Looking back at my semester abroad, wow, what a beautiful chapter in my life. I still remember how a bit over a year ago, when I was applying for exchange universities, I placed my top three universities all in Hong Kong. Pretty sure some people thought I was crazy (maybe I am haha), but no regrets.
The reason I wanted to exchange in Hong Kong was because the city is known for its perfect West-East mix. As someone born in the Southern part of China but grown up in the West, it was a good opportunity for me to bond with my culture of origin and improve my Cantonese skills. So, when I found out that I was going to be studying at The Chinese University of Hong Kong for a semester, I could only jump from happiness. Today, one month after saying goodbye to Hong Kong and all the friends I made on the journey, I can easily say that those were the best four months of my life. To anyone considering an exchange abroad, or has exchange as an optional part of the curriculum, I really encourage you to grab this chance. The experience is simply life changing!
My current study programme is quite international already but my cultural knowledge has doubled during my time abroad. The endless hang-outs, dinners and shopping trips with friends from different kinds of backgrounds taught me that every culture has its uniqueness. The Mandarin class I took where I used to complain that my tongue hurts after every class has led me to being able to understand quite a bit of Mandarin now. And all those classes on Chinese culture and society has helped me to understand the country’s past. Oh, and those travel trips across Asia – I took so many photos that my phone probably got stressed from telling me that the memory was full ?.
During my semester abroad, I have learned two very important lessons from my friends that I believe is worth sharing with you. The first one is to passionately chase your dreams, because if you don’t do it yourself, who else will? A bit of motivation is always good right? ? The other one is to always be kind, because we never know what kind of battles the person in front of us is fighting. These messages left a big impact on me and I hope they can mean something to you as well, such as to encourage you to pursue your goals and always show kindness to the people around you.
This last paragraph, I want to dedicate to the greatest exchange friends. If you have made it to here, you are the best- so allow me to use this opportunity to express my gratitude to you. A world of thank you is not even enough. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for making my exchange so enjoyable. Thank you for teaching me about anything and everything. Thank you for the beautiful memories. I am incredibly blessed to have met every single one of you and I wish you the best of luck in everything you do. Looking forward to our reunion because I am positive we will meet again some time in the future ?.
Hope to see you soon!