What Do You Know About Student Life in Hong Kong?

Hi everybody! I’m Jenny from the City University of Hong Kong (CityU). I’m a second year student studying translation and interpretation — English to Chinese. It’s hard to believe that I’m already half way through my degree! In this blog post, I’d like to share some aspects of my university life and some background on CityU, where I’m encountering a unique learning experience.

Background on CityU

Located at the center of Hong Kong, CityU is young and dynamic. The university was established as City Polytechnic of Hong Kong in 1984 and achieved full university status ten years later.

The university’s vision is to become a leading center of learning, excelling in higher education and research. To provide a pleasant learning and teaching environment, CityU has developed and updated resources and facilities for about 20,000 students on its main campus. In addition to modern academic buildings, there are fantastic facilities on the campus. The well-equipped library is a perfect place for students who are revising their work and doing research. Part of the library, the Humanities Academy, is designed on a traditional Chinese quadrangle (see photos), giving us a quiet place to study. Between classes, we can watch movies in a mini-theatre and use 3D printers for our projects. To have a break, we can also access the Chinese Garden, take in the Chinese pavilions and the hillside trail.

The Daily Routine of Students Taking a Major in Translation

The day starts with the most challenging course—simultaneous interpreting. In the lab, everyone is ready for practice. We sit in the booths, put on our headphone, listen to the speech attentively and deliver our translation simultaneously. While we are speaking, we also need to concentrate and listen carefully, preparing for the translation of the following sentence. Since we encounter various topics like business, technology or politics, we need to research the related issues beforehand thoroughly. Preparing for the topics enables us to acquire background information and facilitate fluent interpretation. However, unexpected situations may drive us to mess up our translation! For example, translating figures and technical terms is hard for me. I can still remember that a speaker once quoted a verse from a Chinese poem which was difficult to understand and translate. At that moment, I was very nervous. After a long pause, I tried hard to understand its meaning and finally gave an accurate interpretation in a few seconds. For me, each interpretation exercise is a thrilling brain game, testing and training our attention, memory, quick response and language skills.

After this first exercise, the next lesson is translation. They say that students majoring in translation must have a well-rounded education because of the many fields and disciplines subject to translation. There’s a wide range of courses which sharpen our language skills, as well as linguistic and cultural knowledge. We can be asked to check bilingual texts, read linguistic studies and translate documents in legal, audiovisual, media or commercial fields, for example.

Last semester, I took a very interesting commercial translation course. I translated subtitles of advertisements and dubbed videos. Additionally, linguistic courses have inspired us to observe differences between languages and analyze their structure. These courses are challenging but I believe they can empower and motivate us to be good translators. This is the daily routine of a student taking a translation and interpretation major. So now you know what it’s like to study in this field.

Colorful Extracurricular Life

University life in CityU is vivid and very lively. Not only do we study, but we can participate in a rich extracurricular life through plenty of activities, and meet people of various backgrounds. For instance, by engaging in the Chinese orchestra, we can indulge in our music interests and learn to appreciate more Chinese music. Every Friday, I participated in the Beijing Opera class to be exposed to this quintessence of Chinese culture. In addition, exhibitions on the campus foster our understanding of art and history. If we are enthusiastic about voluntary work, we can provide services to the community like teaching underprivileged children during the summer holidays. If we want to immerse ourselves in other cultures, we can join overseas internships and exchange activities — that’s what I’m doing in Munich. These options enable us to learn from real foreign business and urban environments and interact with people from different countries. As a result, we can broaden our horizon.

To date, I’ve joined study tours to South Korea, Shanghai and Beijing! These valuable experiences have given me chances to explore diversity. This summer, I’m working as an intern at Lucy Turpin Communications. In another blog post, I’ll tell you more about how even the first few days have been amazing here — struggling with German doors, trying tap water for the first time and diving into the LTC world of communications.

Jenny Lo Yim Wa