- Chairperson of the Hong Kong Model United Nations 2018
- Top 10: Standard Chartered Public Speaking Competition 2014 & 2015
- Vice President at Kids4Kids (Advocate Leadership Team)
HONG KONG IS MY HOME
I am extremely grateful to be one of the recipients of the Hong Kong Outstanding Students Award (HKOSA) for 2017 – 2018. I was born in India but moved here when I was five because my father’s job was relocated to Hong Kong. I have been raised here since then. Hong Kong has shaped me into the person I am today and therefore, I call it home.
Moving to Hong Kong posed a huge cultural shock in my life. I faced two main challenges: the language barrier and my ability to interact with local students beyond the language barrier. Back in India, speaking English was limited to just within classrooms, as soon I headed home I would quickly swap to Tamil (my mother tongue). Here not only was I faced with English speakers throughout but also those spoke Cantonese and Mandarin. However, I quickly overcame this by starting to speak English more frequently at home and with the people around me, this not only helped me hone my English but also make new friends and interact with others.
I joined the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups’ Sir TL Yang Ambassador Program to spread the importance of public speaking to band 2 and 3 schools in Hong Kong. Here is where I could interact with many local Hong Kong students and gained a better understanding of the local school system. By leading a series of workshops and programs, I mentored these students in stepping out of their comfort zone and voicing out their opinions. In exchange, I acquired more knowledge on the local school system, culture and students’ aspirations. This was important to me in integrating within the society that I grew up in and by also filling a gap.
Being the Vice President of the Kids4Kids Advocate Leadership Team, I have organized buddy reading program sessions that are held at various community centers for low-income children of young age. Within these sessions I have engaged with them through story-telling and reading books. Not only has this improved their language skills but I have learnt more about working alongside community centers in providing more opportunities to low-income families in Hong Kong.
The past two years have been eventful, long and a once in a lifetime of an opportunity. Two years ago, I aspired to step out of my comfort zone and wished not to attend a convention school. This led me to applying to the United World Colleges, a foundation of boarding schools that was founded by Kurt Hahn, a German philosopher after World War II with the vision in fostering a harmonious living together of students from all around the world. Two years in, I could live together with people of 80 different countries, backgrounds and independently adjust to this new environment. However, it was not an easy journey.
In the future, I aspire to be able to bridge the gap between ethnic minorities and local students in Hong Kong in pursuit of an educational reform. Often, academics offered in school limit students from being able to explore and use collaborative skills that lead to creativity. I want to be able to mentor this change that Hong Kong society can benefit from – the result would the oasis of ideas that alleviate local problems faced by Hong Kong with the input of the diverse community we withhold.
I would also like to thank the HKOSA. It is an honor to represent the Indian community of Hong Kong and celebrate how people of different cultures and backgrounds coexist in our society together.
Finally, I would like to thank my parents for being my two pillars of support throughout all my success and downfalls these eighteen years. If I have made it this far, all credit goes to them.