Newsletter No. 265

The I-House AT HOME IN THE WORLD, IN THE WORLD AT HOME B efore the start of this academic year , certain undergraduat e student s a t the Chinese Universit y — local and non - local alik e — wer e presente d wit h a brand ne w optio n whe n aske d t o i n d i c a te t h e i r a c c ommo d a t i o n preferences. This option i s I-House, short for Internationa l Hous e — th e lates t addition t o CUHK's internationalizatio n landscape. As a resul t o f it s highl y successfu l internationalization drive , the Universit y has a n increase d non-loca l studen t enrolment. I-Hous e arose out of the need to provid e additiona l accommodation s for these students without sacrificin g the lodging needs of local students. Although the Universit y Grant s Committe e ha s approved th e constructio n o f ne w hostels, these take time, and the idea for a world unde r on e roo f cam e about . I t would solv e th e lodgin g proble m an d very creativel y an d effectivel y a t that . More importantly , i t woul d serv e a s a pilot fo r the promotio n o f multicultura l activities o n campus . M i x of Foreign, Local, Ma i n l and Students Physically I-Hous e i s a two-bloc k affair comprisin g wha t wer e Staf f Residences 5 an d 6 , whic h ha d bee n postgraduate studen t hall s befor e th e conversion. I n the first year, I-House will provide 30 0 space s which wil l increas e to 450 afte r restructuring i n the summe r of 2006. The student mix is one part local to on e par t non-loca l an d on e par t exchange student . As the grea t majorit y of non-local student s hail from mainlan d China with the figure being 250 out of a total o f 280 this year, exchange student s are there to highligh t th e 'I' i n I-House . Each flat ha s one tripl e roo m an d thre e doubles and/o r singles . A balance d cultural mi x i s maintained i n each flat but the student s ge t t o choos e thei r roommates. Most loca l and non-local boarder s of I-House ar e Yea r 2 o r mor e senio r students recommended by their colleges. Explaining th e rational e behin d th e choice, Prof . Michael Hui , associate pro- v i ce - chance l l or an d professo r o f marketing, says , 'Yea r 2 student s hav e already experience d colleg e lif e fo r a year. We'r e hopin g tha t thei r sens e o f belonging t o thei r colleg e woul d b e strong enough that they would continu e taking par t i n colleg e activitie s whil e residing in I-House. We ll als o encourage them t o d o so.' Prof . Hu i als o believe s CUHK student s wantin g t o g o o n overseas exchange but have not yet done so o r canno t d o s o for variou s reason s should giv e I-House a try. Afte r all , i t i s as close to an environment of cultural and linguistic immersio n a s the y ca n ge t without havin g t o for k ou t $30 0 fo r a Lonely Planet trave l guide . The Management I-House policies ar e formulated b y the I-Hous e Managemen t Committe e which i s headed b y Prof . Michae l Hui . Other members of the committee includ e the hous e wardens , th e Directo r o f Student Affairs, the Director of Academic Links, the hea d of the Internationa l an d Mainland Studen t Servicing Unit , a new section unde r the Student Affairs Office , and th e chairperso n o f th e l-Hous e Residents' Associatio n whic h wil l soo n be formed . Th e Internationa l an d Mainland Studen t Servicing Uni t i s also responsible fo r the daily managemen t o f I-House. I-House activities include orientation and breakfas t wit h th e wardens . Th e founding wardens ar e Prof. Jimmy Yu of the Department of Chemistry and his wife Joan wh o hav e bee n workin g wit h th e four residen t tutor s t o establis h th e I-House Residents ' Association. Prof. Hui is full o f praise for the couple. 'Jimmy i s a good teacher who ha s not only taugh t for a long time overseas , bu t serve d as an internationa l studen t adviser . We'r e very lucky that Joan is also willing to help. The femal e boarder s migh t b e mor e comfortable approachin g he r abou t certain issues. ' Ms . Jacqueline Lloyd , the head of the new International and Student Servicing Uni t who m Prof . Hu i helpe d to intervie w b y phone , i s a Hong Kong - born Eurasia n wh o studie d an d ha s experience managin g university housin g in the US . An t i c i pa t i on of Greater Cultural Empathy So far the receptio n b y students has been mixe d bu t Prof . Hu i put s i t dow n to a lack o f understanding . H e believe s that i n tim e thes e kink s w i l l iro n themselves out . 'Peopl e fro m differen t cultural background s have different ways of living and conducting themselves. For example, Hon g Kong students ma y tend to sta y u p late r tha n thei r mainlan d counterparts an d th e latte r ma y hav e certain habits that the former find strange. It's not a matter of who's righ t or wrong . If anything, i t goes to show precisely that they nee d mor e exposure to and respec t for othe r cultures . Ther e ar e alway s reasons for the way people live and think. If we understand these reasons, our vision will expan d an d ou r relationship s wil l improve.' Prof. Hu i als o observes tha t certai n students ma y b e afrai d t o ventur e int o new territor y whic h they , incidentally , also hav e no t bothere d t o lear n muc h about. Howeve r h e believe s firml y tha t the I-Hous e wil l prov e it s worth. 'If w e do i t well, ou r greates t worr y afte r on e or two year s ma y b e how t o hous e th e overwhelming numbe r o f student s wh o want t o liv e there.' Piera Chen Business Student Gains Valuable Experience in Global Village K itty Tong , a Year 3 business administration studen t a t the University , joined 7 9 other young business leader s from 3 3 countries and regions around the world t o spend si x weeks o n the Globa l Villag e programm e i n the US . The programme wa s organized b y lacocc a Institut e o f Lehig h Universit y i n the US . I t aims a t equippin g participants wit h the essential skill s and knowledge o f a future business leade r i n a multicultural environment . The participants , age d 1 9 t o 53 , comprise d undergraduates, postgraduate s an d busines s professional s from a wide rang e o f backgrounds . The y wen t throug h a vigorous selectio n proces s throug h whic h the y wer e assessed on thei r academi c performance , leadershi p ability, hands-o n busines s experience, an d opennes s to learning . Kitty was the only representative from Hong Kong and one of eight from Asia. The candidates attende d business seminar s and talks b y prominen t figure s o f the US Department o f Defense , the Unite d Nations , and other organizations. They also presented projects and paid visits to the Federal Reserve Bank, New York City, and Washington DC . Non-local SocialWork StudentsSurge to Record H i gh I n l i n e w i t h t h e University's polic y t o broaden it s studen t mix , the Departmen t o f Socia l Work ha s been recruitin g high-calibre non-loca l students to its postgraduate programmes. Thi s year , a record hig h o f 1 3 non - local student s hav e bee n admitted to the articulated M.Phil.-Ph.D. i n Socia l Welfare Programm e an d the Maste r o f Socia l Science i n Socia l Wor k Programme. Al l com e from leadin g mainlan d universities, includin g Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Nanjin g University, Nanka i University, Renmi n Universit y of China, Xiamen University , and the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy o f Social Science . 2 No. 265 4t h October 200 5