Bright sparks to study in the US
Form Five student Tammy Leung Ka-yung from Carmel Pak U Secondary School has won a one-year exchange scholarship to the United States.
The HK$72,500 scholarship includes school fees, air tickets and insurance.
Organised by international language institution EF Education First, the US Scholarship Contest attracted more than 1,000 entrants.
EF country programme manager Rebecca Choi Ying-wai said a good knowledge of current issues and good communication skills are important for exchange students as they need to adapt quickly to a new environment.
Each competitor had to answer 10 questions related to American history or culture and complete an English test.
Those who performed well were invited to attend small group interviews, in which they were given 30 minutes to design a poster to promote Hong Kong.
The task aimed to test students' co-operation and communication skills.
The 10 best competitors were invited for individual interviews to determine the winners.
Tammy, 17, has been wanting to go on exchange programme so she can become more independent and learn more. In the individual interview, she was asked to discuss current issues.
'It was the most difficult part. The interviewees kept challenging my points of view. I guess they wanted to test my responses and self-confidence.'
Tammy said she did not expect to win because of the fierce competition.
Second prize winner Natalie Yu Tsz-sum, from True Light Girls' College, had already planed to go on exchange before the contest.
Winning a HK$10,000 scholarship has made the trip a lot less expensive for her family.
Jason Chan Yu-ming, from St Margaret's Co-educational English Secondary and Primary School, won the third prize of HK$5,000.
He said he learned to co-operate with others by taking part in the contest.
The three winners, who are all HKCEE students, will head for the US this summer.
Tak Nga Secondary School, which had the highest number of student entries, was given the Outstanding Performance School Award.
EF is going to expand its college exchange programmes from seven countries to nine next year, adding China and Japan.
Interested students can apply for the exchange programmes next month or in June. For details, go to www.ef.com.hk/