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Name: Wendy Cheung SEP Semester: Semester 1 01/02 Host University/Country: HKUST Questions: 1. How does the host university differ from NUS? In the business school, most lecturers are foreigners rather than local Hong Kong Chinese but the language used among the students are almost all in Cantonese rather than English. The host university has only 4 faculties so the student popular is much smaller.

2. What strong points does our School have compared to your host university? English as the language of mainstream communication, and a faculty area of its own, rather than spread all over the campus.

3. What strong points does your host university have compared to our School? Location – right in Clearwater way, fantastic view and air conditioning in hostel. Career service is fantastic running interesting seminars and actively source for many job opportunities for student, as well as training for students on resume writing, setting for screening written test etc. 4. What expenses did you incur at the host university for one semester? Estimated Breakdown of Expenses: Items Airfare (Return Ticket) Travel & Health Insurance Accommodation Food Books & Stationery Estimated Expenditure (S$) $1000 $100 $1000 $2000 $150

Clothing Miscellaneous (Eg: Local transportation, phone calls, postage, student visa, medical report) Others (Eg. Extended stay, airfare for tour of neighboring states/countries, etc) Please specify here: Tour to Shanghai, Beijing. Total

$1000 $1000 $2000


anecdote Overall, my SEP experience was an enjoyable one. I made new friends, traveling to China and see through my own eyes, how the HK education compares to a Singapore one. HKUST and NUS has many points which make them resemblance to each other. Both is technology advanced, has an excellent reputation in Asia Pacific, hostel life and academic teaching style and standard. Singapore and HK also hold close resemblance in terms of culture though some basic Cantonese should be learnt to meet basic needs off campus. Report The exchange city I went to for my student exchange program is Hong Kong. As it is my birth country and a place where I have lived until the age of nine, though my family have all immigrated out of Hong Kong 11 years ago, this exchange semester still felt like going back home. Most of my time during the exchange was spent on the HKUST campus, which is situated right but the beautiful seaside of Clearwater Bay, as one can imagined based on its name, it is surrounded but a clear blue water sea where nobody can missed its breathe taking view. Most of HKUST building are quite concentrated, unlike NUS where buildings are spread all over a huge piece of campus land. Other than faculty buildings, there are also all sorts of shops on campus. Form medical or banking service, to everyday groceries or stationery, one does not need to set a foot out of campus for weeks but if you can’t find what you need on campus, only a 30 minutes ride bus ride will take you to a huge shopping mall call Hollywood plaza where you can probably find what you desired. Traveling in HK is extremely convenient with the efficient MTR and the reasonably priced bus or van rides. Many things NUS and HKUST resemblance each other, probably explains why both have high relative rankings in universities reputation in Asia Pacific. Similar to NUS, HKUST is also very technology advanced, it also has plug and play internet points all over the campus and in all the hostel rooms, as well as internet stands where instant internet access are given to students. The university also have a series of laptop ownership program to encourage students to be updated with the current technology. Hall life in HKUST too is also very busy and time consuming. Most residents are strongly encouraged to take part in hall activities such as sport events, formal dinner if

they want to be readmitted a place in the hostel in future semesters. The academic year also starts off with hall orientation, where the new students are given opportunities to mingle and make new friends. The hostel rooms are quite clean and tidy depending on one’s sill to maintain it that way. The rates are very similar to Singapore hence definitely affordable. There are no singles room as all rooms are either 2 persons or 3. Rooms in the hall I stayed in (HALL 2) is reasonably spacious and each is installed with a ceiling fan as well as air conditioner to ease the pain in the humid HK summer. Combined the facilities in the room and a view of the sea from your window (if you are lucky) studying or living in the rooms are very pleasant. However, sometimes hall activities such as choir or band may be a nuisance, the reading room located at each of the halls are reasonably quiet and coolly airconditioned. At there is always the main university library as the last resort. The courses I took in HKUST are all business related modules. I found the course quite interest as it set up is similar to NUS. For each course, as well as weekly assign readings for final exams, group project work and presentation simply cannot be avoided. But due to these group project team, it also allowed me to make many good local friends. Most student enter the HKUST business school with reasonably good A level grades as its business school reputations is excellent in HK. Hence most fellow students are either extremely smart and/or hardworking, making studying in order to get the top grades very difficult and competitive. Especially, when lecturers must follow the stringent guidelines set by HKUST in the distribution of letter grades. The lecturers are mostly foreigners or visiting scholars from oversea. I have lecturers who are from New Zealand, India and Germany, though I also have a Hong Kong Chinese lecturer. Despite racial differences, they are very friendly and are always open for suggests or request for help. Even if approached, outside their office hours, they will still be very eager to assist the students and listen to their enquiries attentively. The medium used for education in HKUST is English but since Chinese is the dominating race in Hong Kong, one really need to survive in HK with at least some knowledge of Cantonese. Most fellow classmates uses Cantonese to held project meetings, and sometimes, ask questions in class. Since I am a “native”, the language component was not an issue. As well as helping me adapt to the communication scene, my HK background has also made very adaptive to the food served both at the canteen and in the hall. Some foreign students may have trouble digesting the different types of Chinese food served. Food on campus is reasonably priced compare to off campus thought its more expensive than NUS’s, but the portion are also much larger. As Hong Kong is situated in a central location in East Asia, traveling to countries nearby is very convenient and relatively cheap. During my 6 months exchange, I made 2 trips to visit China – one to see the great wall and Beijing, another trip the visit the vibrant city of Shanghai. To be honest, though HK is like a home to me, my time there hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride. Going through a full university semester on your own far away from the

similar surroundings of NUS can be very challenging. There will always be problems waiting for you to solve, challenges to encounter and issues which you think you never have to deal with charging at you. But after going through such experience, I am sure that one will definitely find themselves transformed to become a better person, one with strength to stand firm during hard times and endurance power to achieve the impossible. This exchange doe not only provide a great opportunity to attend another top universities in Asia, but also can provoke and heightens one’s real strength and academic ability. So do prepare yourself, though HK may seem like another Asian country similar to Singapore, don’t let that impression fool you, HK too, has its own unique characteristics which takes persistent attitudes to get used to.