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ANNIE CHAN SHARES HER EXPERIENCES AT CARDIFF SIXTH FORM AND WHAT SHE HAS BEEN DOING DURING LOCKDOWN

Annie Chan from Hong Kong speaks to our Marketing and Admissions Director, Henrietta Lightwood, about her time at Cardiff Sixth Form College:

“I wanted to study in the UK and so we enrolled with Academic Asia - one of the educational agencies in Hong Kong and saw that Cardiff Sixth Form College was the top school in the UK.  I thought it would be worth trying to get in and so took the exams and managed to get a place.  At first I was a bit sceptical, thinking that it would only be a purely academic school, and felt a little insecure about leaving my friends in Hong Kong.  However, I couldn’t have been more wrong!   It was much better than I thought and there were loads of extra-curricular activities I could join.  The teachers were incredibly supportive and much more open and approachable than those in Hong Kong and I received lots of individual help so I soon felt really at home and easily made friends.

I studied biology, chemistry, maths, English Literature and Chinese and am hoping for five A*s when the A Level results come out.  I have offers to study medicine at Hong Kong University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong and also an offer to do Architecture at HKU as I have so many interests and am a real mixture of the arts and sciences.

The decision to study medicine came out of personal experiences.  I watched an inspiring documentary about a doctor in Nepal who have developed a cheap lens substitute for cataract surgery. I also really enjoyed the International Citizenship Experience at Cardiff where I volunteered at a hospital in Tanzania and worked with an amazing Romanian paediatrician who was not only an excellent doctor but also was very involved in educating parents on HIV/AIDS and preventing domestic abuse.  I can see myself involved in humanitarian work in the future as I love travelling, don’t mind getting my hands dirty and feel a duty to help take care of those less fortunate.

During my first year at Cardiff I really focused on my studies as I knew that getting good AS grades would really take the pressure off.  I am very keen on music and play the cello and found another student from the UK who also was at Diploma level.  We performed together on many occasions and we started a music club and archive in my second year as lots of the new AS students were excellent musicians and we put together a string quartet, rehearsing every Friday.  We also played in a Children for Wales charity concert, in assemblies and at the Cardiff Sixth Form College Talent Show which is held at the Millennium Theatre – a professional theatre and home to Welsh National Opera.

I also joined the debating team and medical ethics society and was shortlisted in a national competition for Flash Fiction essay writing.  I was President of the Photography Club where we went on photo walks around Cardiff and showed documentaries on famous photographers such as Albert Watson for the other students.  I was a member of the Art Club and sketch a lot in my spare time and have ambitions to do a Masters in Music, inspired by my cello teacher in Hong Kong, who is a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

For me, learning is for personal enrichment and should not just be focused on developing a career as so many things can change and you never know when opportunities arise where you can put your interests into good use. I am an inherently curious person, and I believe that every moment in life is a lesson for us to learn how to be a better person.

During lockdown I have been playing lots of cello and have decided to do my second diploma.  I have also been reading a lot about democracy and politics, world religions such as Hinduism and Islam inspired by my friend Shakir from Pakistan whom I met at Cardiff and with whom I explored Sufi poetry.  I am now taking photos of Hong Kong instead of Cardiff and planning on making a website and a short film with my neighbour as this third wave has meant we all need to try harder to stay home.

However, I am looking forward to the next stage in my career and hopefully joining Hong Kong University or the Chinese University of Hong Kong in September.