15 alumni returned to UM on 26 October 2019 to share their stories on study and career with the younger generation of FAH students. These alumni graduated from different classes of years, and are currently working in different fields of expertise.
Four panels of discussion were organized on 4 different career themes: i) public service; ii) education; iii) culture and event planning; and iv) language and research. The alumni from these four career backgrounds were generous and unreserved in sharing their career insights with the current students. Dr Sonia Ao, Prof Brian Chan, Prof Mei Leng Tam and Prof Chap Fun Cheong from various teaching units served as the moderators of the panel discussion.
The Q&A session generated thought-provoking questions and positive feedback from the current students, who all enjoyed and benefitted tremendously from the sharing by the alumni, and received first-hand and relevant knowledge to prepare for their professional life.
Prof. Joaquim Kuong, FAH’s Assistant Dean for Faculty Promotion and Events Planning, and Prof Ben Ma wrapped up the panel discussion, and thanked all the panelists and the current students for their participation.
Panel 1: Public Service
Teresa Wong/Chinese Language and Literature/I.A.M Assistant Technician(Administration)
“Patience is important.”
I am currently working in the IT department of the Municipal Affairs Institute (IAM). Although IT may not seem to be relevant to my major, I actually deal with a lot of paperwork in my daily operations, such as writing letters, proposals, etc. I can put what I learned into practice.
I encourage everyone to try different part-time jobs while studying at the university, Student can first exclude jobs they are not interested in, so that they can gradually discover what they really like. In addition, students interested in working in government should be reminded that it takes time and effort to prepare for the civil service exam. Patience is important.
Ieong Weng Chi/ Chinese Language and Literature/Reading Promoter
3 criteria in job search: “Interest, money, and prospect”
I think the difference between the society and a school is a person’s individual initiative. Students may be passive learners, but they must be active in the competitive society. After graduation, a student can choose a job according to three criteria: interest, money, and prospect.
I chose to follow my interest because I like literature very much. So I chose to work in a bookstore. Now I work as a reading promoter. At first, I didn’t know how to promote books, but my enthusiasm about my job gave me the determination and motivation to keep learning. Although my salary is lower than in other industries, I have never considered changing my job because I really love it.
Tylor Ian/Japanese Studies & Business Administration/Senior Manager
“…you must keep learning and enhancing your competitiveness”
I remember that there were about fifty students in our class at the beginning, but only ten graduated eventually. Looking back although it was a tough learning process, I did benefit a lot. The economic environment in Macao was not ideal when I graduated, which forced me to choose reality rather than dreams. Nowadays, the economic condition in Macao is much better. The industries have been expanding, and employment opportunities are everywhere.
I would encourage everyone to set a deadline for yourself to pursue your dreams. On the other hand, competition is becoming fierce. One bachelor’s degree can no longer meet the expectations of the society. Therefore, no matter which industry you are in, you must keep learning and enhancing your competitiveness. You learn knowledge from books during university. But in the society, you will be learning how to be a better person. Please remember that learning and reality are inseparable.
Panel 2: Education
Kaman Cheong/Chinese Language and Literature /Kindergarten teacher
“…great communication is a solid bridge to connect people”
When I was a freshman, there was a Campus Training Program at UM. I worked a Reading Promotor in the University Library from year one until I graduated. After graduation, I was lucky to be able to work in the local schoole Instituto Salesiano. I’ve accumulated much precious experience in 5 years. Since I welcome new challenges, I decided to transfer to Escola Chong Tak as a kindergarten teacher.
My past experience makes me realize that as a teacher, it is very important to master your communication skills. We are likely to encounter all kinds of people that have different characteristics and working styles in the society. I think great communication is a solid bridge to connect people with each other. Secondly, in my opinion, the sense of responsibility is a must. Not only are we obligated to finish the tasks assigned to us, but as a teacher, it is also important for me to be responsible to students.
Francisco Lam/Japanese Studies/Secondary School Teacher
“…time-management skills and communication skills are very important.”
After I graduated from university, I met my high school principal and he invited me to take up some administrative work and the Japanese extracurricular activities in my alma mater. He also suggested to me that I take a teacher training course on Morality and Citizenship. During the course, I accumulated knowledge and experience in teaching area. As a teacher, I think time-management skills and communication skills are very important. During a class, it is very hard to find a balance between different people, different topics, and different values. But in my opinion, it is better to convince students in a more gentle way, rather than causing the misunderstanding that the teacher is trying to force them into accepting what the teacher is teaching. In current education industry, to the younger generation nowadays, it is very important to know how to communicate with them, and let them get to know each other during the process.
