Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Interactive Arts + Technology
SFU Co-op Student

empty
five friends on the bikes
I found that I was so passionate about what I was doing that not only does time fly, but you will learn to take ownership of your work

Have you ever thought about developing your career in Hong Kong? I was in your shoes not too long ago, looking and applying to many different placements in Canada and the US. My parents, who are from Hong Kong, suggested, “why not try Hong Kong?” You know what? That was a great suggestion! The best part of doing a co-op is that you have the luxury to “test” out a job for 4 months and walk away if you really hate it, take this same mentality to try out a totally different working environment and working style. Based on my co-op placement so far, which was recently extended to 1 year, I have a couple of suggestions about working in Hong Kong that might help prepare you if you are considering this option for your co-op.

1. Expect a Very Different Culture and Embrace It

At first, I had trouble adapting to the culture mainly because I didn’t know Cantonese very well. I thought I would embarrass myself if I asked simple questions, but it turns out that it wasn’t a barrier, rather it is a good way to break the ice. I started asking people where the best restaurants were, what are the best places to see, and I found that as long as you are respectful the people of Hong Kong are more than happy to guide you. I’m lucky to have met some amazing colleagues who share similar interests while working. Even after nine hours of working together, we still manage to not be sick of each other to go to events, dinner parties, and hang out together on weekends. I recommend treating your colleagues not just as a coworker, rather, take the first step and ask them to go for a drink, and believe me, you will learn a lot more than just things they will tell you at work.

2. Hong Kong Is Very Fast Paced

It has always been a known fact that Hong Kong is very fast-paced in terms of working. To put this into perspective, expect to be assigned a task while you are already working 30, and it is expected that the task is completed by the next morning before your boss arrives. This might sound brutal, but once you get immersed in a project, you feel so attached to the project that you will be living and breathing it. I found that I was so passionate about what I was doing that not only does time fly, but you will learn to take ownership of your work(a very important soft skill to learn). I highly recommend experiencing this for yourself because the work you deliver will be much better than just doing it for the sake of getting it done. My suggestion is to not limit yourself to only find a job in one place, but rather to experience different cultures and working environments. Learn not only to do your job well but also to learn soft skills such as communication and leadership. Being in a totally new environment can push you to newer and higher limits, you will be surprised by how much more you can learn!

SFU Co-op Student

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Headshot of Yuchen Ni standing in front of a parking lot surrounded by trees
A Guide to Becoming Successful in the Accounting Field

A year ago, Yuchen was a full-time student without any work experience. After a long time, she landed my first Co-op position. Here are Yuchen's 5 tips for transitioning from being a student to working in the field as an accountant.

Left Image: Robin with ex-Sony Music President, Right Image: Robin with two pilots in the cockpit
Robin: From Auditing to Snowboarding

Robin's work term with KPMG was filled with exciting clients, top-notch teammates, and continuous learning in a challenging and changing business arena. They decided to article with KPMG during the Auditing busy season which runs from January to April. The busy season is always daunting, and in particular, starting a Co-op work term during one was terrifying. Read Robin's experience to learn more about KPMG!

Tina with 2010 olympic mascots; Sumi, Miga, then Quatchi
Reaching for Gold: Co-op Leads Tina Morabi to Career with VANOC

It is a Co-op student's dream to land a job right after graduation because of their work experience. Better yet, to land that job because you worked for them as a Co-op student. That was the case for Tina Morabi; her co-op job with VANOC landed her a full time position upon graduation.