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Study abroad? Hong Kong University of Science and Technology opens doors to Filipinos

Rappler.com
Study abroad? Hong Kong University of Science and Technology opens doors to Filipinos

HKUST's beautiful campus is located by the sea, at Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong.

Photos courtesy by HKUST

Filipino HKUST students and graduates shared their experiences

Editor’s note: This press release is sponsored by HKUST and was handled by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the publishing of this piece.

One of the COVID-19 related problems that have affected the Filipino youth is the prolonged suspension of the face-to-face classes. With the Philippines being among the last countries in the world to reopen schools, students on all levels have not been able to make the most out of their programs.

An option closer to our shores is now available to get students back on track. A number of higher educational institutions in Hong Kong have resumed full face-to-face classes or adopted effective mixed-mode teaching in the current academic year, where The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is one of the first to make such an arrangement.

Neil Sy, a Xavier School San Juan alumnus who is now studying Global Business (GBUS) and Finance program at HKUST, said he experienced little disruption to his study even within the early months of the pandemic.

“HKUST was a first-mover to the online space. Though the pandemic struck at the beginning of 2020, we were smoothly onboarded into full-time interactive online classes in February, consulting with professors and using breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions,” said Neil, now in his third year of study.

“Many enrichment events such as case competitions and internship programs remained uninterrupted during the pandemic – not to mention that we’re now back to physical education. I have learned even more from my driven peers and other professionals in banking, finance, and other industries at HKUST.”

REWARDING INTERNSHIP. Neil interned with the Innovation & Business Entrepreneurship team at Vitasoy International, a leading F&B cooperation in Hong Kong.

“In particular, my internship experience in branding, corporate finance, and corporate sustainability at Vitasoy has helped sharpen my business acumen and analytical skills,” he added.

As a business student, Neil came to study in Hong Kong because of the city’s leading position as a global financial center, and he chose HKUST among other local options for its global rankings, prestige, and the international reputation of its graduates. 

“The GBUS program is highly sought-after in Hong Kong—its graduates work in top banking and finance firms such as Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and J.P. Morgan, as well as diverse industries spanning consulting, retail, marketing, and communications,” Neil continued.

For nine straight years starting in 2013, HKUST graduates have been consistently ranked between 10th and 26th spots among the world’s most employable by the Global Employability University Ranking and Survey, commissioned by the Times Higher Education.

A young and international university

Having recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, HKUST has risen to international prominence in a relatively short period of time. Claiming 34th in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and 2nd in the QS Top 50 Under 50 2021, the University gains global recognition and attracts a high proportion of international undergraduate students for its teaching and research reputation.

Offering its students valuable opportunities for internships, study exchanges, and research collaborations, HKUST is in close ties with over 310 regional and global partners including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Tsinghua University, Facebook, Tencent, and many more.

While HKUST provides quality education on par or even better than many of its Western counterparts, its tuition fee is only around half of those in universities of comparable rankings.

On top of that, HKUST will grant, for the first time ever, 20 full and half-scholarships to high-caliber candidates from selected Asian countries including the Philippines for the 2022-2023 academic year. Valuing talent beyond just the good academic standing, the University also offers a range of scholarships, support, and funding to students with great ideas and non-academic achievements.

Interdisciplinary learning for future societal needs

Clyde Ang, a top student from Manila who came to study on a scholarship at HKUST four years ago, recently graduated with first class honors and an HKUST Academic Achievement Medal with a double major in Data Science & Technology and Computer Science. He said that one of the reasons that drew him to Hong Kong was its world-class cross-disciplinary education. 

“I believe a man of many talents will become a general demand in the future. This is one of the reasons I chose HKUST, as it is a pioneer in interdisciplinary learning,” he said. “Taking courses in mathematics and computer science on a degree co-offered by the Science School and Engineering School, for example, has helped land me a job in mathematical finance and technology.”

Clyde is now a quantitative trader at a global proprietary trading firm on a return offer from his internship.

ROBOTICS TEAM. Clyde (third left) and his peers won awards at the MATE International ROV Competition 2019 for a remotely operated underwater vehicle they developed.

HKUST offers many unique programs and initiatives in promoting interdisciplinary education. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), for example, offers junior students an early taste in research under the guidance of senior faculty members. “Major + X” framework, on the other hand, allows students to flexibly combine a science or engineering major with an extended major in an emerging field such as artificial intelligence, fintech, or digital media and arts. Additionally, the Individualized Interdisciplinary Major (IIM) program offers students the freedom to design their own curriculum with courses from different departments and even different universities.

A foundation for excellence and innovation

Over 140 faculty, or a quarter of its faculty at HKUST, were rated by Stanford University as the world’s top 2% scientists in 2021. Prof. Yeung King-Lun, a De La Salle University alumnus and one of the HKUST’s acclaimed faculty, developed an award-winning antimicrobial coating – one of the earliest protections offered against the coronavirus for a prolonged period. The technology kept the athletes safe from the virus in the Tokyo Olympics and is now being adopted in different parts of the world including Southeast Asia.

A Filipino professor, Laurence Delina, who is also a 2019 and 2020 Balik Scientist Award winner, has been researching just, resilient, and sustainable energy transitions in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines.

With a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, HKUST sees the incubation of about 70 to 80 start-up companies by its students, faculty, and alumni every year. In a recent list of the unicorn startups published by Hong Kong X Foundation and CGTN this year, seven out of the 18 unicorns were founded or co-founded by HKUST members. 

The opening of a new chapter

When HKUST’s new campus in Nansha, Guangzhou opens in September 2022, the resources and opportunities available to the HKUST community will grow further. With its one-of-a-kind curriculum, the campus will not only set an example and complement the traditional disciplines offered at the Hong Kong campus, but its proximity to a planned high-tech park will also ease the HKUST members in prototyping their ideas.

RESEARCH HAVEN. During her time at HKUST, Joy (right) has participated in many regional and international conferences that benefitted her research career.

Joy Cruz is one of the pioneer students admitted to the HKUST(GZ) Pilot Scheme. Now a third-year PhD candidate in Public Policy, she said that the breadth and depth of research faculty expertise help cultivate independent, interdisciplinary, and innovative thinking that is essential for a successful research career.

“The program allows you to design the curriculum that fits your own research interests – science, sustainability, social changes – all specializations touch on important areas of public policy. It gives you the opportunity to play to your strengths and level up,” Joy said.

Having participated in national surveys on social issues like aging and social inequalities in the Philippines, Joy is eager to adopt some of the new research tools she learned in Hong Kong on new survey projects to improve the understanding of demographic and social developments in other parts of Asia.

To learn more about the study opportunities and experiences at HKUST, register for the information session on January 11, 2022 and get the chance to chat with their professors and students. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If you miss the session, learn more about HKUST’s programs and admission information in this video:

– Rappler.com