Andrew Chu, a final year student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, was supposed to finish his last year of study this year. Instead, he suspended his studies and got a job at Gogoro – the famous scooter and battery company. For most Asian students, finding a job after graduating from university isn’t easy, let alone a good one. Andrew, however seemed to do it without breaking a sweat.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Andrew graduated from Dazhi Senior High School and went to Hong Kong to pursue his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. During his three years at university, he went on an exchange program to the Netherlands and traveled to 40 European countries. He did four internships, which allowed him to work and live near Amazon for two months, and strived to become one of the top interns for a Singaporean wealth management company. He also made it to one of the global top 10 interns Adecco’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland for training.
Even though he has been through all these experiences, making decisions has never been an easy task for him. According to Andrew, he had no clue what he wanted to do when he was in his freshmen year at university. So he spent the first two summers of his university years on those four internships in four different areas. Andrew attended conferences, business dialogues, served as the president of CUHK’s Toastmasters English speaking club, and he traveled as well. “Not until you try will you realize what you like and what you don’t,” said Andrew. So how did Andrew make his decisions? “Be honest with your feelings, and be critical with your actions,” he answered.
He highly encourages high school students to keep asking themselves what they like or what they want. If they have no clue, why not take a gap year and explore a bit? He regrets not taking a gap year when he graduated from high school and went straight into university like all his classmates did. “The costs of exploring are the least when you’re still young, and that’s why as a high school student or university undergrad your responsibility is to explore actively what you like and want to pursue.”
Most Asian parents expect their children to attend college right after high school, but there are some potential consequences. As far as he knows, most high school students ponder a lot about their future, hesitate to make decisions and are sometimes frustrated. Without knowing what they really want to do in their future, Taiwanese students put their faith in the college entrance exams. This can lead to problems, as students might not get to try what they want. So, why not pause a bit and take a gap year to explore?
He also recommends high school students look into universities in European countries if they are considering studying abroad. During his exchange at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, he immersed himself in the PBL (Problem Based Learning) teaching system, which requires students to take responsibility for facilitating a class of 15 people and engaging with each and every student in the classroom. His way of learning is definitely more effective than sitting in a podium and listening to the professor speaking eloquently.
As a high school student, I am glad to have met Andrew in person to conduct this interview. With all his advice, I find myself more confident and clear on what I can do to explore my potential. Hopefully his experience will help you do the same.