William Kwong Chung

Current Job: 
PhD student at University of Bern (Switzerland).
It really helps to chat to advisors since they have extensive knowledge in the field and can point you in the right direction.

How I obtained my current position

After graduating from UCT, I wanted to pursue my studies in basic immunology. I applied for open PhD positions at different research institutions in Switzerland. I did my interview and was offered a PhD position in the lab of Professors Andrew Macpherson and Kathy McCoy at the University of Bern (Switzerland).

How my qualifications relate to my work

My qualifications are directly related to my current position. During my Masters, I had the opportunity to work on several projects at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative. This allowed me to work independently, drive my own project, design experiments to solve scientific questions and present my scientist work to fellow researchers. These are key skills to succeed in research.

Day-to-day activities

My day-to-day activities revolve around planning experiments, keeping up to date with current scientific literature, performing experiments and communicating scientific findings.

Best & most challenging parts of my job

The best part of the job is the freedom that the position offers. You have almost complete control over how to spend your time and have the opportunity to explore your own scientific ideas. The challenging part is being able to generate breakthrough scientific findings that are novel to be published in scientific journals, as well as being able to translate scientific results into practical applications.

Key lessons on being successful when living & working abroad

You need to be able to adapt to changing environments and the challenges that come with it. Being able to integrate into a new country and its culture is key to help you settle into your new environment. You have to network with different people, not only the ones in your field of work; you will need them to succeed.

What advice can you give to students wanting to pursue further studies abroad?

Carefully consider all your different options and do an in depth search about the university or research institution where you would like to pursue your studies. Make sure that moving overseas will actually benefit you in the long run for your career.

Involvement at UCT

I played indoor soccer at UCT and was also a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

How I used the Careers Service

The Careers Service informed me about my different career options after I graduated with my Master’s. It really helps to chat to advisors since they have extensive knowledge in the field and can point you in the right direction.

Getting a competitive edge while at UCT 

Network with fellow peers in your field and nurture these connections. Surround yourself with positive people who will help you achieve your goals.

About approaching your own career development journeys

Be adventurous and importantly, do what you love. Remain positive and enthusiastic in whatever you do.