This year, we have offered the Master of Public Policy and Management Full Entrance Scholarship Award to two students, Mr Kaewlungka Pakin, Pipo and Ms Tanaoun Jeerawan, Gina. The scholarship covers 100% of the programme’s tuition fee, residential subsidy, and food. Today, we would like to take this chance to share their academic journey with you all. Let’s hear what they say!
Kaewlungka Pakin, Pipo – Master of Public Policy and Management Entrance Scholarship Award
Born and raised in Thailand, Pipo received his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with Second Class Honors at Chiang Mai University. As an undergraduate, he joined the 5th National Political Science and Public Administration Academic Conference On “State and Challenge After New Normal” in Thailand as a Research Presenter. He also received the Academic Excellence Award for two consecutive years, in his sophomore and junior year. After graduating from Chiang Mai University, he had ambitions to pursue further studies and now seeks to apply his knowledge to contribute to society.
From Thailand to Hong Kong: Hold on to every chance
I was interested in politics and policies from the time of my upbringing, as my family used to discuss global issues with me and taught me about politics and policies. When I began to learn more about public policy, I discovered that I am more interested in social issues and policy analytics. I noticed that the Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) at the Education University of Hong Kong could fulfill my interests and provide extensive policy courses, especially in the Asian context. Moreover, the program not only covers the public policy field but also the field of organizational management, including human resources, financial management, and leadership. Students can choose the specific specializations based on their preferences, and I find this to be very satisfying as I continue to explore my own interests and career ambitions.
No Pain No Gain: Always be ready
To be honest, I have faced a few challenges during my studies, since I am not familiar with all relevant topics. Thus, I need to be well prepared for every lecture to avoid falling behind. No pain, no gain. Before classes, I would read more materials and journal articles provided by the lecturers or that I found on my own. In addition, I also appreciate our teachers. They are so specialized and knowledgeable. During the lecture, we are encouraged to discuss and share our opinions to enhance our understanding of the topic. This is a great way to absorb knowledge. I am also very impressed with the extracurricular activities provided by MPPM. MPPM provided an academic workshop before the first semester started. This workshop helped me develop the skills to write an academic paper appropriately and correctly without plagiarism, which is very important for our assignments.
Words to prospective students: “Do not hesitate”
“Do not hesitate”. If you are interested in policy and looking for a good place that provides a comprehensive course of study, the MPPM at EdUHK would be a suitable programme for you. I encourage you to read the course syllabi before the semester and the suggested materials before the lectures, as this will help you be well prepared. Also, start your class assignments as early as possible to reduce the workload and ensure sufficient time to make revisions.
Jeerawan TANAOUN , Gina-Master of Public Policy and Management Entrance Scholarship Award
Gina was born in Thailand and received her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with First Class Honors from Chiang Mai University. In the same year, she participated in two internships that helped her better apply her professional knowledge to deal with problems encountered in her work. After graduation, Gina first worked as an English teacher in a private school for one and a half years. To enrich her international experience and know more about Western culture, she traveled to Europe and worked as an Au pair for two years. Working abroad encouraged Gina to step out of her comfort zone and compelled her to develop a new goal for an academic career.
Never regret: Explore yourself to become a better person.
In developing my professional preparation, I have participated in various research projects to enhance my comprehension of what I have learned through practice. In my junior year, I joined a project entitled Smart Trash Can as a project manager, in which I helped raise awareness about waste separation. In 2019, I joined the YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative programme) at the University of Montana, USA. This program taught me firsthand how the US government deals with national resource issues – from the issuance of policies to the implementation of management. My team was awarded funding to implement our project – known as the Mangrove Ranger project – in Myanmar. This unforgettable experience made me realize that implementing policies is the foundation of social development. At the same time, it also convinced me to continue my academic journey.
I am eager to learn more about public policy and management in order to equip myself to adapt to an ever-changing society. I came across the MPPM program, which provides students with skills training in policy analysis and evaluation, strategic communications, project analysis, public governance, public sector management, and development. The curriculum settings of the MPPM well matched my interests and ambitions. As a research-based department, APS is home to many experts in international relations and public policy. This solid academic atmosphere deeply attracted me. Fortunately, the department offered me a full entrance scholarship, which gave me a great chance to improve my academic and research skills.
The learning style between Hong Kong and Thailand is quite different. In Thailand, we are encouraged to focus more on lectures in our learning. However, in Hong Kong, we need to do more brainstorming, which requires us to think more critically. The teaching methods of the APS professors are more practically oriented. They aim to inspire students’ thinking and mobilize our learning initiative and enthusiasm. Furthermore, the quiet and sereneness of the EdUHK campus attract me to focus more on my studies. The campus is not very big, but it is fully equipped and the surrounding mountains provide a very peaceful and lovely setting for education. All the facilities are convenient for me, which helped me study and live better in Hong Kong.
Expanding career development from social policy studies
Social policy is a more specific field of study than my undergraduate major in public administration, as it includes social services, non-profit organizations, aging, and other topics. I am keen to learn how different countries adopt policies to address social problems. Thus, I enjoyed the course Comparative Social Policy in Asia the most. It encouraged me to see different perspectives of social policy across countries in Asia. Dr Alex Jingwei HE is a young and promising researcher, and he encouraged me a lot in his class. Dr Alex often gives us some fundamental questions to discuss and helps us analyze and explain social policy issues from various perspectives based on student experiences and the realities of social policy. The explanation from the simple to the deep not only strengthens our understanding of the subject but also cultivates our research abilities. I was impressed by this course and I am now extremely interested in NGOs, a career setting where I have not yet worked. I plan to fully utilize my new knowledge of social policy to help more people.
Another course that impressed me is Creating Shared Value and Social Entrepreneurship. This course helped me understand that social entrepreneurship is an entrepreneurial model that solves social problems and promotes social progress through the concept of shared value. Dr Glenn Kwok-hung HUI is knowledgeable and rigorous in teaching, which pushed me to consider more in-depth reflections. I was able to form more critical and creative thinking skills in this class.
Life is a journey to experience, learn, and enjoy.
As an international student, I must overcome language barriers and cultural differences. I have only experienced Southeast Asian culture and European culture. This is my first time contacting Chinese culture, which makes me feel both nervous and excited. In addition, I realize I should fully use this vital chance to open my mind and observe how people think about the same issue from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Meanwhile, MPPM has always valued having a diversity of student backgrounds, and I am fortunate to have met several seniors from Thailand. I received some advice from them that helped me adapt quickly to the unfamiliar environment. It is essential to learn from those who have had experience.
When the fifth wave of COVID-19 suddenly hit HK, we switched from face-to-face to online learning. This was a big challenge for me for the first 2-3 weeks. I adjusted for quite a while to become comfortable with the online mode. Now I can be more concentrated on my studying than on my surroundings. I will also spend time together with my friends to get close to nature and release my stress in my spare time.
Words to prospective students: Be positive and enjoy the process.
In this unexpected world, do not be afraid to try the unknown. Be positive and cherish every opportunity to exercise yourself. Even if you fail, you can go further by learning from each failure and trying to do better next time. Meanwhile, I highly recommend that when you encounter problems with studying or culture, do not hesitate to seek help from someone and talk with each other. This can often bring some valuable new insights.