My Cambridge Experience as Postgraduate Student

Alvin attends the Matriculation Dinner.

Mr. Alvin Wong Tsz Wai is a College alumnus who graduated from the Bachelor of Laws programme at CUHK in 2020 and has started his postgraduate studies at the University of Cambridge since September 2021. He is also the recipient of S.H. Ho College Eminent Award 2019-2020 and Ho Tim Foundation Scholarship at Hughes Hall, the University of Cambridge 2021-2022. In this issue, he shares why he applied for the Ho Tim Foundation Scholarship and introduces his postgraduate life at Cambridge.


Having spent a year as an exchange student at Cambridge in 2017-2018, I have returned to do a Master of Law (LLM). After finishing my undergraduate degree and Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (LLB and PCLL respectively), the usual course for many law students to take is to dive into the job market and start their careers.  However, I have chosen to take a short detour by doing a LLM here in Cambridge.  Why? The answer is very simple and straightforward: the Ho Tim Foundation Scholarship at Hughes Hall, the University of Cambridge, exclusive to S.H. Ho College graduates.

The scholarship not only covers the tuition fee, but also accommodation and flight tickets. Furthermore, the scholarship also provides a monthly maintenance allowance for you to study at Hughes Hall, the University of Cambridge, not to mention that Hughes Hall has the largest intake of postgraduate law students at Cambridge. With such solid financial support provided by the generous Ho Tim Foundation to study at the prestigious University of Cambridge, residing in a college where you can find the largest group of postgraduate law students, I guess it does not need much to convince oneself to try applying for an LLM here. This is simply an opportunity that one cannot miss.

Apart from being “opportunistic”, there are also other reasons prompting me to study at Cambridge. First and foremost, I regret not studying, at all, when I was an exchange student here at Cambridge four years ago. As said, I was an exchange student studying History and Philosophy of Science here, a subject that I never heard of and I only studied science until S.3. Therefore, as an exchange student studying a subject that required what I lacked, I had every single reason not to study and basically that was what I did. However, reflecting on my Cambridge experience after coming back to Hong Kong, I regretted not studying hard enough. I was in one of the top universities in the world and the only thing that I did not do was studying. Since then, I have wanted to make up for this and that is why I want to return to Cambridge and do an LLM here.  

The second reason is that I want to learn more and think deeper. Four years may sound a long period of time, but not long enough to cover everything in the legal world.  Compromises and choices have to be made when one tries to fit in as much as possible in a four-year undergraduate degree. There are certainly interesting areas which have not been covered and topics which could have been dug deeper. That is the reason why I want to extend my legal study by doing an LLM, to learn more and think deeper. 

This brings me to do my third reason. The academic atmosphere here at Cambridge is simply unbeatable. The workload here is extremely demanding, to say the least, but that is also why the programme is intellectually stimulating because it keeps you thinking and reflecting. Furthermore, the conversations with world-leading academics or practitioners and other postgraduate students from all walks of life are second to none.  The other day I was having a conversation on Chinese philosophy and Japanese animations with a student from Estonia in Mandarin; and I also met a Mexican who was working as a judicial clerk at the Supreme Court of Mexico before. These conversations just never stop surprising me and this is one of the key benefits of staying at a postgraduate college like Hughes Hall, to have interesting conversations.

A newsletter in 2022 is not complete without talking about Covid-19. Fortunately, the University of Cambridge is trying to resume the traditional face-to-dace method of teaching by having some new policies in place. For example, face coverings are strongly advised when entering into a building or a lecture hall; and voluntary testing is repeatedly advertised at both college and university levels. From my observation, people here have really opted for the “live with Covid” lifestyle and they only wear face coverings when they consider necessary. Hence, whenever I am asked whether people here wear face coverings, my reply is that it depends on context. When I am in a lecture hall, almost everyone wears a face covering; but when I am at a cinema, or a football stadium (yes, I am a dedicated supporter of Cambridge United and they were just promoted to League One in 2021), only few people wear face coverings. Therefore, context is the answer. As a foreign student here, the most that I can do is to do what I think is the best for me, and the answer is usually wearing a face covering if possible when the place is crowded.

Anyway, the above is my sharing of my Cambridge experience as a postgraduate student.  Although not much because school has only started for two weeks (and because I have been staying in my room doing loads of readings), I wish that you now know more about life here at Cambridge and how studying here can contribute to one’s life experience.  If you are graduating, please really consider coming to Cambridge and seizing this wonderful opportunity provided by the Ho Tim Foundation and Hughes Hall that is exclusive to S.H. Ho College graduates. This experience will not just enrich your profile but also your life, and, for most of you, it might well be your last chance of enjoying studying before diving into the job market. All you have to do is to put in some time and hard work, and Ho Tim Foundation and Hughes Hall will sort out the financial matters for you. Good luck and I hope to see you in Cambridge.

Written by Alvin Wong Tsz Wai
17 October, 2021

The Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge.

College Bar where one could meet peers from different backgrounds.

Starting the day with breakfast and a beautiful view at Hughes Hall.

A glimpse of Hughes Hall.