University life blossomed with a serving spirit
Issue No. 79 May 2018
When it comes to May, a new batch of fresh graduates is ready to turn a new chapter of their life. Among them is Chan Yim-kwai, a year-four student of Translation who has received the Dr and Mrs James Tak Wu Award for Outstanding Service (Student Award) in recognition of her strong commitment to serving both the University and society.
Recalling her four-year university life, Yim-kwai thanked Lingnan for the diverse service-learning opportunities offered. During her first year of study, she came across a service-learning course in which she had to translate the subtitles of promotional clips of an organisation that serves patients with autism. Through interacting with the patients, Yim-kwai understood more of their needs and the importance of government support. “I realised that community service is what I like to do and what I believe I should do. It has then become part of my life,” she said.
Based on the fruitful experience of serving the autistic patients, Yim-kwai decided to further commit herself to service-learning through assuming the role of Service-Learning Teaching Assistant in year two. “We were exposed to a wide range of duties such as acting as the point of contact between the service agencies and the University. I felt glad to be able to apply the theories and knowledge learned in classroom,” she said. Serving as a Teaching Assistant, Yim-kwai not only learned how to interact with different people, but also how to manage her time properly. To keep up with the passion of serving, she believes it is important to commit to services based on one’s interests. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do,” she added.
Despite her strong serving spirit, there were times when Yim-kwai stepped back to ponder over the meaning of “help”, especially during her one-month service trip to India. “We paid daily visits to the orphanages with a hope to bring them happiness but things did not go as planned. On our first arrival, the orphans cried out of fear for strangers like us. When we bade them farewell, they cried again seeing us depart. Facing their emotional burdens, I doubted if I was there to help build or destroy their trust on adults. I lost the motivation to move on,” she said.
She later realised that the value of service should not be weighed by the outcomes but the genuine care towards the service targets. “What I did may be trivial. Nevertheless, to those little orphans who grow up without family care, ‘love’ means a lot to them. Our presence brought them happiness and reassured them everyone deserves to be loved regardless of their background,” she explained.
Apart from devoting herself in international services, Yim-kwai has also gone an extra mile to promote the University’s motto of “Education for Service” to students abroad. Last summer, she attended a two-week programme in the US, exchanging insights on service-learning with the local university students. “University students should keep their minds open, observe what is happening around them and look for ways to contribute to society,” she shared. Through the presentation by Yim-kwai and her teammates, the US students were impressed by the fine integration between academic studies and community service practised at Lingnan. “I hope university students around the world can learn from each other and work together for a better future,” said Yim-kwai.