Journals from Hong Kong Baptist University
2011-10-30 The Aspects on Education and Life in Hong Kong
Studying abroad is living on an upside-down bell curve. In the beginning, everyone get excited about the new place, new culture, new school along with groups of new friends from all over the world. Then, things get off of their usual routines and become generally chaotic. Gradually, people recover from burn out and fatigue from all the excitements in the beginning and get used to new routines. Likewise, I have been trying hard to adjust to the lifestyle in Hong Kong and, more important, get ready for my mid-term tests. The education system is quite different from the one in the States. At Linfield, students are engaging in an ongoing learning process combined with regular in-class assignment, homework, quizzes and tests. In contrast, the education system in Hong Kong emphasizes more on a one-time test, which indicates that a large percentage of the final grade depends on the performance of mid-term and final exams. In addition, students usually do not have that much homework outside of the classes where mostly everyone has abundant time to explore and expand their personal interests such as sports and traveling (especially for exchange students). Groups of the exchanges have already traveled to the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Korea and different provinces in Mainland China. It is amazing how students can travel around during the regular school terms and I believe it is a wonderful way to balance out academic life and hands-on exploration in nature. On the other hand, it is quite challenging to keep on track at school, since there is minimum amount of homework and self-assessments, and it gives us a lot of pressure on one-time test and project. Yet it is about cultivating a sense of self-discipline and determination, and we have to learn how to manage and organize our living routines when school leaves us enough time to do so. For instance, I met one day with a local student who studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a senior this year and only twenty-three years old, but he already owns three companies in Hong Kong and lives on his own. He told me that the education system leaves students freedom to manage their spare time and it is sink or swim. Students have to learn how to use the time well to expand interests, explore career options and develop future life plans while maintaining good standing at school. In other words, I suppose the balance between school and spare time lies on the art of living: education and school are two inseparable parts of life because life is an ongoing school and education.