Highlights from an International Student Exchange in Hong Kong!
This post was written by Allison Moyer, a junior majoring in International Business and Marketing. Allison is also a Global Learning Medallion student!
Doing my exchange last fall in Hong Kong was an incredible decision. Going on an exchange was a very different experience from a faculty-led, short-term program in that you are on your own to a much higher degree than you would be on a trip with your classmates. This forces you to meet new people and form relationships with those around you because everyone on exchange from all over the world is going through the same thing!
One experience that really stood out to me was the structure of the classes I was taking at HKU. Some of the courses were taught as an MBA program would be, with case studies and strategy at the heart of the class work. One professor brought in an art mall client for whom we came up with and pitched potential marketing strategy for next holiday season, and it was fantastic to be so hands on. I was so impressed with the work ethic of my peers, the responsibility that the faculty entrusted to students, and the insight we exchanged working together on these cases.
Sharing a flat in the city with 5 other girls also meant that I learned so much more outside of the classroom. We would discuss the politics and current events taking place in our home countries and share some of our favorite foods and games from home. These relationships are undeniably the most valuable thing I gained from my time in Hong Kong. I love reliving the memories of hiking for hours to try finding a hidden spot off the trails, traveling around Asia with my friends, and sitting along the water all night to celebrate birthdays and milestones.
One thing I experienced much more than I expected was reverse culture-shock. When it came time to return home, I felt a lot of stress and had negative emotions about leaving and re-entering the United States. I was only gone for four months, but I felt distanced from American culture and had gotten very close to my friends in Hong Kong. I was happy to see my family, but it felt wrong and weird to be home for some time before I readjusted. I suppose that shows how much I enjoyed my time away! My advice to future exchange students would be to expect this feeling as well!