Hong Kong UST
First, I’ll start with my campus experience. The academic structure is very similar to my home university; lectures are one and a half hour long and courses are graded on the o-so-mighty curve. The latter brought me a bit of worry, because HKUST is quite competitive. So even on a pass or fail basis, I still needed to allocate time for some wholehearted, focused studying. Investment and Portfolio Management is the class I learnt the most from, as the professor’s lectures are worth attending, unlike most classes where you can simply get material from PowerPoint slides. For business courses at UST, there is a least some group work component, although it might not require a lot of actual team work. Finals are worth at most 50% of the total grade.
HKUST, as you might have seen from my pictures, feels more like a vacation spot than a school. It’s very easy to take for granted the fact that the ocean within walking distance from my hall. Although the sea breeze became chillier when winter kicked in, I always make sure to admire it every morning when walking to class (won’t be seeing such sight when I get back!). As UST is a “university town, ” it’s easy and convenient to get necessities for the hall life. Park’n’Shop, a grocery/convenience shop, is located near the canteen and has a comprehensive stock of necessities.
There is much variety of food at the school canteens, but after a while, you can get tired of the selection. So, our time outside of school in Hong Kong was mainly comprised of eating and shopping, plus an occasional hike or day trip to the outlying islands. There is so much to talk about when it comes to these two activities that I can write whole other blog post about it (which is exactly my plan!). Transport wise, it’s easy to hop on the minibus and get to the nearest MTR station in about 15 to 20 minutes. To go downtown, it’ll take about 1.5 hours in total. It seems like a long time, but to be honest, time flies when you’re having fun (ie, chatting with friends).
Hong Kong is not just a world class financial centre as it is often advertised and known; there are so many other faces of this place and it takes time to discover them. Instead of travelling to one country after another, I decided to spend more time to immerse myself with the local culture and the way of living. In areas away from the famous skyscrapers, there are still plentiful of high rises catered to the ordinary life. There are government houses offered to subsidize low income families, there are shopping centres and groceries linked to MTR stations to provide convenience for blue and white collars, and there are outlying islands accessible by ferry that promise life at a slower pace.
Hong Kong offered me an amazing exchange experience with its culture, people, and places. It’s an adventure I won’t forget!
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