See the world

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 August, 2006, 12:00am

Main photo: Dustin Shum

STUDYING OVERSEAS may present a lot of challenges for students with sight problems.

But Form Six student Walter Tsui Yu-hang was able to enjoy life in Colorado - thanks to support from his host school and family in the United States.

Walter, 18, was born with macular disease - he has only 30 per cent vision and will gradually lose it. He said he wanted to travel and see more while he is still able to.

Walter failed in his first attempt to get into an exchange programme because schools could not provide him with the necessary equipment.

Yet, his determination and perseverance paid off.

He managed to enrol in a 10-month programme at Colorado's Skyline High School last year, with the

help of AFS Intercultural Exchanges.

'Although my vision is limited, I want to see more and enjoy it while I can,' said the GCC&ITKD Lau Pak Lok Secondary School student, who scored 25 points in last year's HKCEE before leaving for

the US.

'I'm not afraid of anything. I was born with the disease and I've been living life as a normal person.

'I never went to a special school. I don't consider myself different from others although I need a special magnifying monitor to help me read.

'My parents are open-minded and they were willing to let me go [to study in Colorado]. They cannot protect me forever. I need to live my life.'

Walter joined Skyline's soccer team when he was in the US.

He also plays the drums and saxophone, and has tried snowboarding.

'I learned snowboarding together with an exchange student from Japan. He gave me directions and I picked up the sport quickly - I only bumped into a flag pole once,' he said.

Walter is grateful to his host school and family for making him feel at home.

'There was no discrimination in Colorado. My school installed a special monitor for me in the library, and my host father set up two computer screens at home,' said Walter, who studied pre-calculus, economics and accounting at Skyline.

'They did everything they could to help me study and do my homework.'

AFS Intercultural Exchanges is an international, non-profit organisation which provides exchange programmes for secondary school students. For more information, visit or call

2802 0383 (ext 103).