*Under the current COVID-19 development, Startup Semester Programme has to be postponed to Fall 2021. Stay tuned!

Student Sharing 2018

Startup Semester Programme Fall 2018

Miss Eve Liu Yi-Hsuan

Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) (Entrepreneurship Concentration), School of Business

Startup Semester Programme gave me a real-life taste of being an entrepreneur, from forming teams, making consensus, iterating on an idea and finally doing our pitches to real investors. Each course offered in the programme had different goals, all in all it was to equip myself with different skills that were critical to become an entrepreneur.

Startup Semester Programme required me to do a lot of self-learning as many techniques would not be covered in classes. Many skills could only be acquired when I actually did it. When I look back, I suddenly realise how much I have grown.

Although the Programme was short, it was good enough to upgrade myself to the next level. Last but not least, I want to especially show the gratitude to all donors, Knowledge Transfer Office, School of Business, who supported me financially and spiritually during my study at UC Berkeley. Without all the kind supports, I would not have experienced all the valuable transformations and gained a broader international perspective.


Mr Giovanni Santini

Ph.D. in Music Composition, Faculty of Arts

The experience at UC Berkeley has been highly enriching and is, in my opinion, extremely advisable for every student at HKBU, notwithstanding their level of technical expertise or their years and courses (from undergraduate to PhD in every discipline).

I met a lot of new people, especially due to the particular educational mindset, which requires students to collaborate in groups. The Startup Semester Programme included people from Brazil, Spain, Chile, Denmark, Italy and China. A parallel programme, Startup Fellows, still at SCET, included numerous people from France. Diversity and cultural exchange are an integral part of the Startup Semester as well as a key component of the culture of Silicon Valley.

Another impressive aspect consists in the possibility of getting contacts easily. For example, I joined the activities of CNMAT (Center for New Music and Audio Technology, the music research center of UCB). The faculty got interested in my research and gave me the possibility to showcase my developed technologies inside the activities of CNMAT.

The close connection with important people (CEOs, VCs, angel investors, etc.) allows me to understand a crucial aspect of the culture in Silicon Valley: even very potent people are willing to explore and listen ideas from everyone, even students. They never know from whom an innovative idea might come. One student from UC Berkeley might be the next Elon Musk!

For this reason the Startup Semester is highly advisable for PhD students, especially if they are engaged in a tech-related project. They might get the opportunity to present their research to some of the greatest experts in their field and also to the well-known companies in the world.


Miss Jane Ting Jiat-yin

Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Applied Biology (Environmental Science Concentration), Faculty of Science

It’s funny how 4 months in the Startup Semester Programme has changed me into a better person. I will be grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and cherish it for a lifetime.

Academically, I enjoyed every lecture I attended, especially the teaching method in UC Berkeley. The main study materials were not the lecture notes or PowerPoint slides, but in-class activities, discussions and guest speakers to keep every lecture as interesting and lively as possible. Studying with Berkeley students also opened my mind to various ideas through discussions. My perspective has been changed since studying in UC Berkeley where I started thinking about ways data and technology has changed our lives and how it would affect the future.

Besides the courses offered in the Startup Semester Programme, I took a course called Trees & Taxonomy during my semester in Berkeley because they have an amazing Environmental Science programme. Weekly field trips to the Botanical Garden and a weekend hiking trip to the Sierra Mountains in Nevada were unforgettable, they reinforced our learning experience on different families and species of trees in California. These were something I couldn’t experience in Asia because the plants here were completely different to those back home.

In order to experience Berkeley to its fullest, I did not limit myself to just taking up academic courses. After talking to local Berkeley students, they recommended me to join AFX, a dance club in Berkeley and it was the best decision to spend my time there. I used to dance with teammates after classes, all my stress would then be gone away. I enjoyed getting boba after practice. At the end of the semester, we all got to perform our piece which was choreographed by students in Zellerbach Hall. Seeing all our hard work paid off on stage was the most rewarding feeling ever. I was so thankful for jumping out of my comfort zone when I was in Berkeley.

I am so happy and thankful to have experienced so much inside and outside Berkeley. I treasure the friendships I have with everyone who I crossed paths with. Every experience is a blessing no matter good or bad and I would wish to do it all over again in a heartbeat!


Miss Jenny Li Jieni

Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) in China Studies (Economic Concentration), Faculty of Social Sciences

The experience of participating in the Startup Semester programme at UC Berkeley was so amazing that I had gained mountains of precious lessons.

Primarily, the studying experience was useful. I have gained the skills to be a future entrepreneur, and also to apply what I have learnt to the real life. I, as an economics student, mainly took charge of the business part of the project, which was to apply the economics knowledge to the real action. I have learnt a lot more. This Startup Semester Programme has taught me not only the academic knowledge, but also the social skills, such as how to communicate with groupmates, customers, founders and advisors.

Moreover, apart from study, I had chances to try something new and communicate with diverse people from different culture and background. The most impressive experience was the camping with Berkeley students to the Henry W. Coe State Park organized by the Cal Hiking and Outdoor Society CHAOA. It was my first time to go camping and stayed with the US locals in an unfamiliar place. When we arrived at the park, we had to hike at night with all camping equipment on. My teammates helped me to carry almost all heavy things, because they did not let me tired out for my first camping experience. And I felt the harmony, unity, empathy deeply during this experience.

