Sharing from Steve Cheung
School of Exchange: University of Helsinki, Finland
I got a chance to go for an exchange study to the University of Helsinki in Finland for a semester during the second half of my second year of study. I would say it is a life-changing experience as it did broaden my horizon and inspired me with different knowledge, which I acquired through my courses and my visits to various European countries.
During the months, I was able to investigate various European political issues, especially the Nordic welfare system and the transition period of Eastern European countries. The Finnish educational system also encouraged me to extend my study interests into other fields such as music and laws. Moreover, I learnt far more things out of the classroom during my journeys to other countries.
For instance, my visit to the Balkans countries was filled with touching stories told by the locals. The gorgeous landscape of Iceland and the special Islamic cultures in the Sahara Desert in Morocco were also some of my best memories. My stay in Helsinki enabled me to thrive away from the chaos in Hong Kong and gave me some space in a lovely environment to ponder over politics and life. The life-changing journey has brought me some unforgettably good days.
Sharing from Fung Wing-yan, May
School of Exchange: University of Warwick
Last year, I joined the exchange programme jointly organised by our Department (GPAD) and Politics and International Studies Department of the University of Warwick. I am so grateful that our Department has offered me such a precious opportunity to explore the world.
Unlike CUHK, the University of Warwick is full of students from all around the world, just like a global village. It was a great chance to study with students of different backgrounds. I took several courses on International Relations, which is a particular strength of the curriculum at Warwick. It was a very impressive experience to have tutorial discussions with classmates from various places. Owing to the multicultural environment, you can always hear thought provoking ideas that you rarely have in Hong Kong. It was so interesting to see how we are influenced by our past experiences. For example, classmates from the US and India will have a totally different interpretation of democracy. It was also a good chance to understand the condition of different countries.
In addition to my studies, I also had a taste of different European cultures through mingling with my flat mates from other European countries. I miss the time when we shared our home-made dishes and chatted about the culture of our hometowns. Joining this exchange programme is one of the best decisions that I have made in my life!
Sharing from Lok Siu-mun
School of Exchange: University of Manchester
Through joining the CUHK worldwide exchange programme, I had a valuable opportunity to study at The University of Manchester. The half-year exchange in the UK was fruitful and unforgettable.
I chose to study at this university not only because of its top-ranked political science programmes, but also of its renowned professors in the field of politics of security. The professors always made use of global affairs as examples to illustrate the complicated international relations theories in a simple way. The tutorial seemed to be quite tough as I needed to read a hundred pages of academic journals to equip myself with ample arguments for the in-class debates. Luckily, having gone through similar mode of trainings in the GPA Department for two years, I was able to handle this and present my ideas clearly amid the heated debates. My eagerness for discussing politics had gone beyond class. UK students are enthusiastic in joining about public policies such as the National Health Services (NHS) Club to Green Policy Club. I joined some of their regular meetings and learnt more about the public policies implemented in EU countries. Discussing hot global issues with people of different countries was a rare opportunity and this had constituted a vital part of my academic life in the UK.
Apart from the intellectual enhancement, experiencing the local culture and meeting new friends were two indispensable elements during my exchange. Whenever I was free, I visited the university museums and actively participated in activities organised for exchange students including language exchange, movie sharing sessions, dodgeball competitions and hall gatherings. Surprisingly, I came across a Kenyan girl in an Ecuadorian cultural exchange who will be an exchange student in CUHK next semester. Since then, we have kept good contact and become good friends.
Going on exchange was also about encountering something unexpected if not once-of-a-lifetime. The British passion for football was one of them, I watched a football match played by the legendary football team Manchester United at famous Old Trafford Stadium. What's more, two other CUHK exchange students and I were invited by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to be filmed in a special TV episode, introducing Chinese New Year traditions to the world. Cooperating with this professional crew was undoubtedly an eye-opening experience.