New Staff Spotlight: Beatrice Ugolini

1. Could you introduce yourself a bit (background & role at GSIS)?

I joined the GSIS university guidance counselling team this past August. This is my second year in Hong Kong, as last year I was completing a Master’s in education at HKU.

2. We are very excited to have you join our GSIS community. What are you looking forward to the most this year?

Of course, I am looking forward to getting to know our students, staff, and parents. I am also excited to learn more about Hong Kong and have a chance to explore it!

3. Can you tell us more about your previous working experience?

Prior to moving to Hong Kong, I was working as a university counsellor for a private school in Shanghai. Before that, I worked for my alma mater in the US as an international admissions counsellor, where I focused on recruiting applicants and reading applications from East Asia.

4. Where did you grow up and how was your schooling experience?

I grew up in Milan, Italy. For high school, I chose to attend a liceo classico (classical high school), so my course load was heavy on Greek, Latin, philosophy, history, and Italian literature. It is a curriculum unique to Italy, and incredibly rigorous. Even at the time, my schooling experience felt outdated. We had no extra-curricular activities in school, we had to go to school on Saturdays, and too much of our learning was simple memorisation. I studied on the same books my mom had studied on — a clear sign that the curriculum had not changed much in 30 years. To this day, I still have dreams about translating passages from Greek and Latin and forgetting noun declinations and verb conjugations! However, looking back, I now feel lucky to have been able to go through it, as it gave me a much deeper knowledge and appreciation for my own history and culture.

For university, I chose to attend a small liberal arts college in the US. After 13 years of nationally mandated curriculum, I was excited about the freedom to dive into new subjects. In my first year of university I took everything I could (anthropology, politics, photography, art history, contemporary dance…), and eventually decided to focus on Chinese language and culture and political philosophy.

5. Our community at GSIS is very excited to meet you. Do you have any words to share with them?

A few words of encouragement to our students:

Non scholae sed vitae discimus - We do not learn for school but for life (Seneca)

Think about the bigger picture. Your lifelong journey of discovery is just beginning!