In early March 2020, Dr Chong led a group of student ambassadors at St. John’s College to a trip to Cambridge. Our one-week stay near the university campus allowed us to experience many aspects of life at Cambridge. We also visited Oxford and London during the short trip.
The trip was packed with various activities. Not only did we walk around the beautiful town and many gorgeous colleges, we also had the opportunity to attend different cultural activities such as evensongs and formal dinners. The most interesting part of the trip was probably the opportunities to talk with professors and students from the university. Through these dialogues, we were able to have a glimpse into the study and social life at Cambridge and encouraged us to pursue postgraduate study there.
It was indeed a wonderful experience and a needed break from our busy workload in the middle of the semester. Living in a fast-pace city like Hong Kong, it is quite meaningful to slow down and think about our future plans – this trip to Cambridge broadened our horizon and allowed us to do so.
Essay By Chiu Ching & Tristen Li, student ambassadors 2020
Shortly after we arrived, we were given a delightful tour around Cambridge – our first introduction to this grand institution. We visited churches that witnessed the 800-year growth of the university, listened to tales of ingenious scientists and authors who made groundbreaking discoveries in these very halls. On this night we also had the honour to join our very first formal at Pembroke College, where we were served a hearty meal. We ended the day with drinks at The Eagle, the very pub where DNA was discovered (!!!), before finally dragging our exhausted selves back to the hotel for a good rest to prepare us for the next day.
On our second day here, we shared an intimate conversation with Professor Liang and Professor Jens Scherpe about the unique teaching philosophy at Cambridge and the resources that support it. They also shared with us their own experiences in academia and inspiring personal stories. And then, of course, we went punting – a must in Cambridge – during which we were introduced to the many colleges and their respective idiosyncrasies. On this night we had the fortune to dine at Churchill College: in a hall with distinctly modern furnishing that sets it apart from more traditional colleges.
Can’t believe we’re already halfway through our stay here! Today we spent the morning touring Trinity College, a stately campus that dwarves others. It was particularly memorable when we visited a garden dedicated to Xu Zhimo, a great gentleman of science and the arts, of contemplation and virtue. In this cozy haven far away from home, we were prompted to reflect upon the merits of an educational tradition that prizes virtue and scholarship, and how we can position ourselves accordingly to improve our homeland. We wrapped the day up with a delicious meal at Trinity.
Having spent some time at Cambridge, we made a short excursion to its friendly rival: Oxford. We were given a tour of St. Anne’s College and the university library from a students’ perspective. Professor William Lamb then kindly gave us a tour of the University Church and illustrated the role that it played in shaping the town to its current glory. It was a great opportunity for us to compare the two institutions and reflect upon our own aspirations to pursue postgraduate studies.
Our last day at Cambridge started with a visit to Strangeways Research Laboratory, where we had the opportunity to talk with students and researchers working at the institute. We also listened to Prof. Brian Chung’s public lecture on genomics and its application in HK’s clinical field. In the afternoon, we visited Trinity College and attended evensong at the Trinity Chapel. The setting sun shone through the colourful stained glass and created a solemn atmosphere together with the candlelight. Our five days at Cambridge ended with a wonderful dinner at Bill’s Cambridge Restaurant with some students and professors at Cambridge.
Essay By Chiu Ching & Tristen Li, student ambassadors 2020
Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP), Hong Kong
From July 29th to July 31st, St. John’s College Hackathon 2022 was held, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks. Hackathon, which is a term combination of “hack” and “marathon,” is a collaborative problem-solving challenge focused on encouraging innovation and showcasing fresh ideas or solutions. Led by the Directors (Olivier Samson, Christie Lai, and Muhammad Saad), the Organizing Committee believed that breaking out of one’s comfort zone is the key to success. The Hackathon intended to immerse high school students in a stimulating, inventive, and team-building competition.
“All the final projects from the students were inspiring. Really appreciative of the dedicated and experienced mentors who provided important advice to the participants. Special thanks to the distinguished judges who took their valuable time out for the final presentations and provided precious feedback that would for sure stick with the participants in the future. We, for sure, are excited to see the talented students become outstanding leaders!”
Quotes from the Directors of St. John’s College Hackathon 2022
The Opening Ceremony was held at Innocell and greeted by the Organising Committee, Sponsors, and HKSTP. Then there was the HKSTP Tour Session, where participants were able to experience Science Park’s approach to digital art, its rich collaborative history, and even new inventions. The day ended with the Barbecue Networking Session. Everyone enjoyed the delicious barbecue and their newly established connections to talk about business and projects.
The day started with the Design Thinking Workshop, which was led by Mr. Tom Chui, Director & Chief Trainer of Inclusive Impact HK. Mr. Chui emphasized that the human emotion, especially empathy, must be the basis of any business to bring social well-being to our society. Then we had the Pitching Practices, which included an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a short description of an idea, product, or company that explains the concept in a way such that any listener can understand it in a short period of time.
After strenuous preparations for two days, the participants made the final presentations to the judges. Developing programs to save the ocean or creating an AR platform, many creative business plans were introduced. The Final Presentation Session was the opportunity for students to show how business can contribute to creating a progressive, positive community.
Essay by Joonsung Kim, Head of Finance/Masters of Ceremonies of SJC Hackathon 2022