This year, we have offered the Master of International Relations and Development Taught Master Excellence Scholarship to two students, Ms Ding Xin and Ms Zhang Yu. The scholarship covers 50% of the programme’s tuition fee. Today, we would like to take this chance to share their academic journey with you all.
DING XIN – Master of International Relations and Development Taught Master Excellence Scholarship
Back to school AGAIN: Financial PR elite becoming a new rising star in International Relations
International relations and geopolitics had long been considered as major factors that cause volatility in the financial markets. That makes the demand for talent in international relations soars. Ms Ding Xin, our student of Master of International Relations and Development (MIRD) with the Department of Asian and Policy Studies (APS) at the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), who return to campus after seven years of financial PR working experience and now starting her academic odyssey in the field of international relations also the awardee of the “Master of International Relations and Development Taught Master Excellence Scholarship”.
MIRD: “right time, right place, right person”
I have graduated with a degree in Journalism. After working as a financial reporter, I found my interest in becoming a financial PR, which provides consulting services for HK listed enterprises on overseas media relations and investors relations. I have worked in this industry for over seven years, and the clients I worked with are from banking, financial, pharmaceutical, and energy sectors. Before I decided to return to school, I was the director of a financial public relations firm.
I noted that international relations and geopolitics had become a significant cause of the volatility in the financial markets. Among the cases that my team and I have handled, there are more and more issues related to this that we have never encountered before. I feel the desire to gain more knowledge about international relations and geopolitics. It has always been my dream to go back to school for further education since I had already achieved my career goals before I turned 30. Thus, I decided to pursue my master’s degree in EdUHK. Many people thought it was too risky to give up my steady rising career. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this bold decision was the right one until I became one of the students of MIRD. I was apprehensive that I would not be able to adapt to the campus environment. Since I am an interdisciplinary student, this was my first time returning to campus after seven years. Thankfully, the campus life has soothed me: rushing to the U-shuttle bus, finishing group assignments with lovely classmates, discussing with our helpful professors, every moment could prove that my worries were uncalled-for, each memory is delightful. Studying MIRD in EdUHK is genuinely a “right time, right place, right person” decision for my life.
Learning experience under covid-19 outbreak – “Sweet are the uses of adversity”
Due to the covid-19 outbreak again in Hong Kong, the university has adopted the online mode for the second semester. For me, it was a valuable and interesting experience. The university requires us to have the camera on so that to record the attendance. I think that was a very responsible decision, as I found that professors could keep track of our progress through our reactions and facial expressions, to see if we really understood what they were talking. And I really appreciate the required readings, our professional professors carefully select those to emphasize our learning outcome.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our professors. They had a diverse academic background; different distinctive and inclusive world views. Interestingly, they might have different answers to the same question, that’s how we learn about “critical thinking”. Dr Lee taught me to be open-minded for change; Dr Kelvin showed me lessons from history and stopped us from making the same old mistakes; Dr Yin used mathematics and statistics to make international relations more rational. Dr He always used a lot of case studies to illustrate issues. APS allied a community to establish a plentiful program that I enjoyed the most.
It is pretty stressful to study under the pandemic, so Work-Life Balance is essential, whether in your study or work. Sports can help me release stress, I love hiking, swimming, dancing, Pilates, etc… I have two international scuba diving licenses. Before the pandemic, I would go to various islands and as far as Tonga in the southern hemisphere to see whales to release my stress. I also really enjoy swimming. Last year, I joined the New World Harbour Race, successfully tackling the 1km route across Victoria Harbour, which is the most exciting thing I had in 2021 apart from getting an offer from MIRD.
Words to prospective students: Put My Learning to Good Use
When I returned to school, I fought with all my might because I had a sense of “not wanting to leave regrets again” and stopped repeating mistakes from my undergraduate studies. Eventually, I won this scholarship. If I can do it, so can you. Life is about never stopping learning and then breaking the glass ceiling. The novel in your name will be either uneventful or spectacular, it’s up to you.
I am looking forward to “put my learning to good use” and continuing to contribute to companies listed or operating abroad.
Zhang Yu – Master of International Relations and Development Taught Master Excellence Scholarship
Back to school AGAIN: Eagerness to convey China’s voice
China is now making a tremendous effort to increase its international outreach by “Telling China’s stories, and conveying China’s voice”. These stories tell the reformation and development of China and how China is involved in global governance. Ms Zhang Yu, our student of Master of International Relations and Development (MIRD) with the Department of Asian and Policy Studies (APS) at the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), has eager to use her power to convey China’s voice to the rest of the world and assist domestic people in gaining a more convenient and comprehensive understanding of the world. She is also the awardee of the “Master of International Relations, and Development Taught Master Excellence Scholarship”, has a lot to say.
