Due to an unstable economic climate, rising costs of living and political unrest in Hong Kong, several youth citizens are worried about their futures in the country.
Twenty-year-old Dicky Cheung, who is studying to be a teacher, told the BBC, “I entered university to get a better life, but I don’t have hope for my future.
“I want to change my family’s life. In Hong Kong they have to work hard to pay the high rent. Now when I grow up I cannot do that. The job vacancies are lower than before [and] when we graduate in three years the situation [will be] much lower.”
Therefore, a number of Hong Kong students are looking for avenues outside the country, including in nearby Taiwan. While Taiwanese universities have always had a significant number of applicants from Hong Kong, the growing frustration among the youth is leading to even more.
Based on a report by RadioFreeAsia, LearningEnglish recently reported, “Seeing the possibility of a loss of freedoms in their future, Hong Kong students are increasingly deciding to study in Taiwan, Radio Free Asia has learned.
“Taiwan is already popular with students from Hong Kong: more than 1,600 students enrolled in Taiwanese universities last year.
“This year, older people also are applying to study, possibly because they hope to live on the island after graduation. It is a road to permanent residency offered under Taiwan’s immigration rules.”
Lin Yu-chan, Assistant Professor at Taiwan’s Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, said, “So, this year is very unusual: there are fathers and mothers with children who are applying to go to university in Taiwan. It’s a new phenomenon.”
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At a recent education fair at the Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Center, there was a notable increase in interested applicants from Hong Kong.
Lin’s booth ran out of informational materials halfway through the day due to the high interest from attendees.
A man named Tse who brought his son to the fair said he wanted his son to leave Hong Kong due to the protests and the political atmosphere, and that he liked the Taiwanese learning environment.
He said,”Many of my friends have had similar ideas, and want to send their kids overseas to study,” he said.
LearningEnglish reported, “Young people at the exhibition told RFA that the political crisis in Hong Kong is making overseas study more interesting.
“Some had plans to apply to schools in Taiwan. Others said they would prefer Britain, the United States or Canada.”
Sophia Ma, who helps lead the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong, said that students from Hong Kong are showing more interest in higher education providers in Taiwan.
She said, “I think that has something to do with recent problems we have seen in Hong Kong. I think we will likely see more Hong Kong students coming to study in Taiwan as a result.”
Ma also said that students are further attracted to universities in Taiwan because of their easier admission requirements than Hong Kong universities, as well as the fact that they are teaching subjects that are in demand, including science and agriculture.