Ken, from Hong Kong, is an outstanding student. He had already achieved a score of 7 on the IELTS when he was in high school. Unlike his peers who did everything they could to get into popular universities, he chose to study English in Taiwan, where he could spend more time focusing on language research by assimilating into the culture and experiencing the cultural differences of a foreign country. Ken has always had big and very different plans. At university, by the third year, he had already decided to further study English literature after graduation. His motto is, “The same is lame. Where’s the fun in being the same as everyone else?”

The same is lame, where’s the fun in being the same as everyone else?

“Hong Kong is too small and overpopulated. You need to work doubly hard to stand out from the crowd! In my country, you can’t get into the top English class in high school even if you have an IELTS 7.” Ken did not try every means possible to get into Hong Kong universities. His interest was in countries that were slightly bigger, where he could spend more time doing the things he enjoyed.

An avid reader, Ken often immerses himself in knowledge. “I enjoyed reading philosophy books in junior high school. I am obsessed with finding out everything about the world. Later, I started to become interested in English literature. My search for the origins and evolution of knowledge led to my decision about my future direction in life.”  His future was clear. At university, by his third year, he had already started planning his path after graduation. “I decided to study literature in the U.K., because the authentic English environment would give me a strong foundation in the subject.” Ken aspires to be a professor. He says, “Apart from teaching and acquiring new knowledge, I can also make a living at the same time, killing many birds with one stone!” Ken enjoys reading ‘boring’ books under trees. Ken is not bothered that he may appear ‘weird’ to others. Pointing to the words on his shirt, he quips, “So what? The same is lame. Where’s the fun in being the same as everyone else?”

Going abroad is the first step towards fulfilling dreams

“I chose to study here because it has branches in Hong Kong, and has excellent reviews!” Ken, who started planning his overseas studies a year ahead, was very serious when it came to preparing for the IELTS. “The British Council is the official examining body for IELTS. Therefore, I could gain good understanding of the exam requirements from the teachers, and learned how to score high marks in my writing, as well as when to use the right vocabulary. Some words, I found, are more suitable for writing and others for speech.” After studying here for two months, Ken completed his IELTS preparation, and successfully scored an 8 overall, higher than the 7 he scored in high school. He received full marks for listening and reading. “I really liked the teaching method of free discussion. Apart from being able to fully express myself and improve my oral skills on different topics, I also made many new friends. We all enjoyed the free learning resources together. It was a wonderful feeling to work hard together after class.”

One step closer to his dreams

Ken has a strong interest in languages. Apart from English, he is also learning German! He loves reading and travelling, and often travels alone to Germany for a month during the summer break to experience the local culture and practise his German. To him, gaining first-hand experience of a foreign country’s culture, arts and norms allows him to meet new friends, and is also an effective way to learn. After two months of IELTS classes, Ken is currently preparing his application materials for British universities. He enjoys acquiring a deeper understanding of, and experiencing the cultures of, different countries. His parents have high expectations of him and trust him to pursue his dreams. His philosophy is, “A life with goals and dreams is meaningful, and will never be dull. The most important thing is that you don’t blindly follow the mainstream!”

Words for test takers

Ken pursues his own dreams and loves travelling. His advice for IELTS test-takers: “Don’t overthink things. Pursue your own interests, and enjoy an extra-ordinary life!”