Hong Kong university thirsty for Turkish students

Hong Kong university thirsty for Turkish students

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Hong Kong university thirsty for Turkish students

The HKUST is on the shore of Clear Water Bay in Hong Kong.

A committee from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has recently visited seven Turkish universities in Ankara and Istanbul to develop cooperation. The group wanted to invite students from Turkey and the region to Asia and China but especially to Hong Kong.

Turkish and Hong Kong universities have no common history but their future will be different, HKUST’s president, Tony F. Chan, told the Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview.

 “We are trying to build a new relationship with Turkey, research collaborations, exchanges for undergraduate students, and also for postgraduate studies. We have only seven Turkish students. We want to boost this number,” Chan said. 

HKUST is a public university established in 1991. It consists of five schools – Business and Management, Sciences, Humanities and Social Science, and Engineering. The university is seen as a great success story in the academic world with a good reputation.

“A good academic system, the academics and management are very American. HKUST is an American university in China, you can think of it in that way. The academics are mainly from the U.S., and some are from Commonwealth countries,” he said.

The land of the university, on the shore of Clear Water Bay, was once used by British soldiers occupying Hong Kong.

Chan said his university was being planned in the mid-1980s when recently deceased former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited China to hand over Hong Kong.

“There were some people who would build a future in Hong Kong; a lot of Chinese moved to build a future there,” he said.

The committee has visited Bilkent and the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara as well as Istanbul Technical University, Koç University, Sabancı University and Kadir Has University in Istanbul.

Hong Kong universities have seen substantial increases in the number of foreign applications in recent years, according to statistics.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s foreign applications rose 55 percent in 2012.

“The economy is growing very fast. It is already the second-largest economy in the world. Shanghai is becoming a financial center, Hong Kong already is and there is competition between them. China is investing in Beijing,” he said.

Political support and financial support have come together to make his university “a miracle,” Chan said.

“We are more dynamic, and we don’t have historical baggage,” he said.