Student Journeys

My study abroad programme: the process and its significance 

I want to share my experience participating in a study abroad exchange program for one semester. This was a simple online application; I had to provide personal information with a short cover letter about why I wanted to do the program. Later, we had an online briefing session with the go-abroad team. It was a question-and-answer session to provide all information we sure we have enough information. Generally, it is about logistics, such as buying an airline ticket, accommodation, travel insurance, the amount of funds we need to have whilst we are away, and what to do if there is an emergency.

I initially wanted to go to Beijing (China); after my successful application and receiving a welcoming email informing me that it may be an issue with COVID-19 and the possibility of online teaching. However, after discussing it with the study abroad team at the University, I became aware of Hong Kong as an option. Hence, I decided to do it at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

At University, I was pleasantly surprised by passionate professors with very interactive lectures; we had many groups works and workshops. My major is politics, so we had interesting political debates, including the simulation of the ASEAN organisation. Lectures there are a bit longer compared to what we have in Westminster, so I needed some extra time to adapt, but everyone is very understanding, and if you face any issues, they are there to help. I did four modules in my semester: Global Politics, International Relations in Southeast Asia, Social Research and Leadership development. Each module had 2-3 coursework, including group presentations, essays, literature reviews, and debates between groups.

University was one of the best in Hong Kong, with a vast 150 hectares campus surrounded by beautiful nature where you can see monkeys, and sometimes wild pigs, and gorgeous butterflies flying all around. In addition, magical mountains surround the University.

There are local free buses to bring students around the campus. There are around 25 different canteens to eat, with freshly made food, a delicious hot meal with famous Hong Kong-style milk tea, and dessert would cost you only £4:00.
There is an outside swimming pool, at least ten tennis courts, basketball and football fields, a local grocery store and the massive 5-floor very modern library where you can find any book you can imagine or make most of your studies using study space. If you know how to use it, you even will find a 3D printer. We always discussed with local and exchange students that this place is a paradise for any student.

I was living inside the campus. The accommodation was simple and basic, with a new modern kitchen, good showers, everyday cleaners, gym, study rooms, etc.; I paid about £250:00 per month charge.

From campus to the Hong Kong centre was very easy to get by metro line, the station was at the campus, and you would need around 30 minutes to reach the central area, and the journey will cost less than one pound. Hong Kong has many things to explore, museums, exhibitions, local traditional markets, authentic restaurants, enormous shopping malls, some tax-free, western-style bars and clubs for those who like parties, and stunning nature for hiking lovers. Local people are proud of Hong Kong hiking trails with different and beautiful islands to explore with affordable access by ferry, where you can find sandy beaches and authentic small villages.

And to mention, Hong Kong is a very safe place with warm and friendly people; I didn’t have any problems, and most of the people have basic skills to communicate in English.

I enjoyed my exchange study programme in Hong Kong, and I hope my story gives you some ideas if you are considering an exchange programme.

Gediminas Vaiciunas

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