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A 22-year-old medical student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said she learned to speak Cantonese to help ethnic minority people in the city – and Hongkongers.

Sneha Singh, a Hong Kong-born year five medical student of Indian origin, speaks fluent Cantonese to her patients at the Prince of Wales Hospital thanks to her hard work to learn the dialect, HK01.com reported.

Sneha learnt Cantonese when she studied at a local primary school. However, she left the language behind when she went to an international secondary school.

During the first year of her university study, Sneha had difficulty communicating with local patients at the hospital.

“If I want to be part of the community, I must learn Cantonese,” she said to herself.

Her belief was reinforced when she found that ethnic minority people often strike difficulties when they go for a medical consultation in a clinic or at a hospital because they don’t speak Cantonese and can’t communicate well with the doctors.

Some ethnic minority people don’t even speak English, so they have to find a relative or friend who knows English to accompany them to a medical appointment.

Sneha said that in the long run she would like to set up a free clinic to take care of ethnic minority people, as she knows Indian and she could explain and teach them how to describe their illness to other doctors.

“I’m a Hongkonger, and I want to help not only Indian or ethnic minorities but all Hong Kong people,” Sneha explained.

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