Faculty of Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Carson LAU (ESSC, Year 5)

Faces of CUHK Science

Civility, Compassion, and Change for Good: SURGING TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS - Carson LAU


Carson LAU

(Earth System Science, Year 5)

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Carson takes a photo at the University of Helsinki.


Carson admits that he has been truly fortunate to have grown up with little pressure from his family on getting good grades in his studies, or to study to pursue a professional career. However, he has tasted success in his studies thanks to positive reinforcement after obtaining good grades, and an eager mind for knowledge.

His outstanding performance in his studies earned him an Innovation and Technology Scholarship in 2022, one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious study awards. Knowing full well how fierce the competition was for the coveted scholarship, Carson has been putting his heart into the activities that he has had the honour to engage in thanks to the Scholarship, including a mentorship programme, an exchange in Finland, and also a community programme.


Mentor's Meaningful Messages

As part of his scholarship programme, Carson was matched with a mentor, Mr. David Grimme, Chief Operating Officer – Asia Pacific at HSBC. As senior management overseeing operations in the Asia Pacific region, Mr. Grimme is very busy, but he has had plenty of opportunities to work with people of very different cultural backgrounds. Carson was fortunate to have chatted with Mr. Grimme over lunch before he departed for exchange studies in Finland, during which he received lots of sound advice on tuning his mindset for embracing new cultures and challenges. Carson shares, “I was quite worried at first, as this was my first time living overseas and I may experience culture shock. I think his advice has made me more open-minded and more willing to explore Finnish culture.”


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Carson (right) received many wise pieces of advice from his mentor, Mr. David Grimme (left).


Besides advice on preparing mentally for his upcoming exchange trip, Carson also received some career insights from Mr. Grimme. “As he knew that I am interested in the sustainability sector, he thought that there are more and more job opportunities in the market that require knowledge of climate change and climate risk management. He told me that I could try to take some certificate exams in climate risk analysis or green finance.” This advice has been well-taken by Carson, who plans to embark on his career armed with the knowledge and training gained from his major after his graduation from CUHK.


Science and Society for Sustainability

For the spring semester of 2022-23, Carson embarked on a one-term exchange period at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He chose his destination carefully, having referred to university ranking lists, and also sought advice from his academic advisor, who ultimately suggested to him that he should consider going “farther” in terms of cultural distance, hence he settled on Finland over going to Singapore.

He had planned his exchange well, enriching his studies with courses not available in Hong Kong while advancing his atmospheric science studies, and also taking time to learn the local language and culture. Carson enjoyed the interactive design of Finnish education, whereby the teacher would encourage students to engage in discussions and share their observations and ideas, before relating the students’ points back to the lecture topics. Carson shares, “This consolidated my knowledge better, and I could easily figure out what was unclear.”

Moreover, Carson was impressed that the topic of climate change is reiterated in all of his science courses, each time from the particular perspective of the course’s theme. He explains the benefits of doing this, “I think it is good practice to instil the concept of climate change in a variety of courses so students can have a stronger awareness of global environmental issues and implement a more sustainable lifestyle.”

For more about his views on his exchange studies in Finland, check out this video:



Thanks to this experience in Finland, he realises that climate change has had a profound impact on the country, and that nature is very close to the daily lives of the local people. When he was in Finland, Carson could very quickly reach a national park and go see aurora borealis. All in all, he was glad he made the choice to go on exchange in Finland, where not only did he enjoy a stimulating set of courses that were highly interactive, he met many new friends – both local and those who were fellow exchange students – and took part in many interesting experiences, such as running his first half-marathon.

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Carson saw the Northern Lights in Finland.


Here are some of Carson’s key takeaways from this experience:

  • Don’t reject what you think is unappealing at first
  • Open your mind and resist the temptation to rely on your assumptions
  • Give everything a try before deciding for yourself if you like it or not
  • Always plan ahead, otherwise you may end up spending more effort in the end for the lack of preparation

Carson has also share some tips on how to go about choosing where to go on exchange, see it here:



December 2023


Text: Christine LING | Editing: Rayven CHEN