Yvonne - The Chinese University of Hong Kong

B. Commerce/Economics
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

At CUHK I studied 5 courses which are equivalent to 4 courses (8 units) at UQ. I had the opportunity to study 3 electives and 2 courses related to Economics: Chinese Society (UGEA2190), Business Environment of China (ECON3370), International Relations in Southeast Asia (GLBS3405), Communication in Context - Putonghua (CPTH3333) & Social Issues and Problems in Contemporary China (CCSS3420). I enjoyed doing these courses as they were focused on class discussions, short written assignments and watching media material to understand the economic and social issues happening in China. There were a lot of marks attributable to participation in class and relatively less focus on exams. The biggest challenge was getting through the course selection week where 2 of my courses had timetable clashes and the enrollment system called CUSIS was quite slow as all students at CUHK were trying to select courses at the same time.

Personal experience

A highlight for me personally on exchange was being able to form friendships with like-minded people who were interested in Asian culture like myself. It is safe to say I will be able to get some really good advice and travel tips from people all around the world now that I've caught the travel bug. During my exchange I was able to improve my Cantonese and Mandarin spoken skills and advance in my Chinese writing ability. In terms of travelling, I was very lucky with the courses I picked and was able to go travelling every second weekend of my exchange! I was able to get cheap flights to nearby locations such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau and explore many major cities within China such as Shanghai, Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou. Kunming and Lijiang. I didn't expect to be able to explore so many places, however, being organised and efficient with my study time really allowed me to have this amazing opportunity.

Accommodation

Shatin skyline

I lived on campus at International House which is a flat like living arrangement in a shared room with a local CUHK student. Living at International House was a great opportunity to meet new friends, in particular, the hundreds of other exchange students at the university. My favourite memory was being able to have a conversation with my roommate in English, Cantonese and Mandarin! I would recommend living here if you want to meet other local and international students, however, it is not in the best location but you are able to take a free shuttle bus to the main campus to attend class

Budget

The accommodation on campus is very well organised by the university prior to your arrival we had to nominate from a selection of colleges. II lived at I-House Block 2 which cost approximately $800AUD for the whole semester which is much cheaper than living off campus and includes facilities such as a shared kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room and badminton courts. Spending in Hong Kong is much cheaper than in Brisbane for food, transport and travelling to other countries. There is a wide range of food available at the many canteens on campus with both Asian and Western cuisine ranging from AUD $3-$5. Otherwise you can travel to the nearest big mall which is approximately 3 stops on the metro system for restaurant like meals which costs less than AUD$12 depending on what you eat. Hong Kong was a fantastic destination to travel from as airport tax is relatively cheap and many budget airlines such as HK Express and HK Airlines had cheap flights every Monday night to nearby locations. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of being in such a central location to go travelling to nearby countries.

Professional development and employability

Ferris wheel in Hong Kong

The experience has most definitely contributed to my professional development as it has allowed me to connect with my peers who are all self driven individuals. Further I was able to enhance my spoken Chinese skills through bartering and conversations with locals in China.

Highlight

The highlight of my experience was being able to go on so many spontaneous trips to many nearby countries which allowed me to have a great appreciation for fast pace living and personal independence. One of my favourite memories was going on a cruise ship with some friends for Halloween and being able to appreciate the Hong Kong skyline at such a close proximity. I was also lucky enough to visit a lot of family friends and relatives who lived in both Hong Kong and China; many who I had not seen since my childhood.

Top tips

  • My advice to other students considering exchange would be simply JUST DO IT!
  • Going on exchange allowed me to grow as a person, form lasting friendships and an amazing opportunity to be overseas for 6 months knowing I was still contributing to my studies.
  • Also, don't forget to have a decent camera to capture all the good memories. Hong Kong will definitely not disappoint! It is a vibrant city that never seems to sleep!
Yvonne - The Chinese University of Hong Kong