MARCH 2015
Crossing Multi-cultural Landscapes

To overcome different challenges in the age of globalization and multiculturalism, it is very important to develop critical thinking skills with diversified perspectives of the world. But such opportunities do not come by easily. That is why Vanessa Lau and Matthew Tang relished the opportunity to work in the offices of United States Congressmen as students of HKUST.

The School of Humanities and Social Science forged an exchange program with the Catholic University of America (UCA) at Washington DC. Students participating in the exchange program would have the opportunity to serve as interns in US politicians’ offices. Since January 2014, Vanessa and Matthew had been working as congressional interns in the offices of Chicago Democrat Congressman Bobby Rush and Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young respectively for six months.

Apart from learning from the administrative routines in the office, both Vanessa and Matthew gained exceptional exposures from their internships. Vanessa visited Congress members’ offices in more than 30 states and was deeply impressed by how rich and diverse each state’s culture was. Matthew, on the other hand, built up his knowledge on current political issues in the US which he rarely encountered in Hong Kong. While researching into the background of each issue, he was able to form his own opinions and critiques from a non-citizen’s point of view.

Getting to know more about different cultures, both Vanessa and Matthew learnt to open up themselves and adapting to the new environment in their daily lives. Most importantly, they familiarized themselves with a multi-perspective approach on how to deal with global issues.

Vanessa Lau, Global China Studies student, worked as a congressional intern in the office of Chicago Democrat Congressman Bobby Rush.