Getting a Head Start to Her Dreams

One of the first HKUST students to join the HeadStart@HKUST Program, which combines Internship, Mentorship and Fellowship, Beatrice Chan spent her internship last summer with Taiwan Public Television Service and found it gave new impetus to her personal dreams.

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Assigned to the production team of Taiwan Outlook, a talk show that gives Chinese communities worldwide latest insights into the political, economic and cultural environment in Taiwan, Beatrice was given the responsibility of producing her own 50-minute episode – despite having no previous experience of the TV industry. “I had to do my own background research, decide who I wanted to interview, prepare my own questions and even help with the post-production afterwards.  It was a huge challenge for me as I’m not a journalism major, so was not even sure of the best way to ask questions.”

Luckily, Beatrice says, she had received some valuable mentoring beforehand from program initiators such as HKUST Council Members Catherine Leung and Prof Jack Lau as well as Prof Shaw May-yi, who comes from Taiwan and was able to provide useful advice. The HeadStart Program Executive Committee even contacted Beatrice regularly to check that she and her fellow interns were safe and happy in Taiwan.  “I never realised there was such strong bonding in the HKUST community.”

The two-month internship provided good fellowship, too, as she was one of four HKUST students assigned to the station, each working in different departments.  They shared a house together and were able to give each other moral support as they addressed their varying challenges.

Beatrice decided the interview angle for the Swaziland Ambassador’s wife, Ms Zeethu Dlamini, who turned out to be “a thoroughly modern woman and mom”, having previously had her own career in fashion magazines.  The interview also touched on female empowerment, which encouraged her to learn more about this issue and become a vocal advocate for gender equality herself.

Beatrice feels that apart from being a valuable learning experience, the internship has taught her a lot about having an international mind set and giving back to society, as one important role of public TV is giving a voice to minorities. Inspired by her experience, Beatrice has now become a public speaking tutor for the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, where she provides services to underprivileged teenagers.

“The internship has made me even more aware of the importance and impact of having your voice represented,” she observes.  “I would not have overcome the challenges in the program had not for the trust I had from everyone around me. I am looking forward to developing a career in women empowerment.”