UQ Program: Bachelor of Business Management

Being in my third and final year of a Bachelor of Business Management (International Business) degree, I decided I wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Hence I applied to do an exchange at Hong Kong University. Having previously lived in China, and with Hong Kong being a business hub, I figured this would be the perfect destination. The only problem being, I speak Mandarin, not Cantonese, which is predominant throughout Hong Kong. Fear not, Hong Kong is an old British colony, so English was also prevalent.

Choosing courses at HKU proved to be difficult, however through much persistence it all worked out. Obviously trying to choose courses back in Australia for the coming semester makes it difficult, as HKU course offerings change. I signed on for a wide range of courses, from international business to economics, and Mandarin. This wide focus enabled me to experience different teaching methods, plus introduce me to a greater variety of people, locals and foreigners. I was staying at one of the colleges, which is highly recommended as there are always locals or exchange students to do stuff with.

Hong Kong is the perfect mix of East meets West. It is not as challenging as heading straight to the mainland, but serves as a good stepping stone to then venture into those places. Most Western products are available, but also a good mix of local products, ranging from food, drinks, and other everyday items. Hong Kong has a fantastic location for exploring just about anywhere. Numerous airlines offer cheap flights here, there, and everywhere. In six months I visited the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Mongolia. Not just a quick visit, but long enough to actually experience something different and have time to appreciate it. The exchange cohort for this particular semester was quite large. I met a lot of fantastic people, with whom I partied, travelled, studied with and so on, which further contributes to building strong relationships. Unfortunately I won’t keep in contact with all of these people, but there’s certainly a good few that I will continue to be good friends with well into the future. There’s a big crew of people already planning a Hong Kong reunion, so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

Living in Hong Kong, compared to China, was a relative stroll in the park. However everybody is different and responds to situations differently. I like to think of myself as a very open minded person, who doesn’t get stressed out by much. Occasionally I experienced a bad day, but you’re surrounded by stacks of other people who are all in the same position as yourself, and everyone supports each other; like a big family. The worst feeling I experienced is the last week before everyone departed. I was going off travelling with a heap of mates, so it wasn’t too bad for me. However having gone through such a life changing experience together with a great bunch of people, it really tears at your heart to leave them. Thank God for Facebook and Skype.

Just to round this off, a few tips. Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), Wan Chai, and the IFC rooftop are fantastic places to drink. Also, never underestimate the enjoyment one can have by Club 7 (7/11) hopping. If you’re adventurous, try a 7/11 hop. This involves walking from your residence to LKF or wherever you want, whilst stopping at every 7/11 and grabbing a beer or two. Guaranteed to end in tears! The horse races at Happy Valley are also worth a look. It’s cheap to lay down a few bets too. Also, hike The Peak for a sunrise or sunset, absolutely beautiful. Overall Hong Kong was absolutely fantastic, and I will treasure this experience forever. Any place where it’s cheaper to buy two beers instead of one is favourable in my books!

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