HK students intern in US Congress
Two Year Two students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have been serving internships at the US Congress as part of the Global China Studies program.
School of Humanities and Social Science associate dean Agnes Ku Shuk-mei said the aim is to train the students to view China with a global perspective.
“The core of this program is to understand China. Global perspectives and cross-culture perspectives enable students to view things from different angles.”
The students’ duties include sorting mail, answering phone calls and researching assigned topics, as well as being Capitol Hill tour guides.
Matthew Tang Chuen-ngai was assigned to work at Alaska Congressman Don Young’s office, while Vanessa Lau Tin-lam is serving at Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush’s office.
The congressional internships are part of the exchange program agreed between the university and the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.
The interns take courses at the university while doing part-time and unpaid internships three days a week from 9am to 6pm.
Both joined the university last September.
Lau said it was interesting to learn how Americans viewed China and wanted to know more about the country through her.
“When they come across things about China, they would ask: is that true?”
Lau said the challenge for her was not the language but the culture.
She had to answer phone inquiries about various topics and sometimes did not really understand what she was being asked.
“The Americans did not blame me as they realized I was new,” she said.
Apart from the internship, Tang took a course covering the political system in the United States.