Going abroad to study in universities gives students a chance to enrich their experience, broaden horizons, improve employment prospects and learn about different cultures. Various programmes from different schools, universities and countries are offered every year and secondary school students have to prioritise their choices carefully to ensure they get the best out of their tertiary education. Each year, universities from various countries hold information sessions in Hong Kong, explaining their facilities to secondary school graduates and advising them on application and enrolment procedures. One of the popular Australian universities for overseas students is the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. University staff come to Hong Kong every year to conduct interviews and hold information sessions at exhibitions and representative offices. It was the first Australian university to open a Hong Kong office in October 2000. The office is mainly responsible for providing services to prospective students, alumni, visiting staff and partners, and business associates of the university. With an estimated 10,000 alumni in Hong Kong, the university pays a lot of attention to graduates, developing alumni programmes, services and networks. 'UNSW focuses much of its attention on alumni relations as many of our best and most successful alumni hail from Hong Kong and are interested in sending their children to UNSW,' said Aleksandr Voninski, director of UNSW International. 'UNSW is popular in Hong Kong as we have a long history of engagement with the region,' she said. 'Our first Hong Kong students in the 1950s returned to Hong Kong to build its economy into a global powerhouse.' Tertiary counsellors promote the university's programmes at local and international high schools in Hong Kong. The university's reputation, successful promotion and strong ties with its alumni draw several thousand applications from Hong Kong every year. 'Successful applications really depend on the specific school or programme that has been applied for, but as a rule of thumb, 30 per cent of all applicants will gain admission to the university directly, and unsuccessful candidates have a second chance to apply to our on-campus Foundation Year pathway programme,' Voninski said. With more than 1,100 Hong Kong students on campus this year, UNSW is one of the popular Australian universities for tertiary education among Hong Kong students. 'Hong Kong students are naturally drawn to courses with traditionally high employment rates and high graduate starting salaries,' Voninski said. 'The global financial crisis and the rise of creative industries in Hong Kong have created a change of direction for an increasing number of students. More students see a bright future in areas such as design, digital media and industrial design.' But programmes such as accounting, actuarial studies, telecommunications, food science, medicine, optometry and law are still the most popular courses for Hong Kong students. 'Our engineering, business, law, and medical schools are rated as the largest and best in their fields,' Voninski said. 'Our size opens more doors and creates more connections for our graduates.'