Year abroad in Leeds inspires President’s Scholar
Being the fifth President’s Scholar who was sent to University of Leeds in the UK for a full-year study in 2016/17, Ng Yeuk-nam found herself a much different person from she was before leaving Hong Kong. She had experienced, in her words, “fundamental change” between the first and second semesters.
Academically, it was during her time at Leeds that Yeuk-nam narrowed down her research interest from “children and youth studies” to the transition experience of adolescents and young adults, and did her first research proposal with the suggestions and guidance offered by passionate and experienced Social Science faculty staff. Originally a reticent student who seldom spoke up in class, Yeuk-nam was encouraged by the learning culture and atmosphere at Leeds to seize every opportunity to raise questions and share ideas with teachers or schoolmates. Even though the uncertainty about her own abilities to study at a renowned UK university caused enormous pressure, she was able to overcome it through active self-learning outside the classroom. Today, she is more motivated and independent as a student.
Another challenge that besets Yeuk-nam’s life abroad was the cultural difference and social integration issue. In one extreme case, she even received discriminatory messages from certain local residents she met in the market. Yet, by exploring the local culture in an open-minded way, she was able to gain new cultural perspectives and learn to appreciate the differences among peoples. Having experienced discrimination first-hand, she was also inspired to reflect on how to engage minorities in society. Upon her return to Lingnan, therefore, she became more active in meeting international students, and even thought of devising schemes of action to build more cordial relationships between local and foreign students.
It has become Yeuk-nam’s long-term aspiration to work in organisations that are involved in tailor-making of policies to alleviate social inequalities. The liberal arts education at Lingnan University, coupled with the enlightening year of exchange at University of Leeds, shall provide the flight deck from which Yeuk-nam can ascend toward her goals.