Students from Hong Kong University are able to apply for the PKP – University of Hong Kong scholarship for the Pembroke-King’s Programme. One of the recipients of the scholarship for the 2016 PKP was Cindy Cham. Cindy, a hearing and speech science student back at HKU spoke to us about her time on PKP.
Why did you apply to PKP?
Applying for PKP was an attempt to push myself past my comfort zone. It’s the first time I have left my family in Hong Kong. Plus, to be able to come to Cambridge which is such a prestigious university, and to experience what it would like to be a student at Cambridge is amazing. Even though it is only for two months all sorts of things like attending lectures and studying, the formal dinners are all authentic Cambridge experiences. Then the other aspects like joining in all the different activities run by the Programme Assistants (PAs) and going to the plenaries and the global scholars lectures, all these things can broaden my horizons and expand my world view.
What courses are you taking?
The Psychology of Language, and The Behavioural Ecology of Animals and Humans, plus the supervision which is a requirement of the scholarship. I am not transferring my credit which is great because it means that I can learn without worrying about the grades. Although the psychology of language module is related to my degree the reading list often guides me to think about materials outside of my discipline. behavioural ecology isn’t related but it’s so interesting and I’m enjoying learning something new. I’ve found that the lecturers really engage with us and always welcome any questions.
How have you found the supervision?
The supervision is quite manageable. It is a long dissertation and book review. I like the style of one-to-one teaching and it means that I can explore a topic I am interested in. It also is great for giving me a sense of what graduate study is like.
As a scholar, you are eligible to attend the Global Scholars seminars. How have you found those?
When I listen to the views of the lecturers at the Global Scholar seminars or the Plenary lectures, I realise how important it is to pay attention to what is going on in the world. I think that the fact that PKP hold them reflects PKP’s emphasis on the importance of developing your own point of view and being able to articulate your view because you have the opportunity to listen to the views of the scholars, then digest them and go on to discuss them.
What have been your favourite things about PKP?
One of the most precious things that PKP has offered us is the multicultural nature of it. I get to talk to a lot of people from very different backgrounds. I can talk about majors and backgrounds, the things we are passionate about, even books we have read. I see this as a very valuable feature as we do not have exchange students on my course at HKU so this programme is the perfect chance for me to get to know people from other countries. Also, my supervisor and my supervision project; my supervisor gives me a lot of helpful feedback and it is a very fulfilling to keep revising the project to get it right. I would also like to give a huge thanks to all the PAs for organising so many amazing things for us. If you take the initiative to join the activities they run, you get to experience a lot of British culture and those activities enhance our time here.
What will you take away from the experience?
Will take away the courage to push myself, I don’t usually want to try new things and I am quite shy, but it is good to try new things otherwise you’ll never find what you do and don’t like doing. I saw a thing online that said “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” PKP is my thing for the first time and I have had a lot of growth because of it.
Any advice for next year’s applicants?
Pick courses outside of your discipline, it is so eye opening!