will invite them back to Cardiff next year, so we can continue to provide our students with the opportunity to speak to lead admissions staff, before they apply in their A2 year.

14:00: This afternoon was spent being very reflective about my time in Hong Kong and realising how much of an experience I have had in meeting other experts in their field, but also being able to see first-hand where we send our CSFC students every year. I have full confidence in our students settling in well into these three universities to which we have historically sent, and will continue to send, our students.

20:00: I wanted to make sure I took in all the main sights of Hong Kong before my departure the following morning, so I took a trip on the Star Ferry and spent the evening in the hustle and bustle of Tsim Sha Tsui, before having my first experience dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant, Tim Ho Wan and watching the Symphony of Lights. What a perfect way to mark my last night in this fantastic city!

Thursday 30th March

10pm (BST): Having arrived back in the UK, I have been awake for 23 hours and I am truly exhausted! My trip to Hong Kong just feels like a dream… now to get enough sleep ready for tomorrow’s Cultural Event!

Categories: Student Blog