Vicky Chan/English Studies/IFT English lecturer
“We must…constantly learn new things.”
I think as an English teacher, communicative and organizational skills are very important. For communicative skills, it’s not only for teaching but also for the collaboration among your colleagues with different backgrounds. I think you have to be aware of these cultural differences so that you can communicate with them. Another thing is the organizational skills, how you are going to prepare the lesson and because of this, time management is important as well since you cannot exceed the time limit. I think as a teacher, in addition to teaching knowledge in the books, it is more important is to give psychological counseling to students. Sometimes students will ask you philosophical or emotional questions, so you should always be prepared to answer some unexpected questions. In addition, as a teacher, we must constantly improve our abilities. After all, English is not our mother tongue, so we must keep up with the times and constantly learn new things.
Henry Chao/English Studies/University of Macau- English Language Center Teaching fellow
“…to be a teacher is to be fearless”
The crucial thing to be a teacher is to be fearless, because when you are afraid, it is very difficult to express your idea accurately to the students. Also, I think the most important thing about education is to enable students to understand the knowledge taught in the class and make sure they can grasp the information you want to pass to them. Education surely has certain difficulties and hardships, but in fact every industry will have its hardship and helplessness. So, I think a teacher shouldn’t be afraid of hard work. Try to think from the perspective of the students, and treat them as friends, so that the teaching method will be more acceptable to students. In addition, you must learn how to persist on the road of teaching, and don’t be afraid of failure. It is because you will often encounter some unsatisfactory things at work. Don’t give up, re-adjust your mind and try again, then you will grow.
Panel 3: Culture and event planning
Gladys Wong/Chinese Language and Literature /Event Planning Manager
“…follow your true interest when choosing your major or profession.”
I am an outgoing person, therefore I decided to work as a flight attendant as my first job after graduation. Since then, I have not stopped challenging myself. I have worked in different sectors, such as hospitality and media. After several years of exploration, I finally realized that I have a strong interest in culture. Upon finishing my master’s degree of Museum Studies in the United Kingdom. I returned to Macau started working in the cultural industry.
I remembered I chose to major in Chinese because I love culture. I believe it is very important to follow your true interest when choosing your major or profession. You will put your efforts in it naturally. You will find a sense of satisfaction during the process, and then will have the feeling of accomplishment. You can also be better and happier.
Work experience needs to be accumulated. When I was a flight attendant, I had the opportunity to meet different people from all over the world. I also travel around. Such experience deepened my love for culture and helped me to establish my goals. When you feel confused upon graduation, try imagining the kind of person you want to become in five years, and you may be able to know yourself better. I was not confident when I graduated. Prof. Tam (of DCLL) encouraged me by saying that “the most important thing is to know how to face difficulties and not to escape from them, as well as to prepare yourself and overcome them. There’s no need to be afraid. Give it a try first.” I hope that this message can also help everyone. You don’t have to pay too much attention to other’s opinion when choosing your career. Every profession has its value and deserves to be respected.
Max Gan/Chinese Language and Literature /Wealth Management Manager
“If nothing is ventured, then nothing is gained.”
I am a graduate of this year (2019). I chose to study Chinese because I like poetry, but I chose my job for bread. Although the job of an insurance manager doesn’t have a very good reputation in the society, it has a great space for development. Although I struggled a little before choosing the current profession, I thought that in this industry can meet a lot of people, but train myself to better communicate with people, which can help me grow. Fortunately with the encouragement of my parents and friends, I decided to give it a try with the determination that there would be no loss anyway. Students who are not clear about their career goals can give themselves three years or so to try. Look for the environment that suits you. “If nothing is ventured, then nothing is gained.” You need not be afraid. Just give it a try. You’ll gain something.
Sara/English Studies/Founder of Yang Illustration
“Learn with humility, demonstrate professionalism in your work, and achieve your goal step by step.”
I found my passion for illustration when I was in Year 4, so I hoped that I could go to England to further my studies in Art. Due to the highly correlated relationship between art, history and culture, the English literature and historical foundations knowledge that I learned in English studies has helped me a lot in my creation. After the complicated application process, I was so fortunate that finally I could enter my favorite school for further study.
I was once confused after I graduated and returned to Macau,. To strike a balance between making money and chasing my dreams, I chose to work as a full-time art administrator. Although the salary was not high, the flexibility of this job allowed me to have time to continue the work of the illustration. I could choose what I wanted to do when I did the illustration work, and I could maintain the quality of the work. At that time, I set myself with a time limit of three years. In the middle of this year, I finally became a full-time illustrator.
