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Shubhroparno Halder declined Imperial College London's Offer
Enrolling at CUHK, Making New Friends and Broadening Horizons

Shubhroparno Halder (19/Morningside/Electronic Engineering) decided to study abroad at 18 as he could not stand the stiff university entrance exams and the insane private tutoring culture in India. He declined an electronic engineering offer from the top-ranked university, Imperial College London, and came to Hong Kong to study at CUHK. When he first arrived in Hong Kong, he was so scared that he wanted to run back home. A few weeks later, however, he fell in love with CUHK, as he made friends from different countries and backgrounds at the University. These friends helped him so much in developing a sense of belonging and inspiring him to discover his career path. He has now become a committee member of the Morningside College Alumni Association, in the hope of bringing graduates from different generations together to support each other through life.

Shubhroparno was immediately captivated by the pleasant learning environment once he arrived CUHK.

Discontent with the Harsh Examination System in India
Shubhroparno was born into a middle-class family in India, and his father was his role model, “My father was born in a poor village, attended a shabby village school, and was so poor that he had no shoes to wear. At the age of 6, he walked 2 kilometers barefoot every day to read newspapers in an intellectual's home and self-learned English. When he was 12, he went to a secondary school 12 kilometers from home, outside the village. Not being able to walk such a long distance to school, he was eventually given a bicycle and the first pair of shoes in his life. Afterwards, he studied engineering and became the first high school graduate in the village.”

Shrubhroparno has excelled academically since childhood and aspired to become an electronic engineer. However, getting into the top engineering school, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), was a nightmare for high school students, Students who want to apply to IIT must first pass the National College Entrance Exam to get the ticket to IIT's special entrance exam. The admission rate is even lower than 2%, resulting in a distorted tutoring market. "Candidates had to take more than 12 hours of intensive classes every day, and I lost my enthusiasm for learning due to this. My parents suggested me to study abroad, preferably in London or Hong Kong. My first choice was the Electronic Engineering Program at Imperial College London, and I successfully got its offer. I heard, however, that foreign graduates in the UK have poor employment prospects, and that its tuition is expensive. Later, I was given an offer from CUHK's Department of Electronic Engineering, alongside a full tuition scholarship. Hence, I decided to move here to pursue my dream.”

Shubhroparno's parents attended his graduation ceremony in Hong Kong.

Quickly Enchanted by Hong Kong's Cosmopolitan Culture
Before coming to CUHK, Shubhroparno was unfamiliar with Hong Kong and searched the Internet for information about this city, “According to Wikipedia, Hong Kong is an international city, and my father, who went on a business trip to Hong Kong, agreed; after that, I tried to find out what the average salary was for junior engineers in Hong Kong, which was about HK$12,000 to HK$14,000, similar to what IIT graduates earn. I thought it was not bad, as I had no idea about the cost of living in Hong Kong.”

When Shubhroparno arrived at the CUHK campus, he was captivated by the spacious grassy area and Lake Ad Excellentiam. Nevertheless, when he realized he was the only Indian student of the year and that the nearby Fo Tan area is quite different from what he envisioned, he worried that he would have trouble adapting. “I phoned my family in tears and told them I wanted to return home. Not until I met my Taiwanese friend at the orientation camp. He explored the new environment with me, and I made friends with 25 international students. They were so kind and patient, teaching me how to use chopsticks, which was very sweet of them. It only took a few weeks for me to fall in love with CUHK and Hong Kong. I love eating Siumai and Fishballs, shopping in Shatin and Mongkok, and watching movies.”

As a big fan of Hong Kong's natural environment, Shubhroparno enjoys hiking and watching the sea in his free time.

Aspire to Become an Indian Politician
Because 90% of engineering students are male, Shubhroparno says they are labelled as “geeks”. However, he enjoys interacting with other people, and he has benefited from the internationalization of Morningside College, which has broadened his horizon by meeting students from different departments and backgrounds. This led to a change in his career path, “I dreamt to become an electronic engineer. After working two years of part-time in hardware engineering, I realized that I wasn't quite right for it. During my third year, a Taiwanese friend who worked as an intern in an investment bank, explained his scope of work to me. I thought finance was an interesting and challenging field, so I took a year off to work at the bank.”

Shubhroparno (second from right) has met many friends from different countries at CUHK.

Currently working as an analyst at an investment bank, Shubhroparno plans to stay in Hong Kong for the next two to three years and hopes to pursue an MBA at Harvard University with a minor in political science. “Attending Harvard has been my father's dream, and I hope I can make that dream come true. And a long-term goal of mine is to become a politician in India, promoting reforms to solve social problems, especially child development, environmental protection, and women's rights.”

Shubhroparno's (second from left) CUHK and Hong Kong friends travelled specially to India for his sister's wedding in 2019.

Published in "CU Alumni Magazine" Issue 111 by Alumni Affairs Office 2022

Read online: CU Alumni Magazine Issue No. 111 (Chinese Version Only)
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