The University of Hong Kong held its first HKU Entrance Scholarships Award Ceremony on March 6 (Monday) to recognise outstanding academic and non-academic achievements of students admitted to the University in the 2022-23 academic year.
This year, about 200 students admitted from Hong Kong and over 30 countries or regions were awarded, with a total scholarship amount of nearly HK$60,000,000 contributed by donors, the HKSAR government and the University.
Acting President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU Professor Richard Wong officiated at the Ceremony. He said: “HKU is committed to building a learning environment for students from Hong Kong and abroad and unlocking the potential of each person who comes to our campus. To support our students, we provide a range of resources to help them to achieve their aspirations. Not only scholarships, but awards for leadership, contribution to society, and efforts towards breakthrough academic endeavours. “
The students awarded have excelled in a variety of fields. They included 40 President’s Scholars. Other scholarships awarded include the “HKDSE Top 1% Scholarships”, for students who have achieved excellent results in the HKDSE Examination; the ‘Jardine HKU Scholarship’, which aims to provide local students with leadership potential who have financial constraints with the opportunity to pursue higher education; and the ‘Non-Academic Talents Scholarship’, which recognises students with outstanding achievements in non-academic fields.
In addition to expressing their happiness at receiving the scholarships, the awardees are also looking forward to their university life and future career endeavours. Two of the student awardees from the Faculty of Law shared their stories and plans below.
Ash Lo Yan Ting – BSS(GL)&LLB
Ash is one of the receipts of the Jardine HKU Scholarship (HK$90,000), and she undertakes a double degree of both Bachelor of Social Sciences (Government and Laws) and Bachelor of Laws. As someone who grew up in a family with modest means, Ash firmly believes that the pursuit of knowledge may alter one’s fortune in life, and that only through the dissolution of intergenerational poverty could society achieve justice.
Ash and her family spent their entire life sharing a cramped living space, where she conducted all her studies routine on her bed. In a knowledge-based society such as contemporary Hong Kong, underprivileged households often lack resources and means for children to access extra learning materials, facilities, and tutorials, all of which demand huge expenses. Without proper support for their education, these students grew up lacking a competitive edge to hunt for better job opportunities compared to their more privileged peers, resulting in a vicious circle of intergenerational poverty that Ash believes only the collective effort of society and government policies could tackle.
“Only through studying can our livelihood change for the better in a knowledge-based society such as Hong Kong,” said Ash. With exceeding determination, perseverance, and an enduring optimism, Ash’s effort was not in vain, for she had achieved her long-aspired goal of enrolling in The University of Hong Kong.
The Jardine HKU Scholarship subsidises Ash’s studies for a total of $90,000, some of which she allocated for her overseas semester exchange in the future as she hopes to further her knowledge, broaden her horizon and experience life in a different place. Meanwhile, by studying law, Ash is hoping to help children suffering from intergenerational poverty like herself with the professional knowledge and insights she gained throughout her studies. After graduation, she is planning to work in non-governmental organisations because she believes that would situate her in a better spot to help out the need, particularly those who share her plight.
In the face of an arduous and highly stressful pre-DSE environment, Ash shares with us her personal de-stress techniques. Apart from playing computer games occasionally with her classmates, Ash has established her own blog where she lets her imagination run free and posts her writings there. “I forget my worries when I write, and through writing I connect with people of similar interests, in which we are able to talk heart-to-heart about our shared passions.”
Erica Wong Yu Ting – LLB
Erica is a first-year law student and a receipt of the Lee Shau Kee Scholarship. She has been very interested in the studies of law fairly early on as she believes there is an intricate relationship between laws and everyday life.
Ever since she became a law student, she learned to identify the characteristics of a good law, through which she can contemplate different angles the moral grounds embedded in the legislation and explore new principles of everyday life. “Although I have always thought laws are unchangeable, fixed regulations when I was young, now I came to realise how they renew themselves with the development of society,” said Erica.
Erica completed her high school at the Cardiff Sixth Form College in the United Kingdom, where she passed the GCE A-level exam with flying colours and received A* in all five of her subjects. She was given admission offers from the Faculty of Law of both a local university in the UK and the University of Hong Kong, in which she ultimately chose to study in the latter.
As to the reason why Erica decided to study in HKU, she explained, “Even though both Britain and Hong Kong adopted the legislation system of Common Laws, there are still regional differences when it comes to legal regulations. It is a meandering and exhaustive process for a British law degree holder to self-study Hong Kong laws and complete the conversion test should they wish to enter the legal field in Hong Kong.” Meanwhile, the Lee Shau Kee scholarship is also a huge incentive that drew her to pursue her studies in HKU. The scholarship is a reward as much as it is an acknowledgement of her academic excellence, to which she expresses massive gratitude.
Naturally outgoing and optimistic, Erica is fond of meeting new people. She volunteered in Cambodia while she was still in secondary school. Her voluntary experience encompassed planting trees, digging up new wells, erecting toilets and so on. Certainly, it was all tough work, but the fact that what she was doing contributed to the betterment of the local neighborhood filled her with joy and contentment. She hoped that her own voluntary experience could encourage others to follow suit. “Since we are still young and free, I think we should just go for our goals once we have made up our minds, I don’t want to live a life of regrets after all.”
During the first half year of her studies as a law student, Erica has seized various learning opportunities to enrich her student life, such as participating in a moot court regarding contract laws, and taking part in the Civil Appeal Experimental Programme to learn from working lawyers and to gain further insights as to how a proper court functions. She has also joined a 4-year leadership training programme in hopes of making new friends from various faculties, and has applied to be part of The Outreach Legal Talks Initiative (“OUTLET”), which is a self-initiated project by students of law to promote free legal talks and activities for minorities. All in all, Erica enjoys her university life immensely, and is happy to be a student leader of HKU.