I hope to encourage all the students to first think about what you want, and then start thinking about how you can achieve your goals. If you have no experience, don’t be afraid of hardship. Learn with humility, demonstrate professionalism in your work, and achieve your goal step by step.
Panel 4: Language & Research
Victoria Leung/English Studies& Master of Arts in Translation Studies/C&CLawyers Chinese-English Translator
“If you are willing to actively participate in different activities, these experiences will enrich your resume.”
I was very confused when I was a junior, but after attending the interpreting classes taught by Professor Hari and Professor Victoria from FAH, I became interested in interpreting. I chose to continue my studies in English- Chinese Translation in University of Macau.
In the course of studying for a master’s degree, you will have more opportunities to explore your own preferences and gradually explore the path of your future career. I found my goal at that time and vowed to be a translator. After having a clear goal, I tried my best to gain more practical experience related to translation while I was a student. In fact, the development of the exhibition industry in Macao is quite successful. The forums of all sizes have certain demand for interpreters. There are a lot of practical opportunities in college. If you are willing to actively participate in different activities, these experiences will enrich your resume, and these experiences will be with you for a lifetime.
Christine Lu/History/Master of History
“…it is more important to know how to change your attitude.”
To successfully transit from undergraduate to post-graduate studies, the key is the transformation of your attitude. In particular, as I continued to pursue history major for my master degree, the curricular content is easier for me to connect with. During my undergraduate years, we would take general education courses. Sometimes you may have the feeling that the course content is not very practical in daily use. But I think taking general education courses has provided me with a lot of opportunities to learn new things, helping me to form a good habit of constantly learning and embracing unknown knowledge. This is what I’ve got from my undergraduate years. And as a graduate student, your attitude will shift from widely taking in new knowledge to focusing on academic research, and the expectations of yourself needs to be set higher. So it is more important to know how to change your attitude.
Elvira Wan/Portuguese Studies/University of Macau Chinese-Portuguese translator
“…it was not enough to rely on my four-year study to become an outstanding translator.”
I studied Portuguese in my bachelor’s programme at UM, and chose the field of translation when I was in my third year of study. After graduation, I thought it was not enough to rely on my four-year study to become an outstanding translator. Thus, in order to get a better job prospect, I decided to continue my postgraduate study in Chinese-Portuguese translation.
I study mainly during night time, so I have time to work during the day. I was very lucky to take part in the Portuguese-Chinese translation internship. In this period of internship, I have learned many useful skills and accumulated practical experience. I am very thankful that I had this precious experience during my university. I believe that this experience is the main reason for me to be admitted in Chinese-Portuguese translation major successfully.
Vitória Fong/Portuguese Studies/ Master of Arts in Second Language Acquisition
“In order to seize an opportunity when it comes, you must constantly improve yourself.”
When I graduated from university, I had the feeling of refusing to face the society and to start working. Fortunately, just when I graduated, UM started to recruit master’s students in second language acquisition (Portuguese). I thought it would be interesting, so I decided to give it a try. During the process of pursuing the master’s degree, I have a clearer understanding of my future direction.
Actually I feel very lucky that my family’s financial situation is not very difficult, I can choose to continue further studies after my undergraduate studies, instead of going to work right away. And I’m pretty happy to study in Macau. In addition to the scholarships, there’re many opportunities on campus that you can get some funding. You can help your professors with their research, or you can sign up for the Campus Training Program. You can not only get some financial support, but also accumulate precious experience. This kind of experience will better equip yourself. In order to seize an opportunity when it comes, you must constantly improve yourself. What’s more, when you are lost, sometimes you have to say goodbye to things that are less important. You can change the perspective, and ask yourself what you are tired of, and gradually grow to know yourself better.
Angela Medeiros/English Studies/University of St. Joseph PhD Student
“…try new things, try something that is out of your comfort zone.”
I actually worked for two years before I continued my master’s degree. I think that taking gap years to work to realize what you really want to do is very useful and important. It makes you realize how the society is, what you need for your job, and whether you have the financial means or not. I think the really important thing is to choose an area you really want to work in. Rather than doing something that you don’t like, it’s better to change it to something that you like. If you are not sure now, then try new things, try something that is out of your comfort zone. Although it might be very stressful at the beginning, it’s fine. Stress is part of your life.
As for scholarship application, I think the personal statement is very important. Some schools actually check your personal statement whether you are able to “sell” yourself or not before granting the scholarships. So I think you should definitely spend your time on personal statement and improve in this area if you need to.