Hong Kong Polytechnic University
On the morning of Thursday 28th March 2019, I visited the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This university, opened on its current site in 1965 in its original carnation as the Hong Kong Technical College. It became a university in 1994 and is situated in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong’s Kowloon district. Boasting an impressively housed Design school, as well as its own 5 star hotel, PolyU is an impressive university. Students benefit from two years guaranteed accommodation 10 minutes walk from campus. In these halls generally two or three students share one room. There is a Swimming pool and Sports Centre on site.
During my tour of the Hong Kong Universities it was the only one that organized time for me to visit three different departments in the space of the morning. Like the other universities I visited this is a campus university with students housed in halls of residence within walking distance of the main academic buildings. I was first taken to see the Department of Humanities, The Design School and The School of Hotel Management. Like other universities in Hong Kong, students apply to specific programs and admission decisions are made at the program level by professors teaching the courses that students apply to.
During my tour of the Humanities Department I was shown the work of their linguistics laboratory where research is focused on understanding the processing and development of language in the Human Brain. Personally it was really interesting to see how the study of language and biology interact and gave me some new insights to bring back to my classroom. The faculty delivering the courses in communication were keen to stress the relevance of their degrees. Many of their graduates go on to work as interpreters and communications specialists. Two thirds of court interpreters in Hong Kong, for example, graduate from their programs. Students get exposure to hands on visual and verbal translation and they aim to produce students who are trilingual in Cantonese, English and Mandarin. The Design school covers a whole suit of programs from photography and digital media, through to interior and environmental design. A tour round the school which also houses an exhibition space, give a good insight into all main areas of Design and is truly a world class facility. Finally the Hotel School is attached to Hong Kong’s 5* Hotel Icon which is owned in full by HK PolyU and offers the leading Hotel Management courses in Asia.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
My final visit of the week was to HKUST. This is another campus university but unlike the others it is located in Clear Water Bay in the east of the city. It does not have an MTR line and is connected to the nearest station Hang Hau by a 10 minute taxi or bus ride. It’s lack of connectivity to the city can be definitely seen as a plus. Surrounded by beautiful green hills and with commanding views over the bay, the campus feels very much like you are out of the city. Living here students can be cloistered away in their own community but are able to dive into the city relatively easily for the day if they wish. HKUST has four schools: Science, Engineering, Business; and Social Sciences. The Interdisciplinary Programs office allows students to study courses from different schools should they wish. Once again students apply directly to programs for admission, although HKUST allows students to apply to a school if they are undecided on exactly what program they wish to take. In this way HKUST, offers a combination of specialization or flexibility of study, different routes that will appeal to different students. All students take a Common Core of 36 credits that allow them to develop their Professional and general knowledge in other areas. HKUST also operates a undergraduate research opportunities program, UROP, which gives students access to international networking and conferences. HKUST stressed that they are results orientated in their applications and IBDP students should be looking to score 38+ points.