Bobby Nolan – Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Grant, Hong Kong Baptist University
I am currently on a student exchange with an Erasmus+ international credit mobility grant here in Hong Kong, which will be my new home for this semester. I am already here over a month and have enjoyed every second. The culture, the place and most importantly the people have surpassed all my expectations. Settling in was no problem as all the exchange students are very open minded and outgoing. I’d made over 10 friends before I’d even left the airport to go the University and I’m now good pals with over 200 more.
Hong Kong as a place is genuinely spectacular. It has everything really. The city itself has an amazing skyline, especially at night when all the buildings are lit up. There is also a great buzz around the city, a nice sense of hustle and bustle for those who like life in the fast lane. But just 5 minutes from that you have some of the best scenery I’ve seen, picturesque beaches, unbelievable hikes. I was even in a public park the other day surrounded by over 200 monkeys, just chilling. It’s a massive culture shock but not overwhelming in any way.
The facilities here are second to none, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer pitches you name it. I actually tried to play a bit of basketball with some young local school children the other day. I could tell that they thought I was going to be like Michael Jordan in Spacejam but in reality I wasn’t even Tweety bird. The school children well and truly schooled me.
The weather is pretty extreme at times, it’s invariably sunny but there has been one or “typhoons” here in the last few weeks. I invert typhoons as its just standard Irish rain really. It’s always humid though which I found tough to get used to initially but it’s getting better. Every building is well ventilated and the air con is always on.
Although I’m on the other side of the world I feel extremely safe down here, but as soon as I landed I realised that there was not a thing to worry about. Trying to get in to the university itself is like going through airport security and every place seems to be the same. The people are ridiculously honest and gentle here so crime rates are really low. I’ve even seen some shops who just leave their stalls outside at night, completely stocked. they don’t even comprehend that someone might want to steal their stuff. So safety is definitely not an issue.
I’ve talked pretty much about everything at this stage except for the actual college itself which is probably the most important aspect. I study five modules over here, mostly marketing but one computer science and one mandarin Chinese. I actually enjoy them all, especially the marketing ones where the material is really new and relevant. The classes are taught through English and the lecturers are all really impressive. Attendance is more or less mandatory here really; you need to attend over 70% of your classes to even sit the final exam. But with the warm weather there is no problem getting out of bed, unlike home. 5 weeks in and I haven’t missed a single minute of a lecture.
I think that covers everything really, if any student is considering going on an exchange then I would 100% recommend Hong Kong. Absolutely everything about my time here has been unbelievable and I’m looking forward to see what the next two months has to offer.
Zaijian from me’
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