Tom Byer is tasked with implementing a total sea-change in the way the country of over a billion people perceives and coaches the sport. As the Chinese Super League...
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I’ve lived in Hong Kong all my life. I’ve studied at CDNIS for 14 years. I absolutely love the school! It’s like a second home to me.
Q. How will you celebrate your great results?
I’ll be going to Maxim’s Palace at City Hall to yum cha with my extended family.
Q. What are your plans for the summer?
I spent half a month in Sapporo for a cultural immersion. A typical day would consist of me going to school in the mornings to learn Japanese and participating in activities like soba-making in the afternoon. My host family from last year decided to take me in again, which was very nice of them. I’d like to go again next year — I had such a great time!
Q. What are your plans for next year? Will you go to University or take a gap year?
I will be attending the University of Cambridge, Trinity College, to study linguistics.
Q. Do you have a career in mind? Can you tell us how you chose that option?
I don’t have a set career in mind, but it would be cool to work as a translator for the UN. I’ll admit that the amount of responsibility and pressure that comes with the job is scary, but I’m always up for a challenge. I have also considered going into academia to conduct research on multilingualism and language acquisition. I’d love to be a novelist as a side job though!
Q. What did you do to relax during the peak study period in your final year?
My three go-to comforts: books, anime and yoga. I would schedule around 90 minutes everyday to do at least one of the three. It’s kind of funny actually — I wasn’t stressed out during finals, but I definitely was after. The days leading up to results day made me want to pull my hair out.
Q. What is your hobby and what do you like most about it?
I absolutely love learning languages! Growing up in a multilingual household buzzing with Cantonese, Mandarin and English, the diversity of languages has always captivated me.
I’m very grateful that I had such amazing French teachers for the past 7 years. I have them to thank for my growing appreciation of the language. I’ve actually recently developed a bit of a crush on the poet Rimbaud.
I began learning Japanese around 2 years ago. My initial motivation was to watch anime without subtitles, though I’ve slowly fallen in love with Japanese culture. I especially enjoy the literature (Mishima!) and food (dango!).
German was another language that I picked up 2 years ago. I had wanted to delve deeper into the nation’s rich history and philosophy, as well as read the original version of Grimms’ Fairy Tales. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ll keep working at it.
My English teacher once told me that language keeps us divided. It alienates and assimilates. My language learning journey can thus be likened to one of building a bridge between communities. It has without a doubt empowered me to discover cultures different to my own. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with such a diverse range of people, all of whom have greatly shaped my values today.
Q. Do you play a sport and what made you choose it?
I was an active child, having grown up figure skating as well as playing basketball and volleyball. In these recent years, I’ve been focusing a lot more on martial arts, specifically Wing Chun and Muay Thai. I initially chose the sport because it made me feel super badass and brought me closer to my childhood dream of becoming a spy. Nowadays, I find Wing Chun really growing on me as it helps me feel more connected to my local HK heritage.
Q. Have you been involved in any volunteer or charity work during your final year?
During my DP years at CDNIS, I was involved with the Student Activists for Gender Equality and the Environmental Club. We regularly hosted discussions and awareness campaigns.
Over the summer, I’ve gotten involved with an organisation called Wikitongues, whose aim is to preserve linguistic and hence cultural diversity. I’ve recently helped them record a video on Hong Kong Sign Language.
I have to admit that it was very easy for me to grow self-centered during the IBDP with the overwhelming workload. Volunteer work is definitely something I hope to do more of in the future. I will strive to use my knowledge of languages to cultivate stronger relationships between communities. There are so many issues plaguing our world today, but also so many opportunities for action that we could and should take.
Q. Can you offer some advice for students approaching their last year at school?
My biggest DP advice for future DP students is to get to know your teachers and counsellors. I’ve learnt so much from them both inside and outside the classroom. Yes, they are super knowledgeable about their subject and have without a doubt helped me with my studies. However, I find that it is their wealth of experience and advice that has really inspired me to grow as a person.