Nina Perukarote – Business Management (Fast Track) – Level 2
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
It has been over half a year since I left Hong Kong, and yet, I am still crying. I had the privilege of spending my exchange semester in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Baptist University, and here is how it went:
Benefits of exchange, and why anyone should give Hong Kong a shot
I was very familiar with the Asian region, having spent my middle school in Cambodia. However, I have changed my views on life since I was 13. That is why the opportunity to go on exchange acted as a great opportunity to experience life in a drastically different environment, at a later stage in life. HKBU was the only Asian institute QMU students could go on exchange on, and so I seized the opportunity right away and was lucky to get my first choice.
Hong Kong can be best described as when East meets West. Previously a British colony, Hong Kong is a balance between being an Asian metropolitan city (and the best skyline in the world) with great Western influence.
Culture Shock was quite evident for me, but that is a challenge I very much enjoyed. Hong Kong is so distinct from Europe, in terms of people, traditions, values, climate, general pace, etc.
However, Hong Kong’s benefits exceeded all the tiny inconveniences. If you are a foodie, Hong Kong serves all kinds of fine dishes, even Michelin rated restaurants, starting from 3 pounds a dish. Hong Kong has an amazing nightlife, and I especially miss the infamous ladies’ nights (up to three times a week) where every girl gets free drinks. Not to mention, the amounts of times I have won a few pounds in Hong Kong’s glorious horse races, which remained when the British colonial times ended.
Hong Kong has amazing places to visit, but my favourite free time activity was to go on strenuous hikes, to be rewarded by magnificent views of Hong Kong’s amazing skyline and nature.
Thanks to Hong Kong being so central geographically, it was very easy to travel to other places in Asia. Flight tickets to places like Japan and Cambodia were extremely cheap, so that was another aspect that drew me to live in Hong Kong. Asia has so many good treasures, such as the Great Wall of China, amazing architecture and temples, lovely beaches and nature, and many more.
A useful advice I can give, is to save up as much money as you can, prior to going on exchange to maximise your experience in Hong Kong and its neighbouring regions. It is probably quite wise, if you stay in the dorms from the university, as they are enormously cheaper as opposed to getting a place outside. Another useful thing is to save up for travelling, by perhaps working during the year or summer. Travelling to places in Asia is generally quite cheap. You can expect to pay for hostels from 5USD to 20 pounds and hotels under 100 quid. Food is also extremely cheap. However, do make sure to research every place thoroughly, prior to going to the place. Also, travelling within mainland China requires a good planning through, in terms of visa and use of Google, so make sure not to slack.
Before coming to exchange I feared that I will not make any friends and will miss home, but as soon as I arrived Hong Kong, I realised that is the biggest lie I have been telling myself. Hong Kong has about 6 universities, with 250 to 600 exchange students in each one of those. You are bound to make at least a few friends. In my experience, I was even getting to know new people on my last weekend there. Most students are on the same wavelength with each other, so it would be unlikely that you would not have a great time. I did not miss home a single time, in fact, I was dreading to come home.
It was very nice mingling with local HK students because you really see a difference in the way they approach their studies. It was also interesting to see how theories of managements were taught in Hong Kong, as opposed to Scotland. I had the chance to be slightly flexible with my modules, so I really chose courses that I thought were interesting. HKBU offers a wide range of modules within various faculties, so make sure to take advantage of that. One mistake I did, was not picking my modules in time, because that left me to be allocated to weird and inconvenient timings. Additionally, be expected to have an exam in every single module. I had to take 6 modules, in which I had to write an exam for each in a giant exam hall, full of other faculties. I was taken aback by the exam conditions, such as having arranged seating and various exam papers.
All in all, going on exchange to Hong Kong was the best time of my life, and I thank QMU every day, as they made it possible for me. Unfortunately, Hong Kong now is in an unstable situation, and my thoughts are to every lovely HK person (especially those I met) currently undergoing the situation. However, one thing is certain, I will return to Hong Kong soon.