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Competing in the ISSCY
Written by Myungjae Han | Published. 2021.02.09 19:27 | Count : 134

High school students across the globe participate in a yearly competition where they show off their research and writing skills in the fields of humanities and social sciences. The ISSCY (International Social Science Conference for Youth) was a new challenge for me as I did not have much free time due to my other academic ventures. However, when I heard about this competition, I wanted to write about my life in Hong Kong. After the 2014 Hong Kong Protests, I have kept an eye on the tense relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand upon my knowledge.

Influenced by my father, who works in the department of economic affairs in Hong Kong, I decided to research the economic impact the political tension between Hong Kong and China will bring to Hong Kong. I submitted an abstract for my paper titled “Chinese Policy and Hong Kong's Economic Future” on August 8th for the preliminary round of the competition. I was worried that the media too widely covered my topic for it to be relevant as a research topic, but I did not have the confidence to research something I wasn’t 100% interested in. Few weeks passed since I submitted my abstract, and I felt nervous. Luckily, on September 9th I received an email stating that I was chosen as a finalist for the ISSCY contest.

[Finalist announcement email received from ISSCY. Screen captured by James Han]

After the confirmation that I was chosen as a finalist, I began reading papers from past years to get an idea on how to structure my paper. While doing so, I was greeted with an unexpected challenge. The more I read the final papers of winners from previous years, the more I felt worried about my paper  as the previous winners all had impressive interviewees in their papers. Not only did I lack connections to such an impressive assortment of people to interview, I also had only two weeks to finish writing my paper.Desperate times call for desperate measures. After going through my connections from school teachers to church friends, I was lucky enough to find two saviors who willingly complied to being interviewed for my paper. They were a financier and a financial legal professional from the McKinsey & Company Hong Kong branch. Without these two interviewees, my research would not have been completed. My interview also benefited from making me want to learn more about economics in the future. After hours of sleepless nights, I completed my final paper before the deadline. My efforts were rewarded when on November 13th, I was greeted by an email informing me that my paper was one of the final winners chosen to be published.

[Final publication announcement email received from ISSCY. Screen captured by James Han]

This competition was a new experience for me.  Unlike sports competitions, the result is unknown until it is posted some time later. The tension that I felt as I waited for the email that held the results I so desperately wanted to see has helped me grow. This competition not only increased my interest in economics, but it taught me patience.  It finally awarded me the knowledge that if I tried, I could accomplish what I set my mind to. It fueled my drive for new challenges, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.






Myungjae Han
Year 11 (Grade 10)
The Kellett School, Hong Kong

Myungjae Han  student_reporter@dherald.com

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