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LIFE

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Sharon TANSharon TAN
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Visual Arts - Year 1

Stepping into a foreign country on my own was one of the most challenging and life-changing decisions I'd ever made. As an Indonesian student, I was easily perplexed by Hong Kong's new culture and lifestyle, where everything is fast-paced and, at times, individualistic. When I first arrived, knowing almost no one, it was easy to feel lonely as I walked through campus for the first time. Despite the feeling of anxiety that came rushing in, Hong Kong Baptist University has provided me with a warm and inviting community. I remember my non-local mentor from the halls treating me to lunch on my first day and showing me around campus; a fellow friend brought me over for dinner and showed me around Hong Kong. And even though I was far away from home, the pleasant and welcoming atmosphere of HKBU had made me feel at peace. I was able to develop unexpected new friendships that I absolutely treasure now, and that itself has broadened my perspective as I hang out with my people from various countries and backgrounds. Because of the diverse population, I decided to join in a language exchange; HKBU connected me with a super nice local student (who I now consider a really good friend!) so that I could learn Cantonese and familiarize myself with Hong Kong culture.

Aside from the variety in forming new relationships, HKBU gives several possibilities for students to try out new activities. As a student helper, I once took part in a collaborative art fair where we taught the elderly different ways of producing art; it was nice to see them take the time to come to campus and socialize with us.Not to mention the numerous events that HKBU hosts and promotes, such as the "BU Ideas Galore!" start-up competition in which my friends and I competed in. These opportunities have broadened my horizons and enabled me to explore new knowledge outside of my current major (Visual Arts). Even having an already multi-cultural student body at HKBU, the university never settles and always allows us to engage with students from across the world, such as the global case challenge with Ryerson University students that I participated in at the end of March! We were able to meet new friends and collaborate together over the week. Maybe for international students who may be concerned about their needs, HKBU not only provides extensive financial assistance, but also offers us the option to work as a part-time employee on campus. As for myself, I was fortunate to get hired as a graphic designer at HKBU's European Documentation Center, where I was able to meet new people and receive valuable experience working in a sector connected to my degree.

Particularly while we are in class, the professors always facilitate and are eager to help us after class. I 've learned so much by discussing ideas with not just my lecturers, but also my classmates! HKBU made the learning experience more hands-on and engaging by inviting us to valuable Co-Curricular Learning talks or seminars, and even organizing a field trip to a Central art gallery! HKBU has always been supportive of my path into being a university student who can experience a variety of interesting and exciting activities despite the constraints of the pandemic, from the admission process to the conclusion of my freshman year. I am so thankful and glad that I am able to receive this award from the university, to create valuable memories with friends and learn so much in class and outside of class from my first year at HKBU. I will continue to work and study hard to make valuable contributions to the community!