Reporters: Stephanie Chan, Joana U, Jennifer Xu
Editor: Edith Liu
They speak Cantonese, they eat Cantonese food, they follow the same fashion trends. In fact, they share the same culture as most of their Hong Kong peers – except they carry Macanese S.A.R. passports.
More and more students from Macau are seeking places at Hong Kong’s universities. According to the Immigration Department, the number of student visas issued to Macanese students almost doubled from 58 in 2008 to 108 in 2010. Likewise, the number of employment visas issued to Macau residents nearly doubled from 31 to 63 in the same period.
In order to understand what attracts young Macanese to Hong Kong institutes of learning, Varsity spoke to four Macau students, a secondary school student, a first year Macanese student at a Hong Kong university, and two recent graduates from Hong Kong universities.
Agnes Ng will graduate from high school in June, “About 70% of my classmates have applied for universities in Hong Kong,” she said. “One of my classmates has already been accepted by CUHK, we all think that she is so great!”
Ng has already been accepted by two universities, the University of Macau and Peking University. Although Peking University has ranked as the top university in China for three years, starting from 2008, Ng says her first choice is still Hong Kong.
Ng believes that Hong Kong can provide her with a platform for learning better English and a chance to intern at a big company. She is also attracted by the world rankings of the universities in Hong Kong.
Though Macau and Hong Kong share a similar culture, Hong Kong still gives Macanese students a different experience. Timothy Lam is an undergraduate at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He feels that Hong Kong students are more hardworking and competitive.
Amelia Loi, a recent graduate from CUHK, has a similar impression. She says she can feel Hong Kong’s fast pace of life once she boards the ferry to Hong Kong..
Macau students see universities in Hong Kong as a stepping stone to a brighter future. Shortly after Varsity’s interview, Loi found a job as a reporter.
However, Macanese identity may be a drawback in job-hunting.
Loi’s classmate, was offered a job with a local Hong Kong television station but the offer was withdrawn days later because the company did not want to apply for his work visa.
“There is no difference in ability between Macau people and Hong Kong people,” said Ip. “I did feel bad……this is just because of my Macau identity.”
Although Ip had an unhappy experience when job-hunting in Hong Kong, he still enjoyed his four years of university life here. He found it was easy to adapt to life in Hong Kong. “Sometimes people just forgot that I am a Macau person,” Ip said.