Think Global, Act Local
Global Studies, one of the youngest programmes in CUHK, celebrates its first anniversary this year, but it did not fail to catch the eye of Toby Wong when he applied for university two years ago. ‘It is a nascent programme but also the first of its kind in Hong Kong. It offers students the opportunity to develop a global mindset throughout four academic years. The idea fascinated me.’
This is also the rationale behind the establishment of the programme, as Programme Director Prof. Anthony Fung said, ‘Our programme aims at nurturing future global leaders by cultivating global minds. It is designed to respond to the increasing mobility of talent and integration of national markets, to meet the rapidly rising demands of global leadership to negotiate international relations and geopolitics, to manage parochialism and its attendant symptoms such as supra-nationalism and terrorism, and to react to global environmental and health challenges, like pollution, HIV and SARS.’
Two years into his studies, Toby said the programme has changed the way he looks at the subject discipline. ‘My initial impression about Global Studies was limited to world politics and international relations. However, through discussing and analysing global issues in class, I realized that Global Studies actually seeps into our daily lives by means of globalization and exchanging of multicultural ideas. The programme not only provides insights as to how to see things in different perspectives, but also change my whole thinking habits and mental models.’
The programme boasts five concentration areas: Global Media, Cultures and Societies, World Politics, Sustainability and Environment, and Global Economy. ‘I love it that I can choose any of these five major streams based on my own interests,’ said Toby. He is also free to take more courses from relevant departments or programmes to broaden his scope of learning.
Professor Fung added, ‘Our programme is interdisciplinary not only in the sense of crossing multiple disciplines but also in the sense of providing our students with different learning opportunities related to Global Studies in all academic fields. We invite foreign scholars to share their noteworthy research. We encourage students to study a third language. We also believe overseas exchange and internship are essential and beneficial to expanding knowledge and developing a global mindset.
‘Students can thus learn to apply knowledge from diverse academic disciplines to solve complex global problems. Their multilingual and multicultural competencies and skills can be deployed to manage global talent and international relations. Our curriculum equips them with global consciousness and prepares them for future leadership on diverse global settings.’
When asked what he found most valuable about the programme, Toby’s answer was ‘communication’. ‘Our class comprises students from different nationalities and backgrounds, which is a boon for us to share contrasting ideas in class and even outside the classroom. The professors are willing to listen to our opinions and offer advice for every one of us. The programme even holds regular meetings for students to talk with the Dean of Social Science and the Programme Director.’
Although the programme admits only 20 new students each year, the small class size brings a positive learning experience to Toby. ‘Classes offered by our professors are highly interactive. We can really make our voices heard and learn from one another. Besides spending time discussing and analysing global issues in class, we also initiated all kinds of after-class activities, such as bringing the international students to enjoy the traditional dragon dance show and visit the Lunar New Year flower market together.’
The career fields for the programme’s graduates are many and varied. ‘They can pursue careers in multinational corporations, governments, non-profit organizations, global organizations and education institutions. They can also pursue postgraduate studies in the area of globalization and related fields,’ said Professor Fung.
If you aspire to becoming a visionary global leader and are considering Global Studies, Toby has this friendly advice to offer: ‘Get ready to step out of your comfort zone. As the programme offers various fascinating experiences, you should fully engage in them in order to find your own interests and true calling. To be honest, Global Studies is an extremely broad topic. Therefore, self-motivation is crucial for you to keep on reading, exploring and sharing.’
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018