Reaching Out Award
Recipients in the 2021/22 Academic Year
Kong Ho Yu
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Journalism and Mass Communication
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
I am Coco Kong Ho Yu, a year 4 student majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. At the time of writing this report, I had completed my bachelor’s degree with graduation set for November 2022. The last four years have whizzed by without me realising it, but the memories of the exchange programme will stick with me as one of the highlights of my university days.
I am so happy to be awarded the Reaching Out Award, and I am thankful to the Committee on Self-financing Post-secondary Education for this honour. I was not born into a rich family. Although my divorced mother does not have much in the way of money, she always tries to give me the best of everything. When she knew that I wanted to join the exchange programme, she gave me the go-ahead and told me not to worry about money. The prize that comes with this award will help cover some of the expenses during the exchange programme. It is a great financial relief for me and my family, and for that the Committee will have my unreserved gratitude.
The outreaching activity, organised by the Hong Kong Shue Yan University, involved a one-semester exchange programme (from 17 January to 5 June 2022) at the Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden. Registered as a full-time student, I took 4 courses, including Event and Project Management, Swedish for International Student, Sweden: History and Politics and Media, Culture and Society, comprising 12 credits (i.e. 30 ECTS) in total.
I learnt a great deal and gained varied experiences from the courses. My favourite course was Event and Project Management. We were taught not only theories but also practical knowledge. Many teachers and experts were invited to share with us their experience in event management, so there was never a dull moment. We were instructed to form groups and plan an event. Even though it was not for real, we had to discuss, often in excruciating details, every aspect of the plan, including the budget, schedule and logistics, and present our plan in class. It was an interesting experience since I had never done anything like this before, and I had a lot of fun working with people from different countries. We came up with a music workshop called “Tune-Con” to promote music culture among teenagers. The teacher liked our idea and gave us an A. I like the way they teach there. Instead of a series of instructions, they gave us space to do what we want, and were very forthcoming with suggestions and answers to our questions. In addition, I studied media theories and learnt about the power of media in shaping the world around us through the Media, Culture and Society course. Media culture and characteristics differ among countries. It is important to ensure that media, as influential as they are, are not being misused in order to counter the impacts of hate speech and misinformation (fake news). As I have always wanted to work in media or event management, the knowledge I gained from these courses will be immensely useful in my future career.
Studying aside, I also made a lot of friends from countries like the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Poland, etc. It was one of the most rewarding experiences during the exchange programme. Not in my wildest dreams would I expect to make some truly great friends when there were seemingly insurmountable language and cultural barriers between us. But as it turned out, I was overthinking it. I was lucky to have met these wonderful people in Sweden and learn about their cultures and fun facts of their countries. It saddened me when the time to leave finally came because I knew it would not be easy to see them again. Nevertheless, we promised each other to do so one day. The exchange programme also improved my fluency in English conversations. I do not get to speak English much in Hong Kong, but it was the only language I could use to communicate with my friends when I was in Sweden. Practice does make perfect. Now I am not afraid of speaking English anymore.
I have learnt to be more independent by the end of the programme, too. During my stay in Sweden, I lived alone in an apartment for the first time. It was a challenge because I did not know how to cook, and I abhorred cleaning and doing house chores. Slowly but surely, I learnt to cook because I did not want to waste money on eating out. My friends loved the dishes I prepared for them, which came as a surprise as I had no idea that they had an affinity for Chinese cuisine. I also taught them how to use chopsticks, and it was uplifting to be able to share my culture with others. I got into the habit of cleaning and tidying up my room every week. My family will be so proud of me once they learn of my transformation. I am now self-reliant, and will not be counting on their help at every turn.
All in all, this trip was a rewarding experience. I gained not only knowledge but also a group of true friends. It will be one of the most unforgettable and precious experiences in my life and I will never forget it. I am thankful for having the chance to go abroad and explore the world. Once again I would like to extend my deep thanks to the Committee on Self-financing Post-secondary Education for giving me the Reaching Out Award. I believe that I have become a better person, someone who stands ready to contribute to society.
Last Review Date: 31/10/2022