Interdisciplinary: From Arabic to International Relation
I received my bachelor’s degree in 2020 from the University of International Business and Economics, in which I majored in Arabic. I maintained a positive and active learning attitude throughout my undergraduate studies to solidify my professional foundation. While maintaining an average GPA of 3.8+ in my junior and senior years, I also participate in various scientific research projects to enhance my understanding and comprehension of what I’ve learned through practice. After graduation, in order to find my career path that matches my interest, I tried a variety of internships in consulting, product, editing, and so on.
The internships had definitely broadened my horizons. I feel a strong desire to work in the international news sector during my internship. On the one hand, I hope to use my meager power to convey China’s voice to the rest of the world. On the other, I hope to use my professional experience to assist domestic people in gaining a more convenient and comprehensive understanding of the world. I realized that mastering a foreign language would not be enough to achieve these goals. Language is more of a tool than a profession, and that to use it effectively, I need to arm myself with more systematic and scientific knowledge. In order to gain a more systematic and neutral understanding of national policies and international events, and to scientifically and reasonably analyze the motivations behind the international actors, a large number of national relations theories and objective research methods must be accumulated. After a thorough investigation, I discovered that the curriculum settings of the MIRD matched my interests and notion. APS is gathering with talents, with many experts in international relations and public policy. This vibrant academic atmosphere drew me in, and I eventually pursued further education at APS, EdUHK.
Adopting a new study mode for Master’s studies under the pandemic
The most challenging transition was changing my identity from undergraduate to postgraduate student. Passive learning by following the teachers’ teaching guidance and homework assignments was common to me. However, I needed to be more active and proactive as a graduate student. Especially turning to the online teaching mode on the second semester, I needed to face the challenge of occasional disconnect network interruptions also needed to overcome my inertia. In the postgraduate stage, the speed at which my efforts are translated into visible results is much slower. As a result, I need to change my impatient mentality and persevere in daily accumulation. When faced with a screen alone, as opposed to brainstorming with classmates in the classroom, there is bound to be a situation of desertion in the case of online classes. Here are some effective methods to enhance productivity and efficiency, (i) Planning: before the start of each week, I make my plan to ensure that I can participate in the course and complete the homework on time. (ii) Preparation: preview the lessons 1-2 days before, using the PPT or reading list provided by the teacher to dabble and research the course content ahead of time so that I could listen to the class with my own questions and this would avoid unintentional slips.
Above all, the professors always inspire me a lot. Dr Siu-yau Lee was the teacher who impressed me most in the first semester. He is a young and promising researcher. We focused on various social developments worldwide in his courses, and we discussed how to use the interactions between national states and civil society to address these issues. He has two main characteristics that particularly impressed me. He always starts his class with interesting questions. We can easily understand complicated concepts by solving these minor problems. Also, he would carefully give suggestions based on each group presentation’s content, format, and report process, allowing us to continue enriching our speech skills in a specific direction.
Dr Weiwen Yin is most impressed me in the second semester. He is an erudite and knowledgeable scholar. This year, I took two courses from him, and he introduced the most important game theory knowledge to us. He always encouraged us to think about the relationship between the state system, history, and the economy in the political economy class. Dr Yin is so patient with us, He would spend a large amount of time answering each student’s questions after each class, assisting us in sorting out and providing targeted suggestions on thesis writing and group presentation. He also prepared many papers involving data analysis for us this semester. Combined with his lectures, I gradually overcame my fear of numbers and calculating and even developed an interest in quantitative analysis.
Words to prospective students: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting”
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” is a sentence from the book “The Alchemist” that I appreciate and really want to share with you all. May you always be in awe of the unknown, and may you always remain curious and humble, then the universe will conspire to help you. This one-year experience has broadened my knowledge and allowed me to fully communicate with many excellent experts and classmates, laying the groundwork for my future career.
After graduation, I plan to follow my heart and work in the international media sector. I plan to fully utilize the knowledge of international theories that I gained in MIRD this year, as well as the language that I learned during my undergraduate studies. And do my best to convey a more objective and calm China’s voice.