In early October, a new partnership between Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was announced in preparation for the inaugural quarter of BOSP’s new Hong Kong program.
The program will begin in autumn 2019, becoming BOSP’s 12th active quarter-long study abroad program. It replaces the BOSP Beijing program, which was discontinued after spring 2017 due to low student interest and enrollment.
Students in the Hong Kong program will take CUHK classes as well as Stanford-specific courses taught by either CUHK faculty members or visiting Stanford academics.
The courses offered were chosen jointly by committees from both CUHK and Stanford. On the Stanford end, BOSP faculty director Ramón Saldívar appointed nine University faculty members from various disciplines to an advisory committee tasked with helping develop curricular options for program participants. Working together, Stanford and CUHK advisory committee members ultimately settled on 15 total course offerings.
One of the 15, “Science and Technology in China,” will be offered to both Stanford and CUHK students for the first time.
In addition to this academic partnership, program participants will live in the residential college system on CUHK’s campus alongside CUHK students.
While the Hong Kong program doesn’t have a language requirement, it will still offer a Mandarin language course and an elementary-level “survival” Cantonese course.
Despite the lack of a language requirement, Amy Seo ’22 — a student assistant at the BOSP office — said she thinks the program will still be an enriching cultural experience.
“I’m going to start learning Chinese starting next quarter,” Seo said. “I think you don’t learn language only in traditional classroom setting, but you also have to speak to the people there and learn about the culture.”
Lina Fowler ’22, however, expressed concern that the dominant Chinese dialect in Hong Kong is Cantonese rather than Mandarin.
“My only hesitation with the program would be that I won’t be able to utilize my [Mandarin] language skills,” Fowler said.
Management science and engineering professor Chuck Eesley will be the program’s faculty in residence for autumn 2019, and expressed eagerness to help students immerse themselves in the program.
“Things are changing so rapidly in China,” Eesley said “With exposure to the rise of high-tech entrepreneurship combined with history and culture, this is one of the most important study abroad programs that you can possibly do these days.”
Eesley will teach a course on financial technology and entrepreneurship, which both Stanford and CUHK students can take. He emphasized the importance of Hong Kong as the setting of the class, as students will not only be supported by mentors from the Hong Kong and Shenzhen area but also participate in field trips and meet with local entrepreneurs and government officials working in the financial regulation and technology sectors.
“I wanted the class to be one where I could take advantage of what’s unique about being in Hong Kong, and also include some of the new changes in technology that are being developed in that area,” Eesley said.
Kyle Zhu ’22 said that the program will offer participants a unique chance to experience life in a center of global commerce.
“It’s a good opportunity for people who want to get involved in business and tech,” Zhu said. “[It’s] definitely a very large business hub and, I think, [provides] international exposure.”
First round applications for the BOSP Hong Kong program will be due by Jan. 27, 2019, along with applications to all other Autumn 2019 programs.
“Myself, BOSP and everyone involved are really excited about making this a successful program,” Eesley said. “There’re lots of people’s time and resources going towards this program to make sure that this is a worthwhile experience for Stanford students.”