Airlie Heung (pictured above in the red scarf) is a recent MA graduate from UWaterloo’s English program. Find out what brought her to UWaterloo–and where in the world her degree has taken her now! Thank you to Airlie to participating in Words in Place.–JLH
JLH: Can you tell us a bit about your path to UWaterloo?
AH: I was always interested in reading and writing so an undergraduate degree in English was a natural choice. I chose to double major in education, and when I graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University, teaching was also a natural path. However, I found myself in a rut teaching English as a second language and wanted to pursue my master’s degree in literature. Because I grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, choosing a school in Ontario was important to me. That my dad was a UWaterloo arts alumnus was also a very influential factor.
JLH: How did you decide that an MA in English from UWaterloo was the logical next step?
AH: Looking into the MA English program, I liked the mixture of options. I could choose to obtain an MA that was course based, or required a major research project or thesis. Although I was predominantly interested in literature, the RCD and XDM courses were also intriguing. I was so compelled by Prof. Aimée Morrison‘s new media course that I ended up taking two of her courses in two separate terms. I was also drawn to the TA opportunities that would not only help finance my degree but also serve as great teaching experience.
JLH: How quickly did things fall into place when you arrived? Did it take a while?
AH: Things fell into place quite easily. UWaterloo is a very resourceful university with very helpful staff and students which made the whole process really smooth. The English department in particular has great faculty members who mentored me in regards to what is expected in the current academic world, which I had been away from for a while. Everyone is very organized which I find essential to settling in.
JLH: Are there any particular experiences at UW that you think helped you secure your current position?
AH: Most definitely! As I mentioned, the TA opportunities at UW provided a remarkable teaching experience. Teaching business communications helped me secure my position as a teaching fellow here at City University of Hong Kong where I teach English for Business and Freshman English. Many of my teaching experiences in UWaterloo, whether related to content or methodology, transferred well to my role here.
JLH: Finally, what is next for you?
AH: Finish writing my novel and getting it published!