Choosing the right university can be a daunting process, with endless options and high competition. That wasn’t the case for Nadia Iman Tsabitarana. She had the most trustworthy advisor one could have: her twin sister. “When I saw how much my sister enjoyed her student life at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), it excited me,” she says.
Nadia and her twin sister Rasikarana Iman Tsamara, known as Temmy, are Indonesians. They were raised in Hong Kong and attended international school there. After graduating high school, Temmy started looking for a university in Hong Kong. She considered their performance on global rankings, programmes offered and location. PolyU fulfilled all of these aspects. “It recently went up in global rankings and has a wide range of programmes that you can choose from. Its strategic location in the centre of the city makes it so convenient to travel around and explore,” says Temmy.
Nadia went on a gap year. As she enjoyed this experience — and had an international upbringing — PolyU and its diversity felt like the right next step. “It continuously encourages students to develop a global worldview by offering the range of opportunities available through university life, Service-Learning, and Work-Integrated Education programmes. I wanted to take part in that,” says Nadia. “Hong Kong and PolyU can offer me a unique experience where I feel as if I am traveling all over the world via the people I meet.”
Work-Integrated Education (WIE) and Service-Learning are experiential opportunities unique to PolyU. The former — a compulsory component of all full-time undergraduate programmes in PolyU — refers to a special internship programme that provides work-based learning experiences that is relevant to a student’s future profession of choice. The programme aims to help students develop a range of valuable attributes and to apply theories to real-life situations. Service-Learning combines community service with academic study and reflections. Not only does it enhance students’ sense of civic responsibility and engagement, but it also benefits the community at large.
“More than just academic success”
PolyU’s performance in international league tables over the years is impressive. It is among the top 50 in the world — on QS and Shanghai Rankings — for several subjects. For Temmy, it was more than just this that drew her to PolyU’s BSc (Hons) in Applied Biology with Biotechnology. It was its accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) — an internationally-recognised professional body that promotes the advancement of skills and education in the biosciences. “I have always been passionate about biological sciences because the field covers a broad range of interesting topics and opens up a world of exciting career options,” Temmy explains. “I chose it as my major as it is a growing industry that will have a significant impact on the advancement of human healthcare.”
Nadia took a different path: a BBA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance. “I was delighted to find out that PolyU offers broad discipline programmes for business students, which allows me to explore all majors under the Faculty of Business,” said Nadia.
What about life at PolyU? For the twins, it is full of excitement. There is a wide variety of activities covering sports, art, and culture for students. Drawing on her roots, Temmy joined the Indonesian Student Association (IDSA) in PolyU as a member, while Nadia is its president. Nadia is also a member of the Business Club. For Temmy, the friendships she’s gained at ISDA is invaluable. “When I came to know of this student association, I immediately joined because I wanted to meet and get to know the people from my home country,” she says.
As for Nadia, it’s about the opportunities they bring. “I immerse myself in numerous exciting and joyful activities, I can pursue a wealth of opportunities to meet new people and make lifelong connections and friendships from diverse cultures and nationalities,” she says. “It also helps me to attain new skills, enhance my soft skill and hard skills.”
The halls of residence at PolyU offer a vibrant ecosystem to forge even more global connections. For students who are away from home, a supportive community helps them navigate campus life and thrive in their home away from home.
Both Temmy and Nadia would recommend PolyU to friends and family — without hesitation. “PolyU pushes me to go beyond my comfort zone to find and develop my strengths with a global perspective. It helps me prepare for the journey after university,” Nadia says.