Bachelor of Business Management/Commerce
Bachelor of Business Management/Commerce

I am enrolled in a dual degree in Business Management (Marketing) and Commerce (Accounting) at UQ and am currently in my fourth year. I studied at CUHK on my electives so had the amazing opportunity to study subjects like Gender in Asia, Performing Arts Management, Globalisation and Culture and Cultural Management. This is going to sound incredibly nerdy, but for me, my humanities subjects were the highlight of my exchange. I loved learning about so many things I had only vaguely heard of before and although head spinning at first, it was fascinating shifting the way I thought to actually understand different cultural paradigms. I went into this exchange with very little understanding or knowledge of our Asian neighbours and although my six months was only the tip of the iceberg, I found it so rewarding exploring other cultures. Hong Kong is a great place to do this as there isn’t much of a language barrier (besides the occasional taxi driver!) and it is probably one of the most multicultural places in Asia. Add to that its cheap living costs and proximity to beautiful places in South East Asia (I managed to get to Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Shenzen) and it is such a perfect place if you really want to see the world.

Something to keep in mind is that exchange in HK is not always easy. You’re uprooting yourself from your comfort zone into an entirely different country where, despite everyone speaking English, the majority of the population speak a language you may not understand (if you speak Cantonese, go you!) and to be honest, that can feel a little bit isolating sometimes but this where those great exchange friendships come in! While making friends with the locals is important, making friends with other exchange students is what keeps you sane and makes those homesick days a whole lot easier. They know exactly what you’re going through and are adjusting and learning at the same time as you are. I would tell anyone going on exchange anywhere to get involved in as many things as you’re interested in because you never know where you’ll make a new friend.

I lived on campus which I highly recommend as renting an apartment anywhere else in HK is very expensive and most landlords only speak Cantonese. I was at S H Ho College which has a compulsory meal plan. This includes three communal dinners a week (tues, weds, thurs) and a few formal dinners a semester which can be really great when you’re sick of cooking for yourself. Be warned, Western ingredients are generally more expensive than local ones and Western food may not come as you’d expect it at home. Either way, HK is very cheap and I lived very comfortably off $1,200HKD a week. You could definitely budget more though.

Living in HK for a semester was challenging at times but such a worthwhile experience overall. The knowledge, experiences and friends I’ve gained more than make up for the times of homesickness and culture shock and I’d really recommend it to anyone looking for more than your typical exchange experience.

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