Through the Looking Glass: Sunyeol PARK – A Korean Growing Up in India / 鏡中人──在印度長大的韓國人PARK Sunyeol

(按此看中文版)

Huffing and panting as I made my way to AC3’s Bistro, I was 5 minutes late (as per usual) to my lunch meeting. Sunyeol PARK (Hall 11, Year 4, Finance) was already there, patiently waiting and greeting me with his smile. We had a few classes together and had a few occasions where we checked our homework together. From our few encounters, I got to know that Sun, who was born in South Korea, spent most of his adolescent life– 7 years to be exact– in India.

After finishing his elementary school in Korea, Sun wanted something more. He wanted to explore the world outside of Korea. A family friend opened up the idea of studying in India and so with a leap of faith and a bunch of courage, he and his sister packed their bags and went to India for a new start.

Sun (centre) and his friends in India. / 在印度和朋友聊天中的阿Sun(中)。

His life in India was not without a struggle. The extreme difference in culture, as well as language barrier, was the toughest challenge he had to overcome. He mentioned how in class, his Indian friends would speak to each other in Hindi and he would ask them to speak in English, but to no avail. It was a constant battle to fit in, but in the end, he realized that while he’s in India, there is no fault to try to blend in and learn their language. He took notes and picked up the language.

The battle to fit in did not end there. It is quite obvious that Koreans and Indians do not share any similar features appearance-wise, and he was often treated differently because of it. When he took the public transport, quite often whispers and even rude comments would follow. Being able to understand the language, he often found himself in a difficult situation—the constant battle of wanting to stand up for himself but also realizing that he was in another country and he needed to behave accordingly.

“Do you ever regret it? Going to India?” I asked. He shook his head, “I never once regretted going to India. I used to be very shy but now I am more outspoken.” Despite the hardships he went through, it had made him a stronger person. He made valuable friends and learned valuable life lessons. If there was one thing I admired most in Sun, it was his independence. Being apart from his family for such a long time, he was able to make decisions for himself, be it good or bad. He’s not afraid to stand up for himself when he has to. I still sometimes complain to my mom when things don’t go my way, but hearing his story made me hung my head in shame. While I need someone to constantly reassure me that I’m doing the right thing, Sun is ready to step out of his comfort zone and reach it.

Sun (front) enjoys his hall life with his fellow Hall 11 residents. / Sun 對於在舍堂十一的宿舍生活樂在其中。
Buying food together at a local market (Sun on the left). / 和朋友一起到超級市場購買食物(左者為阿Sun)。

Coming to Hong Kong was also solely his decision. He wanted to further explore his opportunities in an English-speaking country, so here he is now at Hong Kong, pursuing a degree in Finance. He initially aspired to be a banker, but as we all know, university is the place where we grow and figure out what we really like, so now Sun is looking at his options to become a consultant as he enjoys talking to people.

Our meeting had to be cut short due to another appointment I have, but I left the place more inspired than ever. We tend to cling to our own people. Locals hang out with other locals, Indonesians hang out with other Indonesians, Koreans hang out with other Koreans and Indians hang out with other Indians. We don’t go out of our way to really get to know new people, except for the exceptional handful of other international friends we say hi to. We tend to stick with our own people because it feels more comfortable, and sometimes stepping out of our comfort zone is a bit easier said than done. However, we should learn from Sun. Despite the challenges we may face when we meet new people and new culture, we can always gain something from it in the end. University is the place for you to know yourself better, and with the diverse culture in CityU and the Student Residence, it is the perfect place for you to grow and challenge yourself day by day.

