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【The Standard】Students in space

Study Tour


One of the best things about working in education is seeing the pupils you have helped on their journey through school and university going on to achieve great success.

When I first started boarding school in the UK, it was the patience and guidance of my teachers that helped me come out of my shell and develop my confidence. And, ultimately, it was this that helped me realize my potential and go on to form Britannia Studylink.

So it always gives me great pleasure to think that my team and I have helped young people on their way too.

At the beginning of the year, we learnt that two of our students had been selected to be part of a team that will represent a region to the International Space Design Settlement Competition held at the NASA launch center – the Kennedy Space Center – in the summer of 2022. 

This is, clearly, a fantastic achievement. However, it is, in fact, just one of a series of victories for these students.

Back in 2019, they were part of the winning team of the Global Space Design Competition. Then, they gave a winning performance in the video entry to the UK Space Design Competition finals in 2021.

Apart from this all sounding very impressive, the real point of these competitions is that they are a multidisciplinary challenge for the students.

They test not only subjects related to engineering and technology, as you would imagine, but also business skills. And they are not just competitions that focus on academic ability.

Students must also display good presentation skills, work well as part of a team and learn to hold a truly global perspective on life in general.

The reason my team and I are always so keen on students getting involved in these competitions is that they take a holistic approach to education.

They encourage all-round development, not the narrow sort of focus which is often what we see the education system in Hong Kong producing in our young people – a narrowness that is then reinforced by their parents, who are themselves often products of this system.

The sort of holistic approach we see in the space design competitions is exactly what independent UK education provides. You find it up and down the country, in day schools and boarding schools alike.

It’s this understanding that schooling is not just for the purpose of getting good grades. It’s this wisdom that everyone has something to give – some talents, some unique interests and abilities – but that it takes confidence for them to be unlocked and for that potential to come through.

Breaking out of a mindset or an established way of seeing the world can be extremely challenging.

I know how difficult some Hong Kong parents find it to understand how playing a musical instrument very well or being good at sport or art can be so highly valued by a UK school or university – particularly when they are considering who to offer their places to every year. We are so focused on grades and exam results in our culture that it can be hard to grasp.

I hope that telling you about these space design competitions can help change that mindset.

These competitions involving NASA are hugely respected by such institutions as Oxford and Cambridge.

They epitomize that all-rounder ideal that you find in the UK, and that we should learn to appreciate much more here in Hong Kong.

If you would like to find out how to enter these space design competitions, or to learn more about any aspect of UK education, visit or get in touch with our team today by calling 3184-0362