Studying outside Europe – China

University of Hong Kong

Jennifer (International Relations)

Photo of study abroad student in Hong Kong

Studying abroad in Hong Kong was the best thing I have ever done. From a university of 7,000 students to a global megacity with the same number of skyscrapers, St Andrews to Hong Kong was like being transported to a different world. I had never stepped out of the West and, all of a sudden, my town with three streets became a city with one the most breath-taking skylines I had ever seen. In a matter of days, I fell in love with the chaos, vibrancy and dynamism of a unique city characterised by an explosion of cultural diversity. Hong Kong has it all – hiking, beaches and mountains; festivals, statues and temples; chopsticks, dim sum and food which I had never seen before.

Yet, aside from the city itself, my academic experience was fantastic. Don’t get me wrong – it was challenging and incredibly busy; but, at the same time, it was stimulating, engaging, and full of opportunities. The classes I took on Southeast Asia, and the knowledge imparted to me by my professors, allowed me to gain new perspectives which I could not have acquired anywhere else.

There were language barriers, culture shocks, and Asia was more different than I could have imagined. Yet, Hong Kong came to feel like home, and I miss it every day. Thinking of studying in Hong Kong? I cannot think of any possible reason why it won’t turn out to be one of the best decisions of your life.

Alexandra (International Relations)

Hong Kong photo

I spent my year abroad at the University of Hong Kong. When I first arrived, I suddenly found myself in the middle of the hustle and bustle that makes up such a big city. Entering a different University administration is a learning experience and requires a lot of independence and self-organisation.

Hannah (International Relations & Social Anthropology)

Hong Kong was never part of the plan: I couldn’t use chopsticks, I struggled with temperatures over 25 degrees, and I had only tried dim sum once and was not a big fan. Arriving in the most vibrant city I had ever seen to a 40 degree heat and extreme humidity was definitely a culture shock. But this initial feeling was soon overcome. I quickly learned how to negotiate the confusing campus, what meals were least likely to contain chicken feet, and, of course, how to use chopsticks!

There will never be words to describe the city or the experience. Living in Hong Kong provided the perfect opportunity to explore China and to experience the local culture first hand. Yet at the same time I never struggled to find a Starbucks (there was one beside the main library!) or a pizza when cravings struck. Although the year was academically challenging, there was still time to explore the city, whether this be some weekend hiking, 3am dim sum, shopping in the markets, or watching Dragon Dancing at a lunar festival.

The travel opportunities were endless – Asia was on my doorstep and all the exchange students I met seized this opportunity to travel and explore. One of the most enriching aspects of the experience was visiting different places and meeting so many new people. Despite visiting so many exciting places, it is Hong Kong with its diverse culture which still holds a special place in my heart. It became my home, making it very hard to say goodbye!

Photo student experience

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