Enjoying Korean food with friends (Sun on the right). / 和朋友們共享韓國美食(右者為阿Sun)。

Writer:   Natasya Viona CHANDRA (Jockey Club Harmony Hall)

~~~

慣性遲到五分鐘的我用急促的步伐喘着氣地往劉鳴煒學術樓(AC3)的西式餐廳走去。剛到達餐廳,就看見PARK Sunyeol(舍堂十一 / 經濟學系四年級)正耐心地坐在某一枱,以微笑迎接著我。我們曾經一起上課,亦曾經有過幾次一起複習作業的機會。在這些交流的機會當中,我認識了Sun。他雖然在南韓出生,大部分的少年生活卻是在印度渡過的,達七年之多。

在韓國完成小學課程後,Sun想得到更多──他想探索韓國以外的世界。於是,其中一位親戚便提議他到印度學習。就這樣,年紀小小的Sun懷着滿滿的自信及勇氣,和他的姊姊收拾好行李,踏上了一個新的旅程。

Sun (centre) and his friends in India. / 在印度和朋友聊天中的阿Sun(中)。

然而Sun 在印度生活的日子並不是一帆風順的,要提及當中最艱辛而又必須克服的困難的話,必定是兩地文化之間的極端差異及語言障礙。比如說,上課的時候,Sun的印度藉同學會以印地語溝通,但他卻聽不懂,唯有請求同學以英文溝通。不幸地,由於英文不是印度人和韓國人的母語,所以就算大家嘗試以英文溝通,也無濟於事。這個長期的挑戰就等於長期的戰爭,直到後來,他得到了一個啟發:既然他來印度生活、學習,為甚麼不嘗試去融入這個地方及文化,而且學習他們的語言以便溝通呢?想着想着,他便開始寫筆記,努力的學習一種新語言。

除了要適應文化差異及語言障礙外,Sun與當地人的外表也很不一樣,因為韓國人與印度人的服飾打扮有很大的分別。因此,他經常也會受到不公平的對待,例如乘搭交通工具的時候經常也會聽到當地人竊竊私語,甚至粗魯的評論。學懂了這地方的語言,有時候卻又聽到不善意的說話,真的讓Sun十分難堪。他一方面想為自己站出來說話,但又意識到自己身為另一個國家的公民來到這個地方生活,就應該要保持友善、維持和平。

「你有後悔過到印度生活嗎?」我好奇地提出了這個疑問。Sun搖了搖頭:「我從來都沒有後悔過到印度生活。從前的我十分害羞,但現在的我卻很外向。」儘管Sun經歷了這一切的艱難,他卻從試煉中把自己培養成為一個更強的人。他認識了知心的朋友,並學習了寶貴的生命課。若你們問我最敬佩Sun的那一樣特徵,我會說是他獨立的個性:要與他的家人分開這麼長的時間,他能夠為自己做出不同的決定,無論是好還是壞,也是值得欣賞的。必要的時候,他會懂得為自己發聲。反之,現在的我有時候還會向媽媽抱怨事情與我的期望有差異呢!聽過他的故事後,我真的感到十分羞愧。當我還時時刻刻需要別人提點我做應該做的事、走應該走的路的時候,Sun已經踏出了這一步,成為一個獨立的人。

Sun (front) enjoys his hall life with his fellow Hall 11 residents. / Sun 對於在舍堂十一的宿舍生活樂在其中。
Buying food together at a local market (Sun on the left). / 和朋友一起到超級市場購買食物(左者為阿Sun)。

其實,要到香港學習也是Sun的決定。 他希望在注重英語的國家進一步探索他的機會及潛能,所以他現在來到香港,主修金融學。最初,Sun渴望成為一個銀行家,但我們都知道,大學是我們成長的地方,我們可以從中找出我們真正喜歡的事物,所以現在Sun正在尋找他成為顧問的方向,因為他十分喜歡與人交談。

由於我當天還有另一個面談,因此我和Sun只好結束這一次的面談。但是,我很慶幸自己在這個面談中得到很多啟發!我們習慣依靠自己身邊的人,例如本地人和其他本地人混在一起,印尼人和其他印尼人混在一起,韓國人和其他韓國人混在一起,印度人和其他印度人混在一起。但是,若然我們不嘗試脫離自己設定的框架去認識新的朋友,只限於與和自己有特殊關係、而且特別少數的外地朋友溝通,我們並不會真正的了解其他人。我們傾向於依靠和自己生活與同一個文化、同一個圈子的人,因為這樣做會讓我們感覺更舒適更自在。此外,要鼓起勇氣走出我們的「窩居」亦是一個知易行難、難以改變的習慣。儘管如此,我們也應該以Sun作為榜樣。即使我們在接觸新的人和文化時可能面臨挑戰,但我們總會能夠從中獲得一些寶貴的東西。 大學是一個讓你更了解自己的地方,隨著城市大學和學生宿舍提供的多元文化,你將能夠在這個地方長大和戰勝自己。

Enjoying Korean food with friends (Sun on the right). / 和朋友們共享韓國美食(右者為阿Sun)。

文:   Natasya Viona CHANDRA (賽馬會群萃堂)
譯:   何栢妮 (李兆基堂)

Through the Looking Glass: Leonardo David Tay, Putting Your Ideas into Practices / 鏡中人:Leonardo David Tay – 將信念付諸實踐

(按此看中文版)

I still remember the day when I first heard of the name of Leonardo David TAY (Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall, Year 1, English Studies). I have never met him before. Yet, when I attended the first lecture of English major in Year 2, my good friend told me, “Oh, I have just met a new friend who is in the same major as us. He is very kind!” Since then, I’ve known David, who is now my group-mate. Whenever we encounter difficulties in our project, he was able to put forward creative and specific solutions. I found him very thoughtful.  So when I thought of Through the Looking Glass, the one who immediately flashed into my mind was David.

David is of Indonesian nationality, but of Chinese ethnicity. He attended high school in his home country and came here to CityU to pursue further education.

David has pinpointed the reason for choosing Hong Kong and CityU back to a representative’s visit to his school when he was about to apply to university. From there, his curiosity led him to research more about Hong Kong, since he realized that he has overlooked the city. To his delight, there seems to be much to offer: quality education abroad, a cultural display of East and West, and a buzzing metropolis.

