Where East Meets West

Constantinos Spandagos
Postgraduate Student
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The story of how HKUST became part of my reality begins back in 2011. And it begins neither in Hong Kong nor in my native Greece, but in London. President Tony Chan together with Dr Eden Woon (HKUST’s Vice-President for Institutional Advancement) visited Imperial College London to give a talk to the students and faculty. And it was there, at Imperial where I was pursuing my postgraduate studies at that moment. I saw the poster advertising the talk and I thought it would be interesting to stop by and see what our guests wanted to share with us.

I have to admit that I didn’t know much about HKUST until that talk. And I also didn’t know many things about Hong Kong itself. As a European, I always thought that having some experiences of living and working in Asia would be tremendously beneficial for me, since it is the continent of challenges and opportunities. Being in Asia would help me grow as a global citizen. But at that moment I was mostly thinking of going to place like Tokyo or Singapore. However, President Chan’s talk really changed my opinion a lot, and I became very interested in Hong Kong and particularly in HKUST. I was amazed to hear that HKUST was only founded in 1991, but managed to climb up the world rankings so quickly. It became Asia’s number one, and also one of the world’s top universities in just a few years time. It sounded like a miracle university and it suddenly gave me the idea to become part of that miracle.

President Chan also explained to us that Hong Kong’s political and economic system creates a very attractive environment for foreigners to live and work in. At the same time it offers great and direct connections with mainland China. After the talk, I went down and had chat with Prof Chan and Dr Woon. They were very friendly, and were willing to answer all my questions. I really appreciated that.

After that I went home to do some more researches about that institution. And at the end of the day, I thought: “If I am to go to Asia, I should go to Asia’s number one!” One year later, I was admiring the red sundial and the amazing view of Port Shelter, not in pictures anymore, but for the first time with my own eyes: I was there, at HKUST to pursue further postgraduate studies! And it was one of the best decisions I have made so far. I have discovered Hong Kong’s tremendously intriguing heritage and history as the land where “East meets West” and I am totally in love with this place. And most of all, I am proud to be a part of HKUST, the University where the impossible can be made possible. Tony Chan was right in everything he said at that talk back in London. And I am very thankful that I attended the talk given by the President in London.

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