Scholarships open window on world

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 12:00am

Scholarships to United World Colleges will give 13 students the chance to experience life in another country.

The scholarships were awarded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charitable Trust, Li Po Chun Charitable Trust and Royal Skandia Life Assurance and will enable the students to complete their pre-university studies at the United World Colleges.

Speaking at the awards presentation ceremony, Francine Kwong Wing-ting, convenor of marketing advisory sub-committee of Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong, said: 'Opportunities to study overseas are rare. It will be a valuable experience to live with people from different backgrounds.

'Everyone is seen as an ambassador. He or she represents his or her own country. The experience allows you to learn about other cultures and be a more tolerant person.' She reminded students of the need to be open-minded.

'The biggest challenge that lies ahead comes not from the new lifestyle or environment, but from yourself,' she said.

'You will be challenged emotionally and spiritually. Your values, norms and beliefs will be challenged.

'You have to sit back and think about it, otherwise you will get lost.' Founded in 1962, the United College aims to encourage young people to promote international understanding and focus on community service and extra- curricular activities.

There are 10 United World Colleges around the world. These are in Wales, Singapore, Canada, Swaziland, Italy, America, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Norway and India.

Carman Shek Ka-man, 18, is a second-year student at United World College in Italy.

She said the experience had made her more independent.

'Parents prepare everything for us in Hong Kong, but when you are in a new environment, you have to solve problems by yourself,' she said.

'Students are required to take part in community services and activities to make them more responsible and foster a team spirit,' she said.

Alison Suen Wai-yan, 19, and Maria Chan Pinn-young, 17, are heading to Ka-man's college. They said they were prepared to experience a culture shock.

Wai-yan said she was looking forward to an eye-opening experience.

'Italy is my dream place,' she said.

'I have wanted to go there since I was young. I plan to go to museums.

'I want to meet lots of local people and learn as much as possible about their lives.'