Hang out with a friend in Indonesia. / 在印尼和朋友相聚。
A memorable high school graduation picture (centre of the bottom row). / 一張難忘的高中畢業照(David 在最底一行中間位置)。

When compared to Hong Kong, David thinks his home country is still under development and has to overcome a few hurdles before finding its stride to become a leading country. Suffice to say, Hong Kong is pretty impressive to David in many aspects, such as infrastructure, food, and culture, to name a few. However, he never recognizes Indonesia as a dump. Indonesia is still home, what with its diverse spices, warm people and spirit.

Cooking with his fellow hallmates from Hall 9 (4th of the top row). / 與應湘堂的宿友們一起開心做飯。

It’s never easy for David to come to Hong Kong. In Indonesia, his family took good care of him. Yet, he had to leave home for four years and come to this unfamiliar place alone. This unique experience has allowed David to leave his comfort zone and learn how to live in a different environment. Fortunately, David did not encounter too much difficulties here and he adapted to Hong Kong’s lifestyle successfully. He particularly likes how compact and within reach everything is here. It’s simple and convenient to use the Octopus card and MTR. Despite the fast pace that brings about, David is allowed to do more in a shorter amount of time.

It is worth mentioning that apart from his wish to explore a completely unfamiliar city, there is an additional reason of why David is here. He talked about how tough his father was to work hard and help in shaping his principles.  His father had so much faith in him rather than questioning him. All these have been motivations for David and he is driven to perform better in achieving his goals.

David (centre) departed home and saying farewell to his friends and family at the airport. / David(中)在親朋好友的陪同下,告別家鄉,前往香港讀書。
Hiking and exploring Hong Kong around. / 從遠足活動中探索香港。

David likes writing, this leads him to study English as a major. He likes scribbling or typing words onto an empty page. He likes to do what makes him happy and earn from it. He seeks opportunities, and fortunately, he thinks CityU has served him up in excess. David is meeting new people and learning new perspectives as he goes, writing in new ways. When it comes to his aspirations, David points out that he has similar wishes as the others in hopes to establish a peaceful society through mutual communication and respect.

With his family’s support and encouragement, David came to Hong Kong with just one idea in mind: to explore an unfamiliar place thoroughly. Apart from experiencing a new lifestyle, he hopes to broaden his visions so as to improve oneself. David believes that “as long as there is an idea in your mind, you should put it into practice in order to make your own progress”.

David’s favourite photo of himself – picture a thoughtful him looking towards to a prosperous future. / 這是David 最喜歡的照片之一,圖中的他遠眺群山,放眼未來。

Writer:   Dilys HO (Lee Shau Kee Hall)
Images:   Leonardo David TAY (Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall)