To sum up, I am extremely thanks donors, the university, Knowledge Transfer Office and my department for the chance to attend this programme, providing such a great platform for us! I will remember this wonderful memory and never forget the gratitude to my university as well as all I learnt. I will put every effort to do contribution to our department, our university and our society!


Miss Joyce Tsang Hoi-ting

Bachelor of Communication (Hons) in Public Relations and Advertising, School of Communication

Studying at UC Berkeley is an once-in-a-lifetime experience that I found the importance of independence, diversity and working hard. Many opportunities, interesting people and fun projects could be found in this large campus so you won’t feel bored.

In the lessons, we used to mingle with classmates to find new groupmates. It was fascinating to interact with different classmates as well as do some unimaginable group activities outside the classroom, such as asking the strangers to trade with us. My ability of social networking has been significantly improved.

Although studying at Cal was never an easy task, I managed to join a large variety of activities for self-enrichment or entertainment. My friends and I went to Halloween Harry Porter Themed Haunted House on campus. It was very cool that the students in the school dormitory organised such a large event with performance and decoration. In terms of personal growth, Eve (one of the students from HKBU) and I joined the Designathon organised by Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at Cal. We got to know more about the design industry by applying what we had learnt from the talks and workshops in the contest. We gained a lot that we had re-designed the blog section on the website of CourseHero.

We had held a sunset party and the mid-autumn festival celebration party. We made two hotpots to cure our home-sickness. It is really fun to share the stories and traditions of our culture to cultivate our global vision. We enjoyed the sunset view on the rooftop of my living place. The most beautiful scenery could only last in your mind instead of the smartphone. At night, you could see a sky with a lot of stars twinkling and shinning with comfort.

In conclusion, I feel grateful to have the chance to study at one of the top universities in the world, UC Berkeley, gain a lot of skills and become friends with the smart people. I believe I won’t forget all precious memories in this fantastic campus!


Mr Steve Yip Kin-hei

Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) in Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences

For the past 4 months studying in Berkeley, I have acquired knowledge in different fields. Although the main theme of Startup semester Programme is undoubtedly entrepreneurship, skills that are crucial for adapting new environment also matter as creating networks in an unfamiliar place can be challenging.

Concerning courses offered by the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET), the most valuable part of them was the chance to actually build startup teams. Generally, most of the courses provided students with fundamental knowledge of startup businesses like team building, business model, venture capitalist, prototyping and even persuasive selling skills.

Apart from the team building experience, it was also a good chance to approach different experts in the entrepreneurial field. It was highly recommended for students who actually have startup ideas as you might get personalised suggestions, advices and contacts from the experts that were really helpful for building new network for startups.

Advices for the future Startup semester

As team building is inevitable for entrepreneurship courses, it is better to adjust your mindset before joining teams. Although some students may not have engineering or computing skills, this do not mean they can contribute nothing to the team. For these relatively short term courses, basically willing to do researches and give ideas to the team will be appreciated. Even you do not feel confident enough in one team, there may be chances for you to switch teams in some courses so there are not much to worry about.


Miss Sharon Hu Xinlin

Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Visual Arts, Academy of Visual Arts

The four-month studying in the University of California, Berkeley was the most impressive experience I have ever had. I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed my time at Berkeley, both inside and outside of the classroom. The four months were full of memories in the journey of exposure, experience and enjoyment.

Being part of the Startup Semester programme, I was lucky enough to learn and work with fellows with diverse academic background. I participated in three technology related startup projects, in which I tried to carry on different responsibilities in visual identity, marketing research and experience design. I got the chance to explore how a technical firm works and how the whole startup journey is like. Furthermore, I learned to apply my strengths and skills in unfamiliar situations. The impact of the exploration was life-changing.

Being in the literally unfamiliar environment made me excited every day. California with sunshine and the nature vibe; Bay area with entrepreneurship spirit in heart; Berkeley with the tradition of free speech and liberalism.

During these four months, I also joined quite a lot of company talks and pitching events which happened either on Berkeley Campus or Bay Area. One of the most satisfying things of living in Bay Area was the easy access to get close to all the giants and resources in Silicon Valley, and to trace the most advanced trends with all brilliant individuals.

Berkeley, Bay Area, California are places full of the greatest energy, the wildest adventure and the fruitful sharing. They are also highly diverse places with greatest tolerance to embrace various people. They are the perfect places for people who have wild dreams.

Looking back to the days in Berkeley, I enjoyed and treasured the friendship and connections that I gained with people with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. Startup Semester programme, the platform for all disciplines, allowed me to connect to different professionals. And Berkeley, a place welcoming scholars and talents from all over the world, enabled me to learn from different cultures. I experienced culture conflicts, but I learnt to deal with the conflicts and embrace the differences. Learning in multi-cultural context was simply fascinating.

The opportunity of exploring, experiencing and enjoying in UC Berkeley greatly broadened my horizons and built up my self-confidence. No matter it was the time when I was in UC Berkeley or every time when I think of this experience, I would feel so lucky and grateful for being in Berkeley in the third year of my undergraduate education. Startup Semester was definitely a life-changing experience to me. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the donors, Knowledge Transfer Office and Academy of Visual Arts for supporting me to this amazing journey.