I’ve now heard plenty of students utter the phrase “I want to broaden my horizons,” like a mantra. I’ll be sure to ask them to clarify further. But for now, it has me wondering about China’s unfathomable size – and how difficult it would be for one individual to distinguish themselves.
My homeland, America, is no 98-pound weakling: 300 million is nothing to sneeze at. Not only is China quadruple the size, but it boasts at least 170 cities with a population of 1 million or more.
To boot, I can’t help but note that most Chinese have a rather singular look: medium height and build, straight black hair. Anxious I was stereotyping, I asked my Chinese-American teaching partner, Peter Eng; to my relief, he conceded that he, too, is so far having difficulty telling our students apart.
Now, I’ve long entertained the question: Would I rather be a small fish in a large pond, or a larger fish in a smaller pond? Yes, I prefer the latter. Most of us would, I think.
So for our students, most of whom hail from these sprawling metropolises, studying international journalism in Hong Kong represents more than a master’s degree: HK is a uniquely cosmopolitan Chinese city; this field may offer exciting, exotic travel opportunities, far from the rat-race back home; and lastly, they’re honing their English skills, at a time when English is a highly valued skill.
That’s certainly one way to distinguish yourself.