MU Connect issue 5 (page 12 to 13)

Home About HKMU University Publications MU Connect MU Connect issue 5 (page 12 to 13)

Bringing diverse cultures
into teaching and research

The University has strived to diversify its faculty by actively recruiting academic staff members of different nationalities and backgrounds, looking to introduce various perspectives to education and research. In this issue, two teaching staff members at the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration (B&A), Dr Eric Adom Asante from Ghana and Dr Richard Hrankai from Hungary, share with us their cultural experiences in Hong Kong and elsewhere, as well as how these experiences affect their teaching and research at HKMU.

To begin with, both of you pursued further studies in Hong Kong. Why did you choose Hong Kong as the destination for further studies and stay behind for work?

It's quite common for students in our country to pursue further studies overseas, and I had a university classmate completing his master's in mainland China. Thanks to his recommendation, we both applied to universities here in Hong Kong. I finished my PhD in the midst of pandemic in 2021, when many countries were locked down. Yet, I had offers to stay behind. I considered Hong Kong one of the best places for academic work, so I decided to continue my teaching and research in Hong Kong.

After finishing my master's degree, I worked in the hotel industry for a while. Then, I had the thought of extending my research with a doctoral degree. I chose Hong Kong because it has a strong position in hospitality and tourism education, as well as academic research in general. In addition, I had never been to Asia, and I thought it would broaden my horizons to live and work in an Asian city.  

Did you encounter any culture shock when you first arrived in Hong Kong? What did you find most challenging to adapt to?

The size of the rooms! (laughs) In Ghana, we have a more spacious living area. When my family moved to Hong Kong with me, we had to adapt to the tiny house. 

For me it's the fast-paced life and the size of the city. People in Budapest are more relaxed and live at a slower pace. Hong Kong also has a much larger population and is much denser and more crowded than I was used to. I had to adjust myself to this environment when I came here.

As expatriate business researchers, do you think your experiences in Hong Kong have shaped your research in any ways?

Definitely. My latest research explores the role of intermodal public transport systems in driving tourist flows to peripheral attractions, and it was conducted in the context of Hong Kong. It was also inspired by my experience of visiting attractions in Hong Kong, such as Sai Kung and the Big Buddha. A journey to such destinations often involves using a combination of public transport modes, such as MTR and minibus rides. Our research discovered that the provision of clear guidance on public transport via methods like vehicle screens or announcements influences tourists' willingness to visit peripheral attractions. I hope that our research can help improve the efficiency of the public transport system, which will not only increase tourists' desire to visit Hong Kong, but also benefit the local community.

Have you had opportunities to work with colleagues of different cultural backgrounds at HKMU? How're you finding your experience?

I'm glad to have the opportunity to exchange ideas and work with a staff of diverse backgrounds at B&A, especially engaging in research with like-minded colleagues. For instance, I've recently conducted a research with Dr Hamid Khurshid from Pakistan to examine the impact of trait grit on aspiring entrepreneurs' new venture ideation.   

How do you make use of your cultural experiences in teaching and learning at the University?

When I teach students about labour relations, law and governance, I cite examples from Ghana to give them a different perspective and enrich their understanding.


I've worked in hotels in Switzerland and Dubai, where I had to interact with tourists from different countries. There I gained cultural insights as to how tourists of different nationalities perceive their travelling experiences. In class, I share with my students these experiences I gained from work and encourage them to analyse global cases. Hopefully this will help them apply business concepts in real life.

What do you think the University can do more to promote internationalisation?

It'll be great if the University continues to hire more staff of various backgrounds. I think B&A is already doing very well in promoting exchange. The Global Immersion Programme is helping both staff and students develop a global mindset. I'm also looking forward to seeing students visiting Africa to learn more about its diverse cultures.

I think the Tourism and Hospitality Team in B&A, which I'm part of, is doing a great job by signing MOUs with international hotel chains and other organisations to offer internships for students. From my own experience, I found it really eye-opening to work in a mega hotel in Dubai. It'll be a great help to offer students opportunities to work in an international environment. Another step I think the University can take is developing more joint research initiatives with researchers all over the world.

On a lighter note, could you introduce us to some of the cultural characteristics of your country?

Ghanaians are a fun-loving people. We enjoy participating in festivals, and the majority of Ghanaian festivals are created around food! For example, Homowo, a harvest festival celebrated by the Ga people of Ghana, means 'mocking hunger' in the Ga language. To celebrate these festivals, people go out to the streets with friends and family to enjoy delicious food.

Hungary has a rich history and a diverse culture. Its culture is characterised by things like folk traditions, religious customs, traditional embroidered clothing, a unique cuisine and folk music. Our folk traditions feature beautifully decorated pottery, intricate embroidery and lively celebrations filled with music and dance. Hungary is also famous for its lively cultural events. For example, the Sziget Festival is a massive music festival hosted in Budapest.

Speaking of food, could you recommend some famous foods from your country?

I'd recommend an African staple food called 'Fufu', which is a cassava dough. If you're interested, restaurants in Chungking Mansions serve wonderful African dishes!

Hungarian cuisine is very flavourful and colourful. Goulash and chicken paprikash are two popular dishes. Unfortunately I haven't found any Hungarian restaurants in Hong Kong, but sometimes you can find some Hungarian dishes in German- or Austrian-style restaurants.