A snapshot into the experiences of an exchange student studying in Hong Kong

It is hard to believe that mid-term exams are over and it is already week 9 of my exchange semester at City University of Hong Kong (CityU). The experience continues to exceed all expectations and time is fleeting. Here is a preview into some of the things I have done over the last month:

‘Best Practices in Community Legal Education’ Conference I had the privilege of volunteering at the Street Law in Asia: “Best Practices in Community Legal Education” Conference held at Hong Kong University. The conference co-hosted by Hong Kong University Law, Pennsylvania State University, Monash Law & Centre for Comparative & Public Law. I was a student volunteer and conference delegate. I collaborated with lawyers, law professors & philanthropists from 11 countries to discuss how Street Law can promote access to justice through learner-centered education.

Deloitte Digital Asia Pacific Block Chain Lab
I participated in a workshop hosted by Deloitte Digital from the Asia Pacific Block Chain Lab. I thoroughly enjoyed the consultants’ presentations and the opportunity to discuss how Deloitte provides cutting edge Blockchain/AI solutions and other technological innovations to address the most challenging contemporary business problems.

Future Path of Cashless Society in Hong Kong
I also attended the ‘Future Path of Cashless Society in Hong Kong’ forum hosted by the CityU MBA. I was particularly impressed to hear Tencent Holdings Limited Vice-President, Jim Zhiming Lai, discuss how businesses need to be innovative by providing FinTech solutions. The other speakers included China Chengxin Credit Ratings Company Limited Chairman, Philip Li, Blue Prism APAC Advisory Board, Matthew Lee & Bank of China Senior Economist, Ricky Choi.

 

Incredible culinary experiences
The food in Hong Kong is diverse and delicious. Some of my favourite food locations include:
Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market
The Aberdeen Fish Market is the longest-running and largest fish market in Hong Kong. The Aberdeen Seafood restaurant is a hidden local gem: operated by fisherman for fisherman (but also open to the public). You purchase your seafood directly from the market and take it to the restaurant. The cook prepares meals based on what seafood you provide them. We had a variety of steamed fish with soy & chilli, fried salt & pepper shrimp, grilled squid in sweet sauce and sautéed vegetables.

One Dim Sum
Just two minutes from Prince Edward Station, One Dim Sum is a delicious local dim sum restaurant. The menu has a large selection and it is very affordable. Some of the most memorable 
dishes include the Steam Minced Beef Ball and Siew Mai.

Mankee Cart Noodle
Mankee offers delicious cart noodles in Sham Shui Po.
 Due to its popularity, there tends to be a rather long queue. So, while you wait you are handed the menu on a laminated sheet and you circle what toppings, noodles and broth you want with a marker. I ordered the beef broth with chive & pork dumplings, thick-cut noodles and house spicy sauce. It was so tasty. I highly recommend Mankee Cart Noodle!

I have some other very exciting opportunities and events to look forward to in the upcoming weeks! For example, the Joint University Case Competition (JUCC) where I will represent CityU and compete against the top business schools in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Rugby 7’s!
From sipping espresso martinis at a rooftop bar and looking over a sea of skyscrapers to hiking to a cliff edge, there are so many opportunities to explore in Hong Kong. I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

 

 

 

Taiwan – the First Month

Taipei 101

Even before I started my first day at university, I was certain one of my goals was to study abroad. Now at the beginning of my 3rd year it has finally kicked off; I am spending an entire semester at the National ChengChi University in Taipei, Taiwan. My choice in coming here was supported by the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant which will greatly enhance my capacity to experience, engage, and enjoy Taiwan to its fullest potential.

I left home on 12 February and began the 20 hours of travel. Yes, the Asia-Pacific region and it still takes that long. Partially because the cheapest flight had a six hour layover in Singapore (Changi is the best airport in the world, so amongst the movies, butterfly gardens, and sunflower gardens I really didn’t mind).   I also didn’t fully realize until I made the trip how far down Australia is and how far up Taiwan is. It was literally the same flight time as for most of the Europeans. However, when it came to jet lag the time difference was only two hours, so that was a piece of cake.

Some of the other international peeps that are here at NCCU on exchange this semester.

While living here I am staying in the International house run by the university. The location is prime, a five-minute walk from university, and we are at the east edge of the city, bordering the scenic rainforest mountains. The river also runs just by the university, its entire stretch has walkways, parks, and basketball courts every 100 metres or so, hence Wednesday night is progressively becoming Basketball night among the I-house residence. It’s also easy access to the city, provided you take the bus heading in the right direction. I confess the whole ‘driving on the right side of the road’ sent me a long way in the wrong direction on my first attempt at going into the city.

