G’day – Néih hóu – Nĭ Hăo! My name is Julien, and I’m a 3rd year Griffith Arts/Law student having an absolute blast on exchange in Hong Kong right now. Only a month into arriving here, I can already say that going on exchange has to be the most challenging – but exciting – life experience I’ve embarked upon.
If you had asked me several years ago where I would choose to study on exchange, Hong Kong would probably have been lower on my list of preferred locations; I’d always wanted to go to Sciences Po in Paris (as a French language student), or Copenhagen… Maybe even the United States…
But that all changed after a thrilling short-term study exchange I embarked on in Guangzhou, China. I’d previously had minimal contact with Asian language and culture – but being immersed in new surroundings unleashed my inner adventurer. I had also been to Hong Kong on a brief holiday, and instantly fell in love with the place.
Suffice to say, you could describe Hong Kong as being ‘East meets West’; although beware, there is less English spoken here than you might think! There are, however, people from around the world living in this exciting, buzzing city. Think of any type of world cuisine at home, and you’ll be able to find it in town.
To a degree, I feel like I haven’t done as much travelling as I had initially planned on – but hey, with piling readings, the initial search for ‘the right combination of subjects’ and a typhoon on the horizon, staying in HK has given me a chance to bond with other exchange students here.
A fair few mates that have been on the exchange experience (particularly in France?!) mention that it can be difficult to meet local students; you’ll often stick with other exchange students. Maybe it’s a good thing that the readings (yes, for law…) are quite intense, as it gives you motivation to meet local students and find out how they manage to get through it all!
And by far, the best part about being on exchange in Asia is that I can count among my close group of friends Mainland Chinese, Dutch, Germans, Canadians, Brits… all couch-surfing hosts for future trips abroad!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy hearing more about my experiences abroad – coming up is the National Holiday (5 uni-free days worth of exploring the local region), and many trips to places around Eastern Asia!