Sophie Yim | David Poon Tik Ki

Ivona Mičeková | 4 December 2019

edit: Michal Micovčín

  1. Please introduce yourself in a few sentences. 

Dave: I am Dave Poon from Hong Kong, currently in my final year of study. I enjoy playing video games, proudly, and played a little bit of rugby. Now I focus more in the gym than on other things. I am interested in many things, but never focusing on being a master of anything. That’s me.

Sophie: I am Sophie Yim, an exchange student from Hong Kong’s Lingnan University. My major is translation. I speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English and Korean. I am learning French now.

  1. For what reasons have you decided to study in Slovakia?

Dave: I decided to study in Slovakia because it is in a very good geographical position that allows me to quickly access other European countries, while being considerably cheaper than other options.

Sophie: I came to Slovakia because of the location and the cheaper price.

  1. How do you feel about living in Slovakia?

Dave: Living in Slovakia is a really interesting experience. It is very common that the menus are in Slovak rather than in English so I had to learn to use google translate, all the time, to get around and it is always a joy when I bump into someone who can speak English with me in the city. Even at the foreign police, some of the officers did not speak English, which is very interesting for me as well. Also, the fact that I can hop on a bus and go to other countries without going through border controls is also very inspiring for me as I experience European integration firsthand. And I really enjoy the stand-around-a-tall-table-and-drink-wine-and-talk style of socializing.

Sophie: Since I come from a really big and rich city, I feel like life in Bratislava is very different. It is not in a fast pace and not very business-oriented like Hong Kong. 

  1. How do you evaluate BISLA as a school?

Dave: A very lovely environment. Everything from the friendly classmates, knowledgeable lecturers to the comfy interior design. I worried a lot about the very small school population before I came here, because I am used to schools with around one thousand students, but I have realized that it is one of the reasons why this place is so fun. It allows students to form a closer bond and that is very lovely.

Sophie: BISLA is a really nice school. The relationship between students is close and the teachers are friendly. The courses offered are also interesting.

  1. What are similar characteristics of BISLA and your university? What is different?

Dave: I would say that Lingnan University and BISLA are as radically different as they can be. From my experience in learning at the business faculty. It is mostly one-sided lectures given by the lecturer. Surely there are students that would ask for clarification but it is really rare to see students actually contributing to the class. Here, interactions are really encouraged and I am expected to speak, ask questions rather than being quiet and take notes. Also, students actually hang out on campus here in BISLA while at Lingnan university, socializing mostly takes place in the dormitory.

Sophie: Both schools are liberal arts schools. But my university does not only focus on social sciences.

  1. What was the biggest culture shock for you?

Dave: One of the bigger culture shocks is that, it is odd to eat pasta with every meal because I can eat rice with every meal. For the long time, I have thought that rice to people from Hong Kong is equivalent to pasta for the Europeans. Unbelievable! Actually, my biggest cultural shock is the way romantic relationships are handled here. The sheer number of romantic relationships that some of my Spanish, French friends have had is simply mind-blowing for me. Some of them have had an experience so early, that I had to do a quick Google check, to see if that is even legal. Unbelievable!

Sophie: The fact that Europeans do not eat peanut butter. Since I am a peanut butter lover, I was so surprised that it is difficult to find it here.

  1. How do you fell about the current situation in Hong Kong?

Dave: I feel like it is hard for foreigners to really understand the nuances of the movement and sometimes it can be quite frustrating to explain to them what the movement is all about. Let’s take the element of violence as an example, the protests in Hong Kong are now mostly violent. Hong Kong people never shy away from admitting that we perceive violence as a tool to fight for what we want, the five demands. On the contrary, it is the pro-china, pro-government media that separates the violent rioters and the peaceful protesters in an attempt to marginalize and demonize the violent protesters while in reality, the peaceful protesters support most of the violence because we know that they are the most crucial power that this movement has. Without the violence and the demonized violent protestors, this movement would have been a failure at the very beginning. It is really awkward to explain this, because most foreigners’ understanding of the philosophy and the tactics of the protesters are very shallow, and frankly they might be supporting Hong Kong for the wrong reason.

Sophie: I wish all the best to Hong Kong.

  1. Can you imagine spending your whole life in Hong Kong?

Dave: Yes. Despite the political uncertainty and many disadvantages of an insanely populated city, this is my home. The language, the food, the people, this is where I belong.

Sophie: Yes. Maybe I will live somewhere else for a short time, but I will definitely stay there for my whole life.

  1. What is your biggest dream in life?

Dave: For now, to see Hong Kong win.

Sophie: I haven't really thought about it. But be kind and hardworking is my motto.