College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Students Embark on a New Learning Journey in New York City

Every year, students are welcomed to enroll for the Joint Bachelor's Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University to gain an international undergraduate educational experience. This year, four undergraduates of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) have been admitted to this program. They are excited to embrace a brand new learning experience at Columbia University in the US this fall.

Photo 1: Katherine had studied German language in Germany and discovered her interest in analysing languages along the acquisition process.

Katherine CHANG Ching-man is the first Linguistics and Language Applications student admitted to the Joint Bachelor's Degree Program. Interested in corpus linguistics and language documentation, Katherine thinks that the program is a compelling opportunity for her to have immediate observations of distinctive linguistic landscape and cultural background. “New York City is also an ideal research site for urban fieldwork as the linguistic capital of indigenous and minority languages spoken by immigrants,” she adds. Katherine hopes the undergraduate years at Columbia University could nurture more research ideas for her. 

Photo 2: Patrick thinks a future legislator must explore more around the world to rethink the strengths and edges of a city’s politics and public policy.

Patrick KWOK King-on is another CLASS student who has been admitted to this program. As a Public Policy and Politics student, he has always aspired to contribute to the society by being a legislative councilor. He recalls, “Since primary four, I have been attracted by politics to think of what I can do to help the city and the people. Not only that I am curious about what is happening [in this city], but also about how things should happen.” He is concerned about the social issues emerged in recent years in Hong Kong. In view of the political instability and citizens’ loss of confidence in the government these days, Patrick wishes the study experience in Columbia University can bring him insights of how political communication can contribute to find a new pathway for Hong Kong. 

Just like Patrick, Psychology student WANG Ruijue also desires to gain international exposure and professional knowledge through enrolling for this program. Ruijue comes from a small city in Mainland China, she realises the inadequate opportunities of relevant discussion and study in her hometown in regard of mental health. “For me, a girl who comes from a small city, it is an invaluable opportunity to be deeply involved in two metropolises in the East and West. It’s not just about studying academically at two schools, it’s also about how to survive in a big city, how to embrace an ever-changing world, and how to become a true global citizen,” Ruijue says.  

Photo 3: Ruijue has always been passionate about books and bookstores, she can't wait to explore different interesting bookstores in New York City.

When being asked about the reasons they stand out from other applicants of the program, both Katherine and Ruijue think that it is important to show people their uniqueness, strengths and personal attributes. It is essential to compile and consolidate the past learning activities and experiences in an orderly manner, and study the personal statement carefully because the interview questions are mainly based on it. Ruijue is also thankful for the rich resources and diversified extracurricular activities provided by CityU and CLASS, including research experiences and community services, which facilitate her holistic personal development. Patrick thinks the key to success in the admission interview is to “be yourself”. Therefore, the vital part of the preparation is to have a self-reflection on one’s aspiration and research interests, and have a clear self-understanding on the purpose of joining the program.

Getting prepared to stay in a foreign country and live a totally different life, the students look forward to beginning their adventures. Katherine has already decided to study some computer science courses at Columbia University in order to apply her coding knowledge to optimise corpus design. Apart from further exploring their academic interests, Ruijue and Patrick also expect to have cultural exchange with their classmates and community there. “I look forward to sharing my experiences in Hong Kong, especially our recent political and social situations, with my Columbia classmates so that they will be more familiar with what is happening in our city,” Patrick says.

As the epidemic situation gradually came under control around the world, it is believed that these CLASS students are going to have more opportunities of interaction and hands-on activities. The two-year study in Columbia University will definitely bring life-changing impact to them. Let’s wish them a fruitful university life ahead and stay tuned to their sharing on their campus life in Columbia University.