Tuesday 08 August 2017

Three students in Hong Kong win 2017 British Council IELTS Prize to pursue their dreams of studying overseas

Studying overseas is a goal for many students in Hong Kong. With an aim to connect people with learning opportunities, the British Council launched the IELTS Prize in 2011 and, since then it has supported a total of 170 students in the East Asia region in entering universities worldwide.  This year, 36 prize winners will be added to the list. In Hong Kong, our three local winners are Ms Ngar Lai Cheung Annie, Mr Ayush Kumar and Ms Wai Shan Louise Yu, each of whom will receive a prize valued at HK$22,000. In addition to the local awards, the British Council also awarded three regional prizes to top students in the East Asia region this year to students from Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan respectively. All the winners will be entering their dream universities overseas to pursue further education.

One of the Hong Kong local prize winners, Wai Shan Louise Yu, has just embarked on her postgraduate studies at the University of Sussex, and commented that British Council IELTS had made her dream come true. She said, ‘Studying abroad has always been my dream. Having studied in Hong Kong all my life, I would like to experience studying and working abroad on my own. Thanks to the IELTS Prize, I can now pursue my postgraduate studies in the U.K. over the course of two years.’

Another prize winner, Ayush Kumar, will be pursuing his undergraduate degree in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley this coming fall. ‘I feel extremely grateful and privileged to have been granted this opportunity,’ said Ayush. ‘IELTS is a rigorous and comprehensive English proficiency exam, and by preparing for and taking the exam, my English speaking and writing abilities have been refined and improved.’

‘As an international English proficiency test, IELTS has grown in popularity with over 2.9 million of tests taken in 2016, and is now recognised by over 10,000 organisations, including universities, employers and immigration authorities worldwide,’ said Greg Selby, Director Examinations, Examinations Services, East Asia. ‘We are pleased that our wide international acceptance and the IELTS Prize are helping more students in East Asia to pursue further study overseas.’ 

Our third local prize winner is an actress. Ngar Lai Cheung Annie is not only grateful for the honour of being an IELTS Prize winner, but also strongly believes that IELTS has been helpful in getting her ready for upcoming challenges. She said, ‘I am going to study acting at a prestigious UK drama school.  It's a great challenge to study drama and act in a second language.  IELTS sets out a clear benchmark for me to work from.  The achievement I got in IELTS also gives me confidence to live and study in the UK as an actress.’

As an IELTS official test centre, the British Council provides full support in preparing students to take the IELTS test, including the 30-hour free Road to IELTS, which is specially designed online practice material for registered students, and access to different preparation materials. Furthermore, test sessions are organised at least three times a month, which give students flexibility to choose the most suitable sessions.  For more details, please visit https://www.ieltsasia.org/hk. 


For more information, contact Mavis Ma (Communications Manager) on 2913 5260 or mavis.ma@britishcouncil.org.hk; Daphne Ho (Assistant Manager, Communications) on 2913 5266 or daphne.ho@britishcouncil.org.hk


Notes to Editor

(1) About the 2016/17 IELTS Prize Winners

In Hong Kong, our three local IELTS Prize winners are Ms Ngar Lai Cheung Annie, Mr Ayush Kumar and Ms Wai Shan Louise Yu (in alphabetical order based on their family names). 

Ngar Lai Cheung Annie: 

Annie has graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama, and she is going to the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in the UK to pursue a Master of Arts in Performance (Acting) postgraduate course. She was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress (Tragedy/Drama) award at the 22nd Hong Kong Drama Awards (2013) for her performance in Doubt, and in the same year, she also founded Dionysus Contemporary Theatre with renowned and award-winning actor Anthony Wong Chau-Sang and leading theatre director/actor Olivia Yan. As a performing artist, Annie has the passion to not only perfect and tackle challenging roles, but make meaningful art which could make a difference or convey positive messages in society. Upon completion of her studies in the UK, she plans to return to Hong Kong and continue to pursue her aspirations as an actress, as well as a creative producer.

Ayush Kumar:

Ayush is heading to the University of California, Berkeley in the U.S. in the coming fall to study Bioengineering as his first undergraduate degree. His father is a marine engineer and his sister a medical practitioner, and this dynamic background fundamentally forged Ayush’s aspiration in becoming a bioengineer, which is a unique blend of medicine and engineering. In the future, he hopes to utilise his skills and develop creative medical solutions to current problems and leave a positive impact in the world. He studied at West Island School, and has volunteered in Thailand and Vietnam. He also participated in the ‘Engineering for the Elite’ course organised by the University of Hong Kong, in which he learnt about the intricacies of the field of engineering – and where he also won the prize for robotics. 

Wai Shan Louise Yu:

When studying for her Bachelor of Arts in English Studies and Spanish Languages from the University of Hong Kong back in 2010, Louise participated in an English presentation competition on the topic of refugees in Hong Kong which left a lasting impact. That project ignited her passion in social responsibility, and she has then started volunteering to help immigrants assimilate into the local community. Her volunteering experience has motivated her to pursue her further studies in International Development, hoping to gain insights from different countries and contexts, allowing her to eventually return to Hong Kong and give back to society. Louise is already in the UK, and will start her Master of Arts in Conflict, Security and Development in September 2017 at the University of Sussex. 

(2) About International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, the world’s most popular English language proficiency test with over 2.9m tests taken in the last year. Over 10,000 organizations trust and accept IELTS as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true to life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. 

Candidates are tested in listening, reading, writing and speaking. All tests are scored on a banded system from 1 (the lowest) through to 9 (the highest possible band score). 

IELTS offers a choice of two versions, to serve both academic and non-academic purposes. IELTS Academic module measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and texts are accessible to all test-takers, irrespective of their subject focus. IELTS General Training module measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations. The General Training module is suitable for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we directly reach over 65 million people and more than 660 million people via broadcasts and publications.


Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Fifteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government. britishcouncil.org