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Profile9th January 2020

Ark alumnus shares life-changing experience studying in Hong Kong during the protests

Ark alumnus Donavere Benjamin-Mahon left Ark’s Burlington Danes Academy three years ago. Since then, he has been studying politics and international relations at the University of Dundee. In this Q and A, he describes his year abroad at City University in Hong Kong during the protests.

Donavere, what have you been up to since you left Burlington Danes Academy in 2017?

I have been studying politics at the University of Dundee and went on a year abroad to City University in Hong Kong.

What was it like when you arrived in Hong Kong?

The first few weeks were an absolute joy, except for the jet lag. But every evening for the first two weeks of my arrival I would see protesters outside my apartment. They were screaming for universal suffrage and they were gathering people to bring about change – this was something extraordinary. I could see the anger, hurt and love for Hong Kong being demonstrated by many of the protestors outside my door.

What was it like living in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has everything in one hub. From the beautiful sandy beaches, to the plethora of mountains for hiking where you can witness the true beauty of Hong Kong during the day and night. In the heart of Hong Kong is the city life that has the aromas of Dim Sum and duck. Hong Kong is truly a place that has everything that a person is looking for.

What advice would you give to current Ark students who want to study international relations and politics?

I would advise students to read from multiple sources so that they are able to be critical and evaluate information. But also to read in various disciplines such as science, technology and environment as that would help them to become more aware of the world that they live in, as it is always constantly changing rapidly. Do not be afraid to ask questions to seek a better understanding in a particular topic.

How did your teachers at Burlington Danes Academy help you?

The teachers encouraged me to focus on receiving good grades which allowed me to pursue any education opportunities and universities. My overall experience was great because I took advantage of the many opportunities the school provided and I had some outstanding teachers.

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