Buddies Club

Student Writer:
LEUNG Ching-man Cube
Department of Linguistics and Translation

Exchange students in Hong Kong need help to make sense of a new culture and environment.

Set up by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) in 2007, the Buddies Club aims to strengthen the interaction between local and international exchange students. Through organising social and recreational activities, it gives students from overseas a chance to learn more about Hong Kong culture and to enhance their sense of belongings to CLASS and CityU.

The Club also provides support for exchange students in terms of learning and extra-curricular activities in order to help them to adapt to the life in CityU and Hong Kong. In addition, the Club serves as a platform for local students to interact with the exchange students, which will help broaden the global vision of local students and enhance their understanding of foreign cultures.

The Club regularly organises interactive outing activities, including barbecues, island tours, picnics and cycling trips. In Semester A 2016/17, sightseeing trips to Cheung Chau and Tai O were organised, with local students joining the trips as guides. They visited the famous Cheung Po Tsai Cave and stopped at street-side food stalls to taste traditional snacks.

For the exchange students, it was a great way to learn about the history, traditions and culture of Hong Kong in a casual setting and to have fun with local students at the same time. Some were surprised to see diners washing their utensils with hot tea, which is a local practice not only to ensure cleanliness but to show hospitality.

LEUNG Ching-man Cube, President of the Buddies Club, was delighted that these trips were well received by exchange students. She said that her own experience as an exchange student was the key in making the activities successful.

“I understand how an exchange student may feel and the problems they may encounter,” she explained, adding that a period of adjustment is always needed when one lives in unfamiliar surroundings. Having local friends who can help out and offer practical advice makes exchange students easier to adapt to the new environment. “When I studied abroad, I made friends with fellow students who helped me solve problems and enriched my life there. I hope I can do the same for those who have travelled a long way to study here in Hong Kong.”

The Club plans to include a wider range of activities in the coming semester, so as to attract more local and exchange students to join in the fun.

I understand how an exchange student may feel and what problems they may be encountering. - Cube Leung