Marnie - The Chinese University of Hong Kong

B. Business Management/Arts
Semester 2, 2015

Academic experience

At CUHK, I was able to continue my studies in Mandarin and build on the knowledge I'd previously gained at UQ in my management and marketing studies. I learned different strategies applicable to the Chinese market and how multinational companies can enter this market and other developing markets in the Asia-Pacific region. I found some courses challenging without a background in Chinese culture and history, however, my peers at CUHK supported me and helped me adapt to new ways of thinking.

Personal experience

During my time abroad, I hiked to mountain tops, drafted reports on some of the largest and most influential corporations in China, danced with locals in mainland China, learned Chinese painting from one of Hong Kong's greatest artists, ate countless egg tarts and constantly tried to practice Chinese with anyone holding enough patience to bear it. I made lifelong friendships, immersed myself in a culture so different and yet so familiar to my own and crossed items off my bucket list as quickly as I found more to add on. 

Studying in Hong Kong was at times, extremely challenging. I endeavoured to try anything and everything so plunged myself into very time-intensive courses focused on addressing business and market environments that were completely new to me. I continued my Mandarin language studies while my college mates and classmates were gracious enough to listen to my terrible attempts at Cantonese. My college and program had fantastic extra-curricular programs that exchange students can get involved in, so I was even able to try my hand at Chinese painting, hiking, calligraphy, yoga and teaching English. 

The impact these experiences have had on me academically, professionally and personally is immeasurable. 


Waking up to views of spectacular green mountains over a bay was my reality during my exchange. I lived at CUHK at a tight-knit college of 600 students called 善衡書院 (S. H. Ho College). The entire college creed is centred around the concept of "jia" (家)which means family, or home. The whole community gladly welcomes exchange students into their family and creates a home away from home. I would recommend that future students seriously look into staying on campus, as the sense of community and belonging I experienced was central to my time abroad.


I would recommend that every student save up as much as they can, and apply for as many grants and scholarships within their reach. Hong Kong is somewhat of a central location in South East Asia, so I found it extremely convenient and cost-effective to travel extensively during my time abroad. Saving at least AUD $1000 - $1500 worth of spending money each month on top of accommodation expenses allowed me to take advantage of cheap flights on a regular basis and travel to places I'd never imagined I would go. Without my extra buffer for travel, I would have missed out on countless weekends of exploration and valuable experiences.

Professional development and employability

My biggest challenge in Hong Kong was also my most meaningful source of growth. In the beginning of my exchange studies, I sometimes found myself on a different wavelength to my classmates because of the differences in our education, upbringing and cultural backgrounds. Especially when learning specifically about Chinese business relations, I often struggled to adapt my mindset to one that wasn't my own. Though I had previously considered cross-cultural communication to be an important attribute for any graduate, I had misinterpreted my own ability to be flexible in not only my actions but my thoughts and decision making skills. In a city home to so many different cultures, and countless multinational companies from across the globe, I was exposed to a myriad of cultures different to my own and encouraged to adapt my critical thinking and analytical skills. A global mindset and strong intercultural communication abilities are invaluable to me as I finish my final year of studies and begin my career. My time abroad has strengthened my capabilities and encouraged me to continue working towards improving this skillset for my professional development.


The highlight of my exchange was having the opportunity to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival in a city that never sleeps. The festival is a chance for family and friends to reunite and celebrate while the harvest moon is at its fullest. What this looked like was bustling streets, fireworks, stomachs full of mooncakes and thousands of beautiful lanterns strewn around a city usually lit up by neon lights. In true Hong Kong style, Chinese heritage met dynamic city in the most spectacular way, and I was thankful to have taken part.

Top tips

  • If you are considering whether exchange is right for you, first dream of what you want to ideally gain from your experience. Then dream bigger. And bigger again. This is the reality of studying abroad. 
  • You will encounter a better version of yourself than you could have imagined. You can immerse yourself in a new culture, a new language, a new niche of study and a new set of experiences beyond what you had ever planned. If you have the ability to go on exchange, jump at the opportunity. 
  • UQ is extremely encouraging and will help you to explore whichever corner of the globe you please. The UQ Abroad staff are willing to help you find a solution for your academic, professional, personal and language-based needs. 
  • When I first started talking to UQ Abroad, I never imagined that I would be living in a skyscraper in Hong Kong a year later. 
  • Finally, plan ahead. but be prepared to come back and say "my only regret is that I didn't stay longer".


Marnie - The Chinese University of Hong Kong