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These Singaporeans open new doors through overseas education

Mr Marcus Tong, 23 (left), aspires to be an aviation engineer and Mr Joshua Tan, 24 (right), has his heart set on a career in hospitality.
Mr Marcus Tong, 23 (left), aspires to be an aviation engineer and Mr Joshua Tan, 24 (right), has his heart set on a career in hospitality. PHOTOS: LEM WYE HONG, JOSHUA TAN

Opting for a higher education at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University is both close to home yet beneficial for those who aspire to build their careers in Asia

One aspires to be an aviation engineer, while the other has his heart set on a career in hospitality.

Both Mr Marcus Tong, 23 and Mr Joshua Tan, 24, understand that getting a quality education at a reputable university is the first step to achieving their respective dreams.

Their choice to enrol in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong is also based on the city’s proximity to their homeland in Singapore, as well as China where opportunities are abundant in the area of their interests.


Located in Hong Kong, PolyU is close to Singapore, as well as China where opportunities are abundant. PHOTO: THE HONG KONG POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

Abundant opportunities

Mr Tong, who is currently in his second year of the bachelor of engineering (honours) in aviation engineering programme, believes that investments by the China and Hong Kong region in the aviation sector, coupled with PolyU’s vision of being a leading aeronautical and aviation engineering division in education and research, will give him an edge in advancing in his chosen field.

Says Dr L.T. Hsu, programme lead: “The global aviation industry is growing at a rapid pace. Asia, especially China, is the key contributor and stakeholder in this growth. Different forecast reports worldwide have expressed concern for the serious shortage of pilots and engineers.” The launch of the aviation engineering programme in 2016 aims to address the needs of the aviation industry.

As a recipient of the PolyU Entry Scholarship and President of the International Student Association, Mr Tong also feels that the relevance of the university’s English-focused education to Hong Kong and China is ideal.

“Understanding how people from Hong Kong and China work, such as their work ethics, their mindset towards certain issues, and how one should portray themselves as foreigners in the region, are essential skills aside from those learnt in class,” he says.

In addition, Hong Kong’s proximity to China is more likely to offer Mr Tong his desired exposure to more opportunities in the region. He has even considered moving to China to develop his aviation career in future. In the mean time, he hopes to obtain an internship in China first. 


PolyU is one of the top 100 universities in the world, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2020. PHOTO: THE HONG KONG POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

Quality matters

As for Mr Tan, the stellar achievements of PolyU contributed to his decision to move overseas to enrol in the institution. 

PolyU is one of the top 100 universities in the world, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2020. For its hotel and tourism management programme, PolyU is one of the top five institutions in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. It also topped both ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 (three years) and the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) Rankings by Subject 2017.

PolyU is also ideal as he prefers an overseas education that is not too far away from Singapore.


PolyU's School of Hotel & Tourism Management that Mr Tan is part of. PHOTO: THE HONG KONG POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

“I feel that a degree from PolyU will be well-received by the industry in the future. Additionally, the school has a full-fledged five-star hotel that serves as a workplace for the students, as well as a source of realistic hospitality related data,” adds the second-year student in the institution’s School of Hotel & Tourism Management (SHTM) who majors in Tourism and Events Management.

Hotel ICON is the teaching and research hotel owned by PolyU and it is in the same building complex as the SHTM campus at East Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong.


PolyU offers guaranteed internships and overseas exchange programmes with more than 230 exchange partners across 37 countries and regions. PHOTO: THE HONG KONG POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY

The learning experience

PolyU offers guaranteed internships and overseas exchange programmes with more than 230 exchange partners across 37 countries and regions. Its students can also make meaningful contributions to the community as they apply the knowledge and skills acquired from their studies through Service Learning, a mandatory credit-bearing module.

“Not only did I learn many skills and theories on how to develop and manage adolescent children, I also developed a fresh perspective of the people whom I worked with, and of the Chinese,” says Mr Tong, who went to Hangzhou in China to teach English and Health Education to migrant children.

Both also shared that they took subjects such as Global China; Tomorrow’s Leaders; East Asia History and Culture; and Horror in English Literature and Film — part of their Cluster Area Requirements, which allow students to take subjects of their interest.

PolyU also organises talks, seminars and other development programmes to provide all-round learning for its students.


Mr Tong with his coursemates during his Service Learning stint in Hangzhou, China. 
PHOTO: MARCUS TONG

Vibrant campus life

Cultural diversity is the norm of campus life at PolyU, with students hailing from all over the world, as well as interactions with those who come on exchange programmes.

Mr Tong enjoys making new friends from different countries in PolyU. Besides gaining a deeper understanding of their diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences, he realises his interactions with them help him to understand how to work with people of different nationalities and ethnic groups.

PolyU also offers numerous activities to bring its students together and help them lead a more well-rounded life.

For instance, Mr Tan has attended dinner gatherings, sports competitions and cultural nights in the past year. He has also participated in other off-campus activities such as hiking.

So beyond the paper chase, students at PolyU are encouraged to build meaningful friendships, expand their networks and develop a global worldview. And not too far away from home, both Mr Tong and Mr Tan are enjoying this exciting phase of their overseas education, as they make progress towards fulfilling their dreams.

Early round of applications for the next PolyU intake opens from Sept 18 till Nov 29, 2019.

Click here for a full list of undergraduate courses available for international students.

For details on application for admission, click here.

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