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For Hong Kong student, volleyball is a life transformation

By Shelden Rogers

BELLEVILLE – When Kam Fung (Ken) Tai moved to Canada from Hong Kong, everything in his life changed.

Tai made the move to start his post-secondary education at Loyalist College this school year. Tai is studying business.

“It’s a great school – small, but teachers are friendly. Classmates, students are pretty good. It’s a small college, but a big opportunity,” he said.

When he first arrived, not only did he not know anyone, he didn’t speak English well.

But all that changed when he joined the volleyball team.

“Volleyball just made my friendships and my interpersonal relationships become better and better. It’s a great thing to tell people that I play volleyball. And people are like, ‘Wow, volleyball, that’s awesome.’ ”

It all started with his teammates. Wherever he goes, his team is not far behind. He says they do everything together.

“At first, I came from far, far away from Canada. I was alone. But my teammates treat me really well. We hang out a lot. We have supper together, we travel together, we play together, we’re happy together, we cry together, we’re sad together. All of my teammates treat me really well, and I love them so much.”

Tai began playing volleyball nine years ago in Hong Kong, but “playing volleyball in Canada is totally different,” he said. ‘You’re facing different people (as opposed to always the same players) and it’s just so fun.”

In Hong Kong, “we didn’t have home and away games. Our home crowd (at Loyalist) was pretty sick last (game). I really enjoyed (it). But back home we always have the same audience and face the same players every time.”

Tai will be heading back to Hong Kong at the end of April. He plans to take everything he has learned in Canada and use it in his life back home, both on and off the court.

“I think my teamwork and leadership has built up more and more because I can communicate with different guys, even though it’s Canadian. So when I go back to Hong Kong this may be my advantage.”

But he may not be gone long. Tai is considering coming back for more schooling in Canada, and maybe even a life beyond school.

“I really love Canada. If I retire, I might move into Canada as well