Hiya! I’m Victoria and I study Business and Management (BA) at the Uni of York… though at the moment I’m on a year away at the University of Hong Kong! Read on to find out more about how I came to be in Hong Kong!
Why I chose a credit replacing year?
When UCAS deadlines came about, and I researched into potential unis, I came across York’s global opportunities page. The chance to study abroad whilst at uni had always interested me, but I also wanted to gain work experience during a placement year.
Before York, I never knew that credit replacing years were possible. So in the summer of finishing A-levels, I was meticulously looking at the possible destinations for a second-year credit replacing study. I’m so happy I have the opportunity to study at University of Hong Kong and then go on to gain industrial experience next year.
University life – round 2
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a freshers’ week out here in Hong Kong (HK) like there are at UK unis, but in terms of studying at the uni, I love it. For me, one great benefit was that I got to choose the modules I study and pick from allocated timeslots – a great way to avoid Monday 9ams! Despite some lectures being long, and their love of class participation, I enjoy studying here at HKU (Hong Kong University), and the campus and surrounding views are beautiful.
As a natural major stress-head, I’ve found the workload here intense, with have deadlines upon deadlines, plus a handful of upcoming group projects. The lectures can be long, and they do love class participation, which is stressful! But I feel I am learning so much as a result. On top of this, I’m also applying to placements for next year, so it’s important not to underestimate the amount of work that you are likely to have. I often like to make sure I get a change of scenery (my room is pretty small) so I go to study in a café nearby or the multiple study spaces on campus.
My commute is longer than my first year ‘rolling out of bed 20 minutes before the lecture’ routine, but in general, the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) makes Hong Kong so easy to get around. Honestly, the MTR knocks the socks off the London Tube – it’s cheap, convenient, and I haven’t had to worry about any potential train strikes.
Far from home
Hong Kong is the antithesis of the tiny countryside village I’m from back in the UK, so it’s safe to say I have experienced some culture shock. Not being used to the busy streets and high-rise buildings, I often just look around in awe. Victoria Harbour at night has been my favourite place to visit so far – the photo does not do it justice!
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t an incredibly daunting experience. I often find myself truly adjusting to the fact that I have chosen to study in a different continent. During my first year in York, I saw my family at least every month, despite enjoying the freedom of living independently. So to deal with homesickness here, Face-time has become part of my weekly schedule. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying in contact with those at home. Despite the 7-hour time difference, I talk to my family and friends all the time, and they fill me in on all that’s happening in York and the UK.
One of the hardest things I’ve found is the lack of meat-free options available. I’ve had to be open to trying new dishes, but sometimes just hunting down a local Western chain (aka Pret) is all that can help me when I’m homesick!
Learning to adapt
The international exchange community is so vast that meeting others with similar interests is easier than you’d think. Engaging in hobbies as well as keeping a routine has helped me to settle in. Attending quiz nights, heading to bars (the drinking age is 18 over here so don’t worry!) and watching the Formula One with friends has made HK quickly feel more like home to me. Speaking as someone who has struggled with anxiety, it’s so important to remember that so many others are in the same position as yourself. A year abroad is such a short amount of time in your life which will go so fast, so try everything and have no regrets! Though maybe not absolutely everything, I tried jellyfish and was not a fan.
So why have I chosen such an undoubtedly anxiety inducing adventure? I find myself asking this quite a lot…
Well, because it is just that… an adventure. Simply put, as the youngest child in my family, who is heavily influenced by my older siblings, I have been told that opportunities like this only come about once. And while of course it’ll look good on my CV, I think the memories I’ll have and the people I’ve met will really make this experience worthwhile.