 

Yangmingshan – National Park.

My first week here was great.  I spent a lot of time getting my bearings just by exploring the city. On the first Friday we ventured on our first out-of-town trip.  We took the bus to a town called Jiufen, where the entire city is located on the slope of the mountain. Located to the north-east, the town is famous for its scenery. We spend the arvo roaming the markets followed by hiking to the top of Keelung Mountain. Unfortunately, Taiwan’s rapidly changing weather got the better of us and almost just as we arrived at the top it became a total white out. However, if you do find yourself in Taipei this is 10/10 on the must-do list of places to visit.

Chicken Butt. 5 for the equivalent of $2AUD, and despite my concerned face it turned out to be delicious!

My adjustment to the lifestyle here has been an adventure. With no real cooking facilities at I-house eating out is the norm, and as it turns out that is the Taiwan way, for every meal. The idea of buying breakfast every day sounds like a mortgage in Australia but here, not only is it affordable, but it’s such a social way to start my day. I wander down to the place I’ve picked out as ‘my local’ and grab two of the best Taiwanese omelet pancake things with special soy sauce I’ve ever tried. My other food experiences have all been fabulous, not so stinky-stinky tofu, whole fried squid, chicken butt, lots of dumplings, Baozi and bubble tea! Taiwan has such a diverse range of authentic Asian cuisine available there is no shortage of food to try and enjoy. Not all shopping has resulted in such positive results though. The language barrier caused me some confusion; turns out it was not washing liquid that I bought on my first attempt, but bleach.   I’m sticking to my story that my bleach-splattered clothing is an Australian craze…

Lantern Festival with some of my local buddies.

The highlight of week two was having the chance to experience Taipei’s lantern festival.  We traveled to a neighboring town called Pingxi which is where they hold the sky lantern side of the celebrations. We arrived late in the afternoon and already we could see lanterns flying off sporadically all over the place. We explored the town which was completely taken over by markets and festivities. Eventually we found ourselves at the small show grounds where there was a huge stage with live music. Every half-hour there was a coordinated release of lanterns, sending over 100 up into the sky all at once. What a truly magical sight to see!

Sky Lantern Festival in Pingxi

Now we are well and truly in the swing of a daily routine. Classes have begun and for that I spend four days over at the campus. For the remaining three days of the week I now have access to a motorcycle which has opened up a world of opportunities when it comes to accessibility and traveling about the island. The university social clubs have many trips and camps lined up for our opportunity to meet locals and see the sights. I have done so much in the time here already and I have literally only just begun!

My first month as an exchange student at QUT

My name is Shengyi and I’m a sophomore in clinical medicine from Nanjing Medical University. I am undertaking my exchange semester at Queensland University of Technology. I am honored to receive an Endeavour Cheung Kong Student Exchange Program grant from Australian Government, and I appreciate that QUT provided such a precious opportunity for me to learn advanced medical technology.

What Brisbane is like

I arrived in Brisbane on 15th February, and now I have been in Brisbane for nearly a month. My first impression on Brisbane is that everything is in large size. Cars are large, beef burgers are large, and streets are large (wide and spacious). Brisbane is a metropolis. There are many skyscrapers and fancy mansions located near the CBD. Brisbane is scenic city with a landscape of lakes and hills. The ecological environment is fascinating, when I’m walking on the street, I can see Australian egrets and smell the fragrance of sweet-smelling flowers.

The place I live

The campus of QUT is quite close to Brisbane city area. I booked my accommodation months ago and I’m currently living with my friends in Woolloongabba. It is convenient, just a few miles far away from GP and not far to stores.

Orientation week

The first week is the orientation week,during which I participated in a variety of different activities. I took part in Study Abroad and Exchange Student Orientation welcome session and got my student ID card with the friendly assistance from volunteers in the library. During lunchtime, I sat down with my friends on the lawn, enjoying the gentle breeze and the food which only cost two dollars.

At the weekends, I went to the Golden Coast with my friends. I took a lift to the top of Building Q1 (Queensland Number One), which is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the Southern Hemisphere and had a bird’s eye view of Queensland. I was deeply impressed by the Surfers Paradise where there were many tourists and local people surfing in the sea.

Schoolwork

The experience as an exchange student at QUT is splendid. However, I also have to face some challenges in my study. My major at QUT is Biomedical, which means I need to memorize a lot of specialized vocabulary and I have to do preview before each of my classes, otherwise I would have difficulty understanding what the lecture is talking about. As a non-native speaker, I haven’t had a class in English before, so it really takes me some time to adapt to a pure-English environment.