~~~

還記得初次聽說Leonardo David TAY(胡應湘爵士伉儷堂/英文學系一年級)這個名字的時候,我還沒有見過他。那時候才剛剛開學,二年級的我第一次上英文系的課,就聽見我的好朋友說:「剛剛認識了一位同樣來自英文系的新朋友,十分友善,跟他聊天起來才知道他是印尼華裔呢!」就這樣,我認識了David,後來更和他成為了分組報告的組員。

在整個學期中,我發覺David 的生活及想法都很與眾不同。每當我們的報告遇上難題時,他總能提出一些有創意而且具體的建議,是一個很有想法的同學。這一次,想着《鏡中人》這個題目,一想就想起了David,很希望能夠透過這次訪問,讓大家了解他更多。幸運地,David 一口就答應了,我們便重回了上一個學期經常討論功課的地方──宿舍飯堂好味廚,以另一種形式重新認識了 David。

Hang out with a friend in Indonesia. / 在印尼和朋友相聚。
A memorable high school graduation picture (centre of the bottom row). / 一張難忘的高中畢業照(David 在最底一行中間位置)。

身為一個印尼華裔,David 在印尼完成了中學課程後,就來到香港城市大學繼續進修,現為英文系二年級生。原來David 選擇香港和城市大學的原因,主要是因為一次校訪。那一年正值David 報讀大學的時候,有一名城大代表來到David 的中學,介紹了香港這個地方。從那時開始,他意識到自己一直以來也忽略了這個城市。在好奇心的驅使下,他決定進一步的探索這個地方。最令他振奮的是:香港比他想像中更多元化──海外優質教育,東西文化的展示,是一個十分熱鬧的地方。

相比起香港,印尼是一個發展中國家,而且仍然要克服一些障礙才能邁進一步,把它成為一個領先國家,所以David 很高興能夠來到香港生活及學習。香港的基礎設施、食物和文化等諸多方面都相當令他印象深刻。不過,這一切並不代表印尼是一個讓人厭棄的地方。印尼仍然是David 的家,那裡擁有最溫暖的人情味及活力。

David 來到香港生活實在不簡單。當初在印尼有家人的照顧,現在卻要離開家人四年,獨自一人來到陌生的地方生活。然而,這樣的經驗卻能夠讓David 離開自己一直習慣了的生活模式,去學習怎樣在不同的環境下生活。幸運的是, David 在香港未有遇到太多困難,順利地適應了這裡的生活。此外,David 認為其中一個生活在香港的好處就是方便,所有地方都可以輕易到達,而急速的生活節奏更可以令 David 的工作效率上升。

Cooking with his fellow hallmates from Hall 9 (4th of the top row). / 與應湘堂的宿友們一起開心做飯。

值得一提的是,原來讓David 一直堅持下去的原因除了是他希望探索一個完全陌生的地方外,還有一個關鍵的人物,就是他的爸爸。David提到爸爸一直以來努力工作,在他的成長過程中培育他一套應有的做事原則,而且從來都只會相信他、支持他的決定,而不是質疑他。David 的爸爸深信他終有一日能夠做到自己喜歡做的事,達到自己的夢想,因此他一直緊記着爸爸的支持和鼓勵,作為自己的推動力。

David (centre) departed home and saying farewell to his friends and family at the airport. / David(中)在親朋好友的陪同下,告別家鄉,前往香港讀書。
Hiking and exploring Hong Kong around. / 從遠足活動中探索香港。

David 熱愛寫作,這也是他修讀英文系的原因。他喜歡把空白的紙張上填滿自己的文字,沒有特定的範疇,只希望做自己喜歡的事,並從中學習。他希望能夠不㫁尋找機會增值自己,而幸運的是,大學的生活為他帶來不同的機會。Daivd 不斷的認識新朋友,學懂從不同的角度看事物,令自己成為一個想法更全面的人。提及到自己的願望時,David 表示其實他的願望與很多人的願望一樣,只是希望透過互相溝通及尊重來建立和平的社會。

有了家人的支持和鼓勵,David隻身來到香港,只為了一個念頭:把以往忽略了的、陌生的地方徹底地探索一下。除了體驗新生活外,亦希望從中廣闊自己的視野,令自己的想法更全面、更成熟。David 堅信,「只要有念頭,就要付諸實行,才能使自己不斷進步」。

David’s favourite photo of himself – picture a thoughtful him looking towards to a prosperous future. / 這是David 最喜歡的照片之一,圖中的他遠眺群山,放眼未來。

文:   何柏妮 (李兆基堂)
圖:   Leonardo David TAY (胡應湘爵士伉儷堂)

Through the Looking Glass: Reshma Punjabi, Home and Growing Up / 鏡中人: 在「家」靠朋友 出外靠成長

(按此看中文版)

When I first met Reshma, my initial thought was, “Dang, this is a legit third-culture-international-school-kid.” (Yes, this is a word now.) I could not believe how many cultures could be mixed and contained within one person. Hence, I am very excited about this piece in which Reshma shares her definition of ‘home’ and her experience of growing up in CityU.

