Mohith Mukund Verma
Bachelor of Social Sciences

Why HKU ?

Studying abroad was always in mind because as I finished my high school I knew that I would be majoring in Psychology. Compared to Hong Kong, the scope and resources available to engage in psychological research is very limited back home. I heard of HKU from one of its alumni and also I received full scholarship to study here. HKU offers abundant scholarship opportunities to its current students. During my course of study here I have received three scholarships that are renewable and two more that were non-renewable. The scholarships let me not only completely fund my tertiary education but also, me being a travelholic, serve to cover all my living and travel expenditures.

Global Opportunities at HKU

HKU Social Sciences Faculty requries its students to undertake one Global Citizenship programme and one Social Innovation programme as part of its undergraduate curriculum.

Going on exchange to UCLA offered me the perfect and the most flexible way to fulfill the Global Citizenship requirement. In UCLA, I could choose to study any course(s) that mount up to 12 HKU credits.

Since I intend to be a social psychologist, specializing in the field of emotions and morality, so I chose to gain more research experience even during my exchange.  I took two lab courses in Cognitive and Developmental Psychology and also worked as Research Assistant at Dr. Rena Repetti's Clinical Psychology lab. The opportunity to work with Dr. Repetti on a very rich data set on family interactions was so rewarding in terms of refining my research interests and acquiring the skills required to design meaningful and feasible research paradigms. I also collaborated with three UCLA students to conduct an independent research project on the effects of museum exhibit on adult-child interaction at the California Science Center for the Developmental Psychology lab course. In fact the supervisor of our Developmental Psychology research team, Dr. Catherine Sandhofer, was so impressed with our research paper and the interdisciplinary nature of our findings that she selected it to be sent for publication to a prestigious research journal on museum studies. I definitely think the knowledge gained from HKU lectures and discussions with my professors helped me a lot for my research work at UCLA and the experience itself made me realize an academic career suits me the best. In fact after returning from exchange, I have started working on my second research project on the effects of disgust and empathy on unethical behavior. Due to intricate nature of the topics being studied, the scale of this project is quite extensive which affords me two years to complete this project under the supervision of Dr. Xiaoqong Hu and Dr. Barbara Lo from the HKU Psychology Dept.

During the exchange, I also had my most memorable birthday (which coincided with my last day in LA) . I celebrated it at Dr.Repetti's house with my lab mates, who made me realize wherever I go, I won't feel alienated because I could always find people who care about me.

I completed the Social Innovation project in the summer of my first year at HKU by undertaking a two-month teaching internship in Thailand. I taught English as a third language  to post-secondary students from Burma in a school very near to the largest refugee camp for Burmese in Thailand, located along the Thai-Burma border. The whole experience of teaching  and immersing myself in a new culture didn't only enhance my interpersonal skills but also motivated me to contribute towards improving my students' lives by engaging them in English conversations and exposing them to the idea of communication through emails, topics that have greater practical significance in their lives.