I was abroad in Hong Kong for a whole year, and just last week I returned to the UK. The year went so fast, and I feel that there was so much more that I could have done whilst I was still away, but I’m