The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


Mariam Yusuf undertakes her second summer project at Hong Kong University

8 February 2019

Mariam, a second year Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme scholar, tells us why she completed her second research project in Hong Kong.

Mariam in the lab

I chose to complete my second Laidlaw research at Hong Kong University (HKU). I felt that travelling and exploring a different culture, as well as being part of research internationally as an undergraduate, was too good of an opportunity to miss. 

I spent my six weeks in an organic chemistry lab synthesising compounds - particularlytryptamine derivatives. It has enabled me to get a feel of what research in organic chemistry entails and what I can expect if I were to pursue a PhD in this field.

I had a really lovely supervisor. She even helped me settle in by lending me cutlery to use during my stay! The team wasn't very large and included some other undergraduate students doing a summer internship.

Through working at HKU I gained greater confidence and awareness in the lab, so that I came to understand why things were done a certain way.  I improved my analysis skills through always looking to understand the chemical reactions being undertaken, and this will help me in my third year laboratory classes at UCL.

Outside the lab, one of my major experiences was taking a trip to Ngong Ping Village on Lantau Island by a cable car. I got a bird's eye view of Lantau Island, Hong Kong International Airport, Ngong Ping and the Buddha. The scenery was very beautiful.

Cable Cars

Another experience I enjoyed was a Sampan boat ride through the harbour in Aberdeen. Aberdeen is a fishing village in Hong Kong, and it was fascinating to see the lives of the local fishermen.Scenery

I very much enjoyed my time at Hong Kong University, the campus had a friendly feel to it, and I settled in with ease. They made me very comfortable – I had a large room with its own ensuite bathroom. I met people from other countries who were also here at Hong Kong University for the summer and enjoyed sharing experiences.

Conducting your second year Laidlaw research abroad is definitely worth considering.