Summer School 2006

"It is with great pleasure that I am writing with regards to the University of Hong Kong Summer Institute 2006. The University of Hong Kong, under the auspices of the Center of Asian Studies as well as Faculty of Social Sciences, held a three week summer institute for students within the Universitas 21 network.

As one of the 43 students from over 21 countries, I am greatly heartened to express my greatest satisfaction over the summer institute. The summer programme which spanned over three different regions within China, covering over 10 site visits and involving over 30 different academic and guest lectures would have surely entailed great logistical mastery which was further burdened by the diverse student backgrounds.

This tough feat, however, proved effortless under the highly competent HKU staff. The result of which was a smooth, well organized and highly enjoyable summer institute." Mohamad Rizuan Bin Pathie, National University of Sinagapore Participant in the 2006 Summer School.

The third U21 Summer School was held at The University of Hong Kong from 3-23 July 2006. The theme of this summer school was “Asia as the Global Future” and it was jointly organized by the Center of Asian Studies, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and the Office of International Student Exchange of the University.

The aim of the school was to enhance an awareness of the importance of Asia in world affairs. In so doing, it sought to create an interactive learning environment where international students of high academic calibre combined knowledge acquired from lectures and seminars with an understanding of real world problems through fieldtrips in Hong Kong, Macau and Beijing.

The three week Summer School included lectures, seminars, field trips and study tours. A typical day of the school started with morning lectures and discussion, in which students were exposed to issues in different areas, followed by excursions to special sites/organizations/companies in the city in the afternoon. Each of these field trips contained an academic component, with renowned scholars, businessmen or community leaders invited as guest speakers of the programme. From these lectures and visits, students were required to keep a journal detailing their thoughts as well as considering how the lectures and visits related to the reading materials. In order to build a deeper understanding of local culture and multicultural interaction, five local postgraduate students were invited to act as mentors throughout the programme.

This Summer School featured field trips and study tour to places outside Hong Kong, namely, Macau (3 days) and Beijing (one week). These visits enabled participants to see, experience, understand and compare the different lifestyles and cultures in three unique cities in the People’s Republic of China. Given the wide array of academic backgrounds the students brought to the course, the lectures were designed to cover a diverse set of topics.

In terms of structure the first week of the programme was intended to expose the students to some of the meta-issues (regionalism, political-economies, the impact of China and India’s rise, etc), with the second week focusing on more discreet topics (human rights and corruption, public health, the role of the media, the rule of law, etc). The third week then drew on the two preceding weeks, but with an explicit concentration on China.

There were three areas of assessment: a journal, an essay and class participation and many students embraced the journal in particular, submitting excess of 100 pages complete with photos and scanned images.

Summing up the experience, the participants were asked to comment on the highlights: “I enjoyed my trips to Macau and Beijing because I got a very different view of China than from simply being in Hong Kong. I think that was really important from what I am taking away from this programme. This was my first trip to Asia and I thought it was wonderful.” “The best part about the programme was meeting all the different nationalities and cultures represented. More institutions should be encouraged to participate to further enhance the diversity of the group.”