Bringing rewarding virtual summer experience to students around the world
CUHK’s pre-pandemic line-up of international summer programmes returned this year with a twist. Amid international travel restrictions brought by the ongoing pandemic, the CUHK International Summer School (ISS), CUHK Summer Institute (SI) and CUHK Summer Undergraduate Research Programme (SURP) were all held virtually to bring together geographically dispersed students to engage in meaningful academic and inter-cultural exchanges.
A series of virtual activities organised to enrich the learning experience of the international students.
The CUHK ISS, suspended in 2020, resumed this year and offered two sessions in July and August with academic and cultural activities transitioned to an online environment. The 5-week ISS July session offered 15 online academic courses in four subject areas, plus a series of Chinese language courses, while the 3-week August session provided intensive Putonghua language studies. These sessions attracted over 320 students, hailing from some 70 institutions worldwide. ISS also continued to offer its popular cultural activities, in which students cooked Chinese snacks and dishes, explored modern and heritage neighbourhoods, and learnt about Chinese characters online. In partnership with the Hong Kong Tourism Board, two teams of CUHK local students conceptualised and led two virtual tours to showcase the cultural uniqueness of Tsim Sha Tsui and Tai Po to international students.
Participants of SI gear up for university life ahead through enlightening academic programmes.
SI was offered in hybrid mode this year, giving secondary school students preparing for their university admission process an opportunity to experience university life at CUHK. While most of the classes were conducted virtually, some courses were complemented with face-to-face engagement, including laboratory sessions, workshops and visits which were carefully organised with social distancing. The 2-week SI offered 13 short courses across seven disciplines for its participants to explore their academic interests and up to two credits would be counted towards their future studies at CUHK. A series of enrichment activities were also available to provide a comprehensive overview of the academic disciplines at CUHK. Over 280 local secondary school students along with students from outside Hong Kong had joined SI this year.
SURP students present their research projects and celebrate their achievements with the host supervisors.
With over 50 research topics offered by CUHK researchers from seven Faculties, around a hundred students from ten countries undertook the 8-week SURP research attachment in the comfort of their homes. Participants also learnt more about a research career through seminars conducted by established academics and entrepreneurs who have translated their innovation into action. The programme concluded on a high note with an online research presentation session to celebrate the students’ achievements. Prof. Sylvia He from the Department of Geography and Resource Management, who served as one of the judges for the Best Presentation Award, was impressed by the students’ performance. ‘Many of the presentations are outstanding. The students have demonstrated that they have learnt a wide range of research methods during the programme.’ Another judge, Prof. Raymond Tong from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, complimented students’ efforts in overcoming the hurdles of conducting research online. ‘Even though they cannot come to the campus in person, they have demonstrated great teamwork in running data simulation with our research teams at CUHK.’
With online education gaining increasing importance during and beyond the pandemic, the Office of Academic Links will continue to explore ways to offer virtual programmes to enrich students’ study experience.