Exchange experience helps students grow

Jenny Kwan

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An exhibition about studying abroad has created a buzz among City University of Hong Kong (CityU) students keen to sign up for student exchange programmes.

The aim of the “Discover the World, Discover Yourself” exhibition, organized by the International and Non-local Students Office, was to explain in detail the objectives and application procedures for students considering an exchange in the coming semester. The display took place from 20 to 27 November.

And that is not all. To promote greater interest, students who had been on exchange programmes discussed their experiences at a series of sharing sessions organized by the International and Non-local Students Office, part of Student Development Services, on 3 November.

“Studying abroad as an exchange student is one of the three things that you have to do at university,” said Alison Lee Oi-man, a student taking the BBA (Hons) in Marketing in the Department of Marketing. Living in the student residence and working for the Students’ Union are the other two must-dos, Alison was told when she first joined CityU.

Earlier this year, Alison spent six months at Jonkoping University in Sweden studying business administration. Shy by nature, Alison found the experience a huge challenge. Fortunately, she lodged with a friendly host family. She was taken out to local festivals and other cultural events, and she quickly grew

accustomed to her new environment.

Time spent mixing with people from a different ethnic and cultural background has helped Alison to become more outgoing. “Before joining the exchange programme, I didn’t dare take up new challenges,” she said. “But now I work for the Buddy Scheme, which is run by the International and Non-local Students Office, and for the Exchange Student Club, which is run by the Faculty of Business. And I help to organize welcoming parties for non-local exchange students at the beginning of the semester.”

Camille Lam Wai-shan, studying for the BA (Hons) in Teaching English as a Second Language in the Department of English and Communication, thanked CityU for the chance to go abroad as an exchange student. “The financial support and other forms of assistance helped me realize my dream,” she said. Earlier this year, she spent six months studying at Brock University in Canada.

Camille now speaks fluent English, a level of improvement she had not anticipated. “I thought my English would be good enough to major in English,” she said. “But after starting my studies in Canada, I realized there was room for improvement.” So she decided to make good use of her sojourn. “It was such a valuable opportunity that I tried really hard to sharpen my English skills.”

In addition, Camille’s cross-cultural experience deepened her understanding of the more ‘open’ western culture, which, she said, had helped her to communicate better with her family and friends in Hong Kong when she returned.

“It’s amazing to see the changes that students undergo after their exchange,” said Ms Helen Lam, Senior Student Development Officer in Student Development Services.

CityU is committed to seeking more overseas exchange opportunities for students. Agreements have been signed with over 120 institutions in 26 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and North and South Americas, among others.

Last year saw 273 CityU students complete exchange studies in France, Canada, Turkey, England, Austria, Germany, Australia, Sweden and the US. Since 1996, over 900 CityU students have studied abroad through the University’s exchange programmes.

For more information on application procedures and eligibility for student exchanges, please visit:


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