Hong Kong UniversityBy Asian Correspondent Feb 09, 2012 4:55PM UTC
As universities in Asia go, none surpass Hong Kong University, the most prestigious in the region. As one of the most rapidly developing economic and financial centers in the world, Hong Kong has become an attractive destination for professionals and students alike. Opportunities are abundant in the city, where Western living standards complement attractive economic benefits. The University of Hong Kong opened in 1911, making it a fairly young university. Yet in the 100 years since the first classes were held, the school has earned quite the reputation for being academically rich and rigorous.
Because of its ideal location, Hong Kong University is in a unique position to provide access to growing professional markets in which international affairs students are interested. The Times Higher Education report named the School of Social Sciences at HKU as the best in Asia, and with good reason.
HKU’s two degree programs in international business and global management (IBGM), and a double-degree in government and laws, have proven a great draw for students from Asia and abroad. Both are interdisciplinary degrees, with crossovers in different but complementary fields.
The IBGM courses are taught by the faculty from both the Business and Economics and the Social Science departments. The goal is to provide students with a strong background in business within political and cultural contexts. The course includes an overseas exchange component, an international internship experience, and a global analysis team project through which HKU students collaborate with overseas student partners. This is an extremely competitive program, but those who gain admission will be met with great opportunities. HKU can help them participate in study exchange programs at some of the top business schools in the world.
The social sciences component of HKU’s international studies programs is rooted in the faculty’s commitment to the betterment of society, and to making a contribution to society at large. HKU students are imbued with this mission, and may receive the kind of education that prepares one for commercial and professional success but also instills in them a social conscience.
Career prospects for international studies graduates of HKU include positions in politics and public administration, psychology, sociology, and law. The economics and social consciousness aspects of the program make them more well-rounded candidates for jobs that require a global mindset and international experience. Postgraduate degree programs are a top priority at the school, with 50 percent of the student body enrolled in these programs. This is a testament to the strength of the advanced education programs at the University of Hong Kong.
The majority of postgraduate students at HKU come from overseas, and courses and communication are presented primarily in English, so those who fear the language barrier as a potential drawback need not be concerned.
HKU social sciences faculty have created humanitarian work opportunities for students who wish to engage on civil issues facing Burma and Northern Thailand. Summer camp training sessions give students insight into conflicts along the Thai-Burma border, as well as in Cambodia and Laos.
The university has also been recognized as a leader in policy analysis and research on global issues from the perspective of Hong Kong and mainland China. In particular, the school’s study of cities in mainland China are providing valuable insight on urban development to the rest of the world.
Additionally, HKU has received recognition for its studies on environmental issues, which have been discussed widely on mainland China as well. In fact, the school’s Kadoorie Institute, which is focused on sustainability issues, has been recognized for its efforts toward influencing public policy on environmental issues.
Because of its position at the crossroads of Western culture and Eastern economics and thought, HKU provides unique opportunities that will not be found elsewhere.
In keeping with its commitment to international engagement, HKU facilitates study abroad partnerships and opportunities from which students can benefit. These include: the option for psychology majors to spend a year studying at Oxford, and for students of politics, public administration and law to study at Oxford for a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. Full scholarships are available to students who choose to take advantage of these programs.
HKU also maintains strong ties to 300 international universities, which means students from all disciplines have access to resources all over the world and can study abroad at their choice from many other institutes of higher learning.