Journey of Globalization
Edwin Tsui, who has completed his two-year Global Studies (GLBS) programme, finds it substantially influential to his life. He chose GLBS as he observed the impact of globalizaton on local communities, keen competitions among global talents, and increasing cross-border activities across economies. ‘CUHK’s Global Studies (GLBS) has equipped me with a global mindset, adaptiveness and responsiveness to keep abreast of the changing world trend and tap into a myriad of opportunities in this global era.’
As Hong Kong and mainland China become more integrated with the world economy and global governance, a growing demand for talents with global visions, transnational communication skills and cross-cultural ability is envisaged.
The solid training in the programme equips Edwin with the competence in conducting critical research, analyzing global data, drafting detailed report, as well as collaborating with foreigners in team projects. ‘GLBS is an inter-disciplinary subject that gives emphasis on integrating theories and empirical studies about globalization, world economies, international relations, global politics, environmental issues, human rights, poverty and international law on a comparative basis,’ said Prof. Chiu Chi-yue, Interim Programme Director of GLBS.
Before studying GLBS, Edwin considered international relations a subject for pure academic research which should have no relevance to him. After joining the interdisciplinary programme, he realized the substantial influence of international relations in his life. ‘I was given valuable opportunities to comprehend all types of global issues, including Sino-US relations, the Belt and Road initiative and terrorism in Europe, that have enhanced my critical thinking and global vision.’
‘International relations is all about how states manage their foreign affairs and build diplomatic relations with others. Not only does it impact the geopolitical stability and individuals’ freedom of movement, but also the flow of capital and trade that might affect my future opportunities and daily life.’ He found relevance in the subjects he studied, and appreciated the forward thinking and understanding of the world which enabled him to plan ahead for his career path and future.
The GLBS programme also encourages its students to build communication competence and reach out for cross-cultural exposure. All students are required to take three units of ‘third language courses’ other than Cantonese, Mandarin and English. The exposure to a third language plays a role in building cultural schema and sharpening sensitivity in cross-cultural communication. Edwin added, ‘Participation in overseas field trips and exchange programmes and collaborations with international students in team projects have broadened my global horizon and enhanced my interpersonal skills.’
In addition to GLBS electives, students are allowed to take at most nine units of non-GLBS electives offered by various Faculties and departments such as the Business School and the Faculty of Arts to fulfill their major requirements. Edwin likes the flexible curriculum as he could choose subjects relevant to his career options. In addition to broadening his global mindset, he could develop specialized skills in areas that he was interested in to further his pursuit academically and vocationally.
Some people regard social science degrees to be more academic than vocational. So did Edwin. GLBS has, however, changed his impression as it strikes a balance between the cultivation of global knowledge and practical skills. The final year project in GLBS offers students some career-oriented options, such as consultancy, business startups and publishing, which helps them integrate the knowledge acquired in the major courses with their respective career pursuits.
Looking back to his undergraduate study, what really impresses him are the friendliness and helpfulness of all the professors and lecturers he encountered in GLBS. Edwin said, ‘The faculty were eager to discuss with us on various global topics. They were also curious about our learning experiences and future planning, and gave us valuable advice to overcome diverse challenges and achieve our goals. Such professionalism, expertise and enthusiasm among the faculty in GLBS benefitted me tremendously not only in my major studies, but also my whole-person development.
‘I enjoyed every moment interacting with my classmates as we have cultivated a genuine and collaborative friendship throughout our studies in the University,’ said Edwin. GLBS provides students with abundant opportunities to collaborate, including group projects, field trips and seminars, which help them communicate openly and understand each other more. ‘We enjoyed attending different University-based activities in our leisure time, not to mention discussing world issues and life goals while lying on the turf on campus and chatting freely. During the peak season of assignments and exams, instead of fighting alone, we shared with one another useful materials and engaged in thought-provoking discussions on various global issues and theories.’
Edwin has some tips for the prospective students. ‘Some background knowledge in subjects like geography, economics, history and politics would be beneficial to your learning in GLBS. But what helps you stand out nowadays is your passion to comprehend global issues, your competence in data analytics, and your readiness to interact with people from all walks of life. Open-mindedness is undoubtedly important as your own views will often be challenged by professors and students in tutorial discussions. Such a process would strengthen your critical thinking so that you could analyze different issues more comprehensively.’
‘Our graduates have diverse career paths,’ Professor Chiu added. ‘A majority of our graduates work in various industries of the private sector, such as banking, trading, transportation, etc. A considerable proportion of our graduates join the public sector to work in various government departments, NGOs and other public institutions. Some graduates pursue further studies related to international relations, politics and other disciplines.’
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018