With the high cost of university in the UK and USA, increasing numbers of our students are taking advantage of the financial support offered by top universities in Asia. Over the last three years, four of our students have won full Scholarships to Hong Kong University so we decided to find out more about this exciting new opportunity.
Hong Kong University was ranked 22nd in the world in the latest QS World University Rankings, the highest ranked university in Asia and the top university outside Europe and North America. Situated on a beautiful campus on Hong Kong Island, the university has an international reputation for its research and attracts some of the best academics from around the world. It boasts that its new graduates have a 100% employment rate for each of the past five years, a record any university in the world would be proud of.
Kaamil Ur Rahman was our first ever student to go to Hong Kong. Kaamil won a full Scholarship after gaining 4 A grades at A Level, with an average of 98% across his four subjects, including an incredible 100% in Biology, which was naturally the highest mark in the world. At Hong Kong, Kaamil defeated the top scientists from both HKU and other universities to win the Hong Kong Grand Final of FameLab, combining his scientific expertise with the speaking skills honed as Debating Club President in school. This led to him taking part in the international final in the UK and a further competition in India. One of his winning presentations showed he has not forgotten his Sri Lankan roots: it was on ‘The Wonders of Chilli’!
Kaamil’s younger brother, Jameel, had a lot to live up to. Although his average A Level mark was ‘only’ 97% and his highest a mere 99.5% in Physics, the introduction of A* grades allowed him to outdo Kaamil’s 4 A grades by gaining 4 A* grades. In his first year at Hong Kong, Jameel has already led a team that were runners-up in an engineering competition organised jointly by the university and IBM. Looking back on his time at school, he says: ‘Moir was one of the best things that has happened to me. The great teachers and small student body allowed everyone the chance to shine.’
Thilini Warnakulasuriya, a classmate of Kaamil’s, was another academic high-flyer, achieving an average of 93% at A Level, as well as excelling at Art and being Girls’ Basketball Captain. She is currently in her second year at Hong Kong studying Architecture and has had the opportunity to meet and work with famous architects from around the world. Thilini recently won the university’s prestigious award for the most outstanding international student and was also placed on the Dean’s Honours List. She says that she remains grateful to ‘all the wonderful teachers who guided me throughout my time at school (and still do now) and helped me to achieve what I have today’.
Naslam Basheer first went to Hong Kong while at school, at the invitation of Professor Malik Peiris, the world-famous virologist who isolated the SARS virus and the first Sri Lankan to be elected a member of the Royal Society in London. Naslam also averaged over 90% at A Level, earning himself the chance to return to Hong Kong full time. He too has fond memories of his time at school, saying: ‘During my time at Moir, I really enjoyed working in a family atmosphere with my friends and teachers’.
Professor John Spinks, Senior Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor at Hong Kong, has no doubt why our students are sought after by top universities. He says: ‘I remember so well the first time I went to Elizabeth Moir School because of the welcome I received, which, I reflected at the time, must be a good indicator of how positive the learning and living experience is at this school. We have been proud of every one of the students from Elizabeth Moir who has come to HKU. They seem to have a common set of competencies firmly rooted in being good citizens, and a uniform high level of academic achievement that will bode well for them in years to come.’
The University of Hong Kong holds our students in such high regard that we are now asked to recommend students for scholarships on an annual basis. This year, six students have been offered scholarships and given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of trailblazers like Kaamil, Thilini, Jameel and Naslam; no doubt many others will follow in the years to come.