Staying on: Studying at CityU boosts an exchange student's confidence

Gamze Erbora (Exchange student from Turkey)

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I have enjoyed studying at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) so much that I asked for an extension. I originally came here for one semester, but after just one month I knew I wanted to stay longer. CityU has motivated me to look forward to my future career as a professional in the field of science and I needed more time to really appreciate everything that CityU had to offer. And so I have been lucky — the University has let me stay on for another semester!

I study molecular biology and genetics at Bogazici University in Istanbul. This is one of the top three universities in Turkey and admission is very competitive. Before I came to CityU for my exchange, which began in September 2006, I had already spent one year abroad as an international student. I spent a year in Canada at high school, learning about western culture. So I seized this chance to study in East Asia because I wanted to learn more about this part of the world.

There are many differences between my university in Turkey and CityU. I have had the chance to study a broad-range of subjects that have reinforced my love for my major. Here at CityU, I have taken courses in psychology, criminology, German and film studies, all as electives, opening up new areas of knowledge for me, exposing me to different ways of thinking. In my second semester I am studying more courses in the Department of Biology and Chemistry.

The teaching style at CityU has been an eye-opener. We get the chance in class to work in groups, collaborating and exchanging ideas. We don’t just listen to the teacher — we are very involved in the learning process. This has been very exciting and I feel as if I am really learning. The teachers are also very approachable. We communicate with them through email and they are very friendly and willing to devote a lot of time to talk about our work.

Learning at CityU is supported by a very high level of technology. This has been very impressive. We can borrow laptops and use all kinds of IT for giving presentations. And I cannot believe how much time I spend in the library! We have to work really hard but the projects and assignments are rewarding because they are challenging.

Another major plus has been the chance to live in the student halls of residence with students from all over the world. I’ve spent time with students from mainland China, Hong Kong and young people from all over the world. We do everything together — cooking, cleaning, studying, chatting, socializing. This experience has inspired me to learn some Chinese and I’m taking classes in Putonghua in my second semester at CityU.

As an exchange student, I am aware that I should give something in return for the wonderful time I have spent at CityU. So I have given talks on Turkish culture, food and way of life. I even taught some of my CityU friends how to belly dance, which is one of Turkey’s most popular customs. Whenever there is a marriage or special occasion, you will see people belly dance! It’s very beautiful to watch and lots of fun to do. Turkey has so many other wonderful qualities and I hope more people from Hong Kong and mainland China will visit my wonderful country.

I am now very excited about my future career. I want to manage a laboratory when I graduate, focusing on genetics. CityU has given me the confidence to achieve my dreams, by introducing me to international research seminars, state-of-the-art facilities and an education that has made me critically aware and more independent.

I would like to thank all my teachers at CityU for giving me this incredible opportunity. Thank you!


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