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UK secondary school students win places at university summer schools in Hong Kong (with photos)

     Five gifted sixth-form secondary school students in the United Kingdom have each won a chance to study at a Hong Kong university this summer, through a competition organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London (London ETO).

     Hong Kong has a successful and diverse higher education system, with a number of outstanding universities that rank prominently in world league tables. Through the Hong Kong: A Dream Destination for University Study competition, UK students are encouraged to pursue tertiary education in Hong Kong. Each of the five winners of the competition will be sponsored to study at one of the summer courses at a Hong Kong university to experience a taste of the city's world-class university life, as well as Hong Kong's cosmopolitan lifestyle and unique culture. The winners can also explore their areas of interest and develop their strengths and potential before starting at university. Sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways and supported by the British Council and the Hong Kong Society, the competition has the participation of four key universities in Hong Kong.

    To enter, students had to describe why they think Hong Kong would be a great place to study as a university student. Entries received were in many different forms including essays, websites, blog entries and YouTube videos, and were judged based on content, creativity and presentation. The panel of judges were the Director-General of the London ETO, Ms Erica Ng; the Regional Director of the British Council, Ms Julia Amour; the General Manager Europe of Cathay Pacific Airways, Mr Angus Barclay; and the Chairman of the Hong Kong Society, Ms Karen Luard.

     The five winning entrants came from all around the UK. They are:

Natalie Jane Dearden
The Blue Coat School, Oldham
Her entry was a newsletter and a poster (available on the London ETO website at and
She will study at the City University of Hong Kong this summer.

Verity Parkin
Varndean College, Brighton & Hove
Her entry was a video, which is available at
She will study at the University of Hong Kong this summer.

Zahra Farzanekhoo
Chelsea Academy, London
Her entry was a website, which is available at
She will study at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology this summer.

Oliver Charlton
The Catholic High School, Chester
His entry was a website, which is available at
He will study at the University of Hong Kong this summer.

George Lam
Cirencester College, Cirencester
His entry was a brochure (available on the London ETO website at
He will study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong this summer.

     At a sending-off reception for the winning students at the London ETO on June 9 (London time), Ms Ng said the London ETO launched the competition in 2012 to encourage more students from the UK to go to Hong Kong to further their university education. She said, "The cosmopolitan nature of campus life in Hong Kong nurtures its students with the inter-cultural confidence to be future world citizens. Our tertiary institutions are recognised as leaders on various international league tables. Three universities in Hong Kong were ranked among the top 50 universities in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2014/15."

     Trustee of the British Council Mr Tom Thomson said, ˇ§The five exciting years I spent in Hong Kong as a journalist taught me so much ˇV not just about my profession but about living and working in another culture. I commend these young people on their sense of adventure and ambition in heading to this fascinating city. The skills and experience that studying abroad will help them develop will be invaluable to them in their future studies and careers.ˇ¨

     Mr Barclay said, ˇ§Cathay Pacific is delighted to support this excellent Hong Kong Government initiative. We are greatly encouraged to see the enthusiasm of these very able students to study in Hong Kong, which is home to a number of world-class universities, is a fantastic city to experience and benefits from being centrally located in a region of great growth and potential. I would like to congratulate the winners and wish them every success going forward with their studies.ˇ¨

     Ms Luard said, ˇ§I have been so impressed with the standard of this year's entries, which demonstrate a good understanding of the myriad benefits a summer course at one of Hong Kongˇ¦s top universities can offer. Thereˇ¦s an increasing awareness and appreciation of the many advantages of studying in Hong Kong, not least of which is the opportunity to explore and experience an exciting and dynamic destination and culture and make new, hopefully life-long, friends and contacts.ˇ¨

Ends/Friday, June 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:43


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