Graduation Is a Multiple Choice Affair

Text: Ella Cheong, UM Reporter Javen Wei, Ginnie Liang
Photo: Ella Cheong, UM Reporter Javen Wei, with some provided by the interviewees
April2018 MyUM


The numbers are quite impressive. According to the university’s latest survey of graduates, by November 2017, 76.4 per cent of the Class of 2017 graduates from UM had landed a job, and 14.9 percent had been accepted for further studies. Of those who found a job, 90 per cent did so within three months of graduation. In a bullish market, however, not everybody chose the conventional path. A few went off the beaten track, with some individuals electing to fulfill a dream as a professional swimmer, or taking up an internship at the United Nations, or even going off to Europe to learn the craft of brewing beer. There is clearly more than one way to skin a graduation cat. Regardless of the eventual outcome, new graduates should go where their heart guides them.

Lio Chon Fai (Left) has made many friends
during the four years at UM

Learning to Brew Beer in Europe

Lio Chon Fai, who graduated from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature last year, has pursued his postgraduate interest in brewing and retailing beer.

He learned about craft beer three years ago. During his sophomore year, he opened a beer bar in Macao to sell imported craft beer. After struggling to keep it afloat for one year, he was forced to close because of the lack of clients. But his love affair with beer has never dissipated. Later, he became an agent for a craft beer brand in Hong Kong. To pursue this romance, he decided to work as a volunteer in breweries in Europe after graduation in order to learn traditional brewing techniques. The greatest difference between craft beer and regular beer is that craft beer was brewed with only four ingredients, namely water, hops, malted barley, and yeast, in order to best retain the original flavor of the ingredients. Not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Lio is nonetheless free of the burden of having to support a family. That leaves him unencumbered to single-mindedly chase his dream. He hopes to return to Macao in two years and open his own brewery and beer bar. ‘I hope that one day craft beer will become a beverage that is as popular as coffee and tea,’ he says.

After spending four years at the Cheng Yu Tung College, Lio feels at once sad and excited about graduation. He is awash in nostalgia in parting with the teachers and friends from his residential college. He used to think attending university was unlikely to bring about any big changes in his life, but the college experience has proved him wrong. Specifically, he has learned to think about social issues critically and independently. He has also gained a lot from taking part in college and community activities.

Kathine Cheong plans to work as an intern
in the United Nations for a year after graduation 

Life as an Intern in the United Nations

Kathine Cheong from the Department of Psychology, who is also a member of Lui Che Woo College, is attracted to a different kind of brew—a cultural diversity brew in the United Nations. During her first summer holiday at UM, she joined a trip to a rural area in Vietnam to help the locals build a biotoilet. After graduation, she plans to work for a year as an intern in the UN, where the opportunity to work with people from different countries promises to make the earth a better place.

Like Lio, college has changed Cheong. Now more proactive, organised and skilled at time management, and with graduation imminent, Cheong is more happy than worried. She explains, ‘I know the future is full of uncertainties, but to me uncertainties spell opportunities.’

Chao Man Hou hopes to become
a professional athlete after graduation

Turning Pro in the Pool

Nicknamed the ‘Frog King of Macao’, Terence Chao from the Department of Communication is determined to become a professional swimmer. For now, he is busy training for the Asian Games, which will be held in Indonesia in August. After that, he hopes to spend the next three to five years preparing for, and participating in, competitions to put Macao on the swimming map. Chao has chosen an unorthodox career path. Looking ahead, he has no worries, only expectations. ‘Graduation means that I will be able to go at swimming full tilt,’ he says. ‘Some people may not understand my choice, but there are actually many people who have made similar unconventional choices, only you don’t see that very often in Macao. I believe youth is best spent pursuing your true passion.’

‘What I will miss most is the days spent with my friends. The courses offered by the communication department helped me gain a better understanding of society. What I will never forget is doing assignments with the classmates.’ he says.

Elton Rocha

Beginning a Life in Law

Elton Rocha, who hails from Cabo Verde, West Africa, is graduating from the Faculty of Law. He declares that the study of law has taught him the meaning of discipline and attention to detail. He plans to study for a master’s degree after graduation. But he has also found a job in a law firm in order to gain courtroom experiences, because he knows theoretical knowledge alone is inadequate to prepare him for a legal career. Professionally, he hasn’t thought about where he will eventually settle. But one thing is for sure: he loves Macao. According to the current immigration laws, however, getting a work permit and permanent residency for a non-local is difficult, so he is open to the alternative of returning home.

Elton is pleased with the progress he made over the past five years. He sees no reason to worry about his future, believing that as long as he works hard, dreams are within reach. He is grateful for the cultural diversity and global perspective at UM. But he feels sad to leave his friends, especially his football teammates from Choi Kai Yau College. ‘I will miss everything at UM,’ he says. ‘But this is life. Everyone has to keep moving forward.’

Lei Pui Ian

Recharging Herself Through Travel

Lei Pui Ian, a biomedical science major, plans to travel to Japan and Taiwan after graduation. ‘It would be very difficult to spend two whole months travelling once you start working. I worked hard during the four years in college, so I want to take a break and recharge myself,’ she says.

Lei hopes to find a research related job in a pharmaceutical company after returning from her trip. College life has changed her in many ways. She is no longer the timid high school student who was so terrified of public speaking that her hands and voice would shake and her mind would go completely blank. Now those fears are but distant memories.

UM students have many career options after graduation