Reshma PUNJABI – majoring in Banking and Financial Services with a minor in Mathematics – resides in Hall 10. This is her final year, however, she plans to extend her studies for one more year. During this time, she will focus on completing the requirements for her Mathematics minor, so she can figure out if she would like to do further studies in a Master of Science in Mathematics or a Master of Education to teach it. “I have always loved mathematics in high school but I want to see if I can cope with it at university level.”

I was very impressed with Reshma’s cultural background. She was born in Taiwan, where she spent one year, before moving to Dubai for another year. Afterwards, she moved to Guangzhou, China and this is where she grew up till she was sixteen. Ethnically, Reshma is Indian and although she has never lived in India, it is the culture she primarily identifies with. With the utmost modesty, Reshma described her language abilities – she can speak English and Hindi fluently, Mandarin at conversational level and Spanish and Sindhi at beginners’ level.

Reshma PUNJABI (right) attended Diwali held in the Student Residence in November 2016. / Reshma PUNJABI 於2016年11月參與了在城大宿舍舉行的印度排燈節。

Reshma’s diverse background influences her meaning of home, “People are my homes, which is why I consider both CityU and China my homes. But once the people leave, CityU won’t be my home anymore.” Thus, CityU is only temporary, a transition, “but in terms of a physical place, I relate to Guangzhou the most, simply because it is all I have seen as a child.”

Reshma enrolled into university when she was just sixteen years old. I was curious to know what it was like for her to basically ‘grow up’ at CityU. Reshma explained that during the first month, she was a completely different person. She used to be socially awkward so it took her a while to catch up with her peers who were already slightly older than her. She experienced a huge jump from being sheltered to being exposed to a diverse community, “At home in China, I attended an international school. I was very enclosed within the Indian community because I found that was a way to stick to my Indian roots, it was where I was most comfortable. And now, even at CityU I tend to stick to the Indian community but I have gotten to know a wide variety of people.”

Model United Nations (MUN) has been a prominent activity, which has contributed to this growth. Reshma wanted to do MUN since high school but was not able to do such extra-curricular activities because of her commitment to academics. Thus, it was a big deal when she heard that CityU offered it. Being involved in MUN provided many opportunities to learn from a multicultural group of people.

A visit to Google Hong Kong’s office. / 參觀谷歌香港的辦公室。
Celebrating Holi with friends. / 與朋友們一起慶祝侯麗節。
Posing in front of a booth at the Joint-hall Mid-autumn Festival Celebration. / 在聯舍中秋晚宴中與友合照。

Apart from her life at CityU, Hong Kong has given Reshma some incredible memories. Just two weeks before my interview with her, Reshma was describing a night consisting of a “series of fortunate events,” where running an errand transformed into a perfect evening with friends. The great company made Reshma realise the importance of random spontaneous night outs. This is just another example, which clearly demonstrates how convenient Hong Kong can be.

Reshma’s tip for current students is to, “try and branch out as much as possible because you really do not know who is going to teach you something.” Even people whom she has not particularly liked or has had disagreements with, have taught her something. She respects them a great deal because of the deep impact they have made in her life regardless of the amount of time knowing them.

Reshma shows us how home does not have to be one place, rather it is about whom you are with. These people will impact you in many ways, whether it is sharing their culture, impromptu night outs, or learning from a disagreement. In all, good quality relationships are an important factor in the formation of unforgettable memories.

Exploring Hong Kong with friends. / 與友一起探索香港。
Enjoying a floor gathering with fellow Hall 10 floormates. / 和舍堂十的樓層宿生一起飯聚。

Writer:   LIM Hanna Suchanya (Alumni Civility Hall)
Images:   Reshma PUNJABI (Hall 10)

~~~

第一次遇到Reshma時,她給我的印象是,「哇!她真是一位擁有三種國際文化的學生啊!」

我不敢相信一個人可以容下那麼多文化,而她對於「家」的定義和在城大的成長的經歷更是引人入勝。

舍堂十的Reshma PUNJABI為主修銀行及金融服務,副修數學的四年級生。「我高中以來一直都喜歡數學,希望可以挑戰大學的數學課程。」為了讓自己更了解之後應否修讀碩士課程,她決定延遲一年才畢業,專注在數學副修上鑽研。

Reshma 在台灣出生一年後移居到杜拜,之後更遷居中國,並在廣州生活至十六歲。即使她沒有在印度居住過,但對自己的印度藉感受尤深。雖然能說流暢的英語和印度語、會話水平的普通話、入門的西班牙語和信德語,她形容自己的語言能力時卻十分謙遜。

Reshma PUNJABI (right) attended Diwali held in the Student Residence in November 2016. / Reshma PUNJABI 於2016年11月參與了在城大宿舍舉行的印度排燈節。

「身邊的人就是我的家,我認為城大和中國就是我家。一旦身邊的人離開,城大亦不會再是我的家,若果以實際的地方的來算的話,我會說(家)是廣州,純粹因為這是我從小就已經在那。」

她16歲的時候就已經進了大學,我亦很有興趣知道她是如何在大學「長大」的。作為年紀較小的新生,在初來報到的第一個月,她在社交上遇到了困難,用了好些時間才能與比她年長的同輩相處,離開保護罩,走進多元的群體裡面。「在中國大陸的時候我就讀於國際學校,長期混在印度社群當中令我感到非常自在,以致我來城大後還是會不知不覺地偏向親近印度裔的同學,但我亦知道要去認識各種不同的人增廣見聞。」

著名的學術組織模擬聯合國(Model United Nations,簡稱MUN)是另一項促進Reshma 快速成長的活動。Reshma在高中的時候因為要專注學業而沒參加,當她在城大得悉有這個活動,她感到萬分興奮,因為模擬聯合國可提供大量的機會從不同文化的人身上學習。

A visit to Google Hong Kong’s office. / 參觀谷歌香港的辦公室。
Celebrating Holi with friends. / 與朋友們一起慶祝侯麗節。
Posing in front of a booth at the Joint-hall Mid-autumn Festival Celebration. / 在聯舍中秋晚宴中與友合照。

其中香港的方便亦是使Reshma 十分驚歎的一個地方,在訪問她的幾星期前,她一次在外面辦事竟然遇上一連串幸運的事情,過了一個完美的晚上。這次的事使Reshma 理解到朋友的陪伴和隨性的去玩樂是多重要。

Reshma 給予同學的小提示:要去拓寬自己的興趣、涉足於不同的事上,因為你永遠不知道那件事會為你帶來怎樣的經歷和經驗。即使一些跟她意見不合的人也能從他們身上學到不同的東西,無論你認識他們多久,他們亦可能對你人生有很大的影響。

最難忘的回憶都是和你關係密切的人一起創造的。你的家在那並不重要,重要的是和你相處的人。

Exploring Hong Kong with friends. / 與友一起探索香港。
Enjoying a floor gathering with fellow Hall 10 floormates. / 和舍堂十的樓層宿生一起飯聚。

文:   LIM Hanna Suchanya (校友樂禮堂)
譯:   黎彥東 (胡應湘爵士伉儷堂)
圖:   Reshma PUNJABI (舍堂十)

Through the Looking Glass: Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA and Fitting In / 鏡中人: Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA

(按此看中文版)

With a pile of books in one hand and a circuit board in another (definitely an engineering student) Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (HSBC Prosperity Hall) makes her way through the bustling crowd. She greets me with a radiant smile and her calming presence is infectious.

To give a little background, Monisha’s father is from India and her mother from Russia. She was born and raised in India, moving within the country a few times and speaking Russian at home with her parents. Currently in the second year of her degree, Monisha majors in Computer and Data Engineering. After she completes her bachelor’s degree, she intends to go to Australia for her postgraduate degree.

Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (right) and her friends explore Stanley together. / Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA(右)閒時與朋友一起探索赤柱。

With such a mixed background, I cannot help but ask her why she chose to come to Hong Kong. She answers that she wanted to live in a cosmopolitan city that was bursting with an international lifestyle. During her search for universities in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, City University of Hong Kong popped up and she was immediately intrigued. The degree she wanted was provided; there were opportunities for international students like scholarships and exchange programs, as well as an on campus residence. Monisha knew CityU could give her a chance to live in a city with so many people coming from different backgrounds – a place where she felt like she could belong.

This need of belonging stems from her time back home in India, “In the inside, I felt Indian but on the outside, I don’t look like one, so most people did not receive me as one,” she says. For a long time, she thought she was the problem. Identity is partially defined by the people you are with. But her attempts at pleasing others to “naturally fit in” were not always successful, making it hard to socialize and form a solid group of friends. However, since attending CityU, she has realised it is not about fitting in, rather its about finding the right people who bring out the best in you. Ultimately, there will never be a reason to change yourself. Also, since CityU is overflowing with people from diverse upbringings, there should be no pressure to only hang out with people who come from the same physical place as you.

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Helping out at the Indian booth during an event in the Student Residence. / 在宿舍活動中負責製作和推介印度特色小食。

As a result, Monisha has made some life-changing friendships, even though she has only been in Hong Kong for a year and a half. Every person she has met has changed her perspective on the world and she still continues to grow and learn from the people around her.

This one individual displays how every person, no matter who you are or where you are from, has goals and dreams they want to achieve. I hope this first “Through the Looking Glass” feature is an inspiration for our fellow residents and can be the kick-start to a relatable and encouraging series that shall serve as a reminder that even though you may feel alone in pursuing your aspirations, you can always find support and motivation from the diverse range of CityU residents.

Writer:   Hanna Suchanya LIM (Alumni Civility Hall)
Photographer & Images:   Ellen DING (Alumni Civility Hall), Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (HSBC Prosperity Hall)

~~~

一手抱著幾本書,一手拿著電路板(毫無疑問是工程學學生),住在滙豐業昕堂的Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA穿過喧鬧的人群。她對我露出燦爛的微笑,讓我也感到愉悅起來。

Monisha的爸爸是印度人,媽媽是俄羅斯人。她從小在印度長大,在國內搬過幾次家,在家和父母都說俄語。她現在就讀二年級,專攻電子計算機及數據工程學。在她取得學士學位之後,她打算去澳洲繼續進修。

Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA loves the outdoors. / Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA 熱愛戶外活動。

她有著如此複雜的背景,所以我情不自禁問她為何選擇來香港。她回答說她想生活在一個東西文化薈萃的世界大都會。當初她在篩選一些位於香港、新加坡等地的大學的時候,香港城市大學就這麼抓住了她的眼球。她想修讀的科目能在這裡找到;這裡為國際學生提供了交換和獎學金的機會,也提供了住宿。Monisha了解到城大能賦予她和來自不同文化背景的人一起生活的機會--一個讓她有歸屬感的地方。

這種對歸屬感的需求源於她在印度的生活經歷。「在印度,我自我感覺是印度人,可是從外表上看,我並不像,所以大多數人並不接受我是他們的一員,」她說。很長一段時間,她都認為自己是問題的癥結所在,苦惱非常。自我認同感很多時需要身邊人來定義,但由於她的混血背景,Monisha 自小便很難「自然融入」任何社交圈子,使得收獲堅固的友誼變得困難。 然而,自從來到城大之後,她就意識到了真正重要的不是努力融入,而是找到能讓你成為更好的人。歸根究底,人本來就不應勉強改變自己來奉承他人。正因為城大四處都是背景不一的人,她不再局限於與同鄉來往。

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Monisha is half-Indian, half-Russian, making her a fine spokesperson for the two very distinct cultures. / 身為印俄混血兒的Monisha,可說是印度和俄羅斯這兩種迥異文化的最佳代言人。

因此,儘管她才來這裡一年半而已,Monisha已收獲了不少改變她一生的友誼。她碰到的每一個人都在改變她看待世界的方式,她也一直在不斷向身邊的人學習,不斷成長。

Monisha and friends enjoyed a fun evening with her fellow Prosperians at the Prosperians Night. / Monisha 和她的朋友們積極參與了業昕人宴。

她的經歷,展示了每一個人,無論你是誰,來自哪裡,都有著想要實現的目標與夢想。我希望這第一篇【鏡中人】人物專訪,能鼓舞到所有宿生,並提醒你即使在追逐夢想的過程中,或會有孤獨相伴,但在城大文化背景多元的宿舍中,你也總能找到新的支持和動力。

文:   Hanna Suchanya LIM (校友樂禮堂)
攝/圖:   丁琳笠(校友樂禮堂)、Monisha SHCHERBAKOVA (滙豐業昕堂)