Mainland universities attracting more Hong Kong applicants
Students from ethnic groups in Hong Kong are discovering that the path to higher education may lead them to universities on the Chinese mainland.
This is a small and developing trend that is likely to grow as these multilingual students find their services in demand in countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Hong Kong resident Hassan Shahul Hameed Nuaim Abul, 21, who was born in India, dropped out of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to continue his education in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. He wants to be a doctor, but only the best students can pursue a career in medicine in Hong Kong. He was not one of them.
Abul, who moved to Hong Kong with his parents when he was 3, made the decision nearly two years ago to go to Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, a city at the heart of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The sophomore has never regretted his life-changing decision. He took up an offer from SMU and enrolled in its six-year bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery program.
"It was impossible for me to apply for a bachelor"s program in medicine in Hong Kong. That"s only for the very top students," Abul said.
In the city, only the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have faculties of medicine. Competition for enrollment is so fierce that only the top secondary school graduates can gain admission.
Data from Hong Kong"s Joint University Programs Admissions System show that 269 out of 46,346 applicants were offered places in medicine at the two universities last year. The 269 included the six top scorers in the city"s 2018 Diploma of Secondary Education examination.
Facing those odds, Abul thought that studying on the mainland was a good option for higher education.
After comparing several medical universities in India, Malaysia and Guangzhou, he chose to stay close to home, where there are fewer language barriers and the chance of becoming homesick is not so high.
He has enjoyed meeting people in Guangzhou, who are surprised that he speaks Cantonese. "Sometimes, I order food in the canteen in Cantonese," he said. "The language is not a challenge for me."