Tips for a Fulfilling Student Life
By Kwai Wan Charmaine CHU
Studying abroad for the first time can be challenging at the beginning, especially when you are new to the city and barely know anyone. I studied very hard during my undergraduate degree, and I always felt like I’d missed out on much fun. I always turned down my friends’ invites to places just to study, LOL! 3 years later, I returned to being a full-time student, and I’m always grateful for the second opportunity to experience student life all over again, although the experience was slightly out of my expectations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. Sign up for a part-time job or volunteer on campus
I took several part-time jobs on campus. I worked as a Research Assistant, administrative student helper and usher for a few campus events. The hourly pay is at a minimum rate of $48 to $60, depending on the roles. The hourly rate is normally stated in the job description.
International students are only allowed to work not more than 17 hours per week according to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. We need to submit a copy of our Non-Objection Letter (NOL) given by the Hong Kong Immigration Department to the relevant HKBU units each time we apply for a part-time job. To apply for a part-time job on campus, you may visit https://buhub.hkbu.edu.hk/s/jobs.
Besides, I also signed up for a Volunteering Under Pandemic Series 2022 where I get to engage and interact with the primary school kids and the elderly in Hong Kong. The aim of this programme is to equip participants with a positive mindset and reduce their anxiety levels caused by the pandemic. I enjoyed the sessions a lot as I got to interact with many international and local students during our weekly meetings and preparations. It allows me to further understand the culture and lifestyles of Hong Kong, something I couldn’t learn from the course materials and lecture slides notes.
2. Join the association of your home country
Being in a foreign country as an international student, I’m sure many of us miss our interaction and communication with our friends and family back home, especially the language and food. I come from Malaysia, so I am currently a member of two Malaysian associations in Hong Kong: one is specifically for students, and another one is for all the Malaysians in Hong Kong. We organise weekly hiking activities, dragon boat training in Stanley, badminton sessions, and drinking and dining sessions. I get to speak Malaysian Chinese (my mother tongue) and Malaysian English in these activities, it makes Hong Kong feel more like “Home Kong” for me, honestly.
3. Let’s go hiking!
Back in Malaysia, I didn’t hike a lot. However, I have done a lot of hiking in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has numerous scenic spots that you shouldn’t miss out on! The ideal period to hike is during the Autumn and Spring and the weather is pleasant around these times. For beginners, I would highly recommend a few easy routes that have beautiful views: Dragon’s Back, Victoria Peak, Cape D’Aguilar, Red Incense Burner Summit, and Brick’s Hill (Nam Long Shan). Transportation is extremely convenient in Hong Kong, so you can get to all these places without any hassle.
4. Join student competitions, conferences, seminars, and networking events
My 3 years of work experience taught me that doing well in studies and daily tasks may not be sufficient to excel in our future career. Having good soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and people skills are extremely crucial. I can be pretty shy, reserved, and conservative sometimes. Oh, and I overthink a lot too, something I am slowly working on these days. I always admire people who are outspoken. So, in order to step out of my comfort zone, I joined a few seminars and they were eye-opening experiences for me as I got to understand the current updates and practices in the world and industries, and the potentials and threats in the future. Besides, I also got to meet new friends and like-minded individuals.
It’s completely fine if you don’t win in the student competitions or if you notice your lack of knowledge and skill sets at the conferences and networking events: it’s a great achievement as long as you’ve learned something.
Besides all these activities, there are also a lot of museums and art galleries in Hong Kong, especially during the summer. Moreover, there are also promenades in Hong Kong that you can check out for relaxing evening walks. It’s important to do well in your studies but do also spare some time for leisure and fun activities to give yourself a fulfilling university life. After all, a 1-year taught postgraduate studies isn’t long after deducting the winter and summer breaks.