Program and Location
Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Hong Kong, China
Why did you choose to study abroad?
Studying abroad provided many new opportunities that I wouldn’t normally have. A chance to take classes with a different approach, a chance to live on the other side of the world, a chance to truly live completely on my own, and a chance to explore EVERYTHING.
What did you learn about yourself?
I purposefully chose to go to Hong Kong because I knew the culture was as different from home as it could get, and I also made it a point to not know anybody or go with any friends. These circumstances allowed me to really push myself out of my comfort zone and test how I can adapt. I didn’t know the language, the culture, or the people, but I was there for a semester and had to survive. I’m happy to say I did more than just survive, I welcomed every new experience with open arms and realized that I am the type to adapt to anything thrown at me and can find happiness in all situations.
What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
The best part of my time abroad was the chance to explore not only Hong Kong, but all the countries around it. During my time there I got a chance to visit Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, and Vietnam! Being able to experience all these new places with their own cultures, foods, sights, and people was an absolute blast. And due to the way classes are set up and the holidays, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time in these places and really explore them!
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Jump first, ask questions later. Of course, make sure you’re safe and not in any life-risking danger, but if you’re at a school event or something similar, there is no reason to hesitate for anything. I made it a point to volunteer for nearly everything if asked, even if I wasn’t 100% sure what it was. Best case, I would have a great time and find out something new I enjoy, worst case, it was a great story to tell and laugh about.
This mentality led me to become the president of the Student Exchange Club, going on crazy hikes with breathtaking views, and winning my first cooking competition (while also cooking for the first time in my life)!
How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
My time abroad has brought a new wave of confidence in me. I purposefully put myself in unknown situations and pushed myself to navigate them successfully. After a whole semester of “jumping first, asking questions later”, I started to realize that I can handle a lot of situations as long as I just keep a good attitude and open mind. I carried this mindset over with my back home and can already tell the difference.
I actually immediately jumped into a summer internship after my study abroad semester and continued with pushing myself out of my comfort zone and seizing new opportunities as they come. This has led to me meeting many more people than I would have, getting on projects that brought different work experiences, and directly impacted the quality of my internship. I am sure that these habits will continue onward and I will be able to progress in my career much more successfully because of it.
Would you do it again?
In a heartbeat. I actually plan to go back next summer to meet with some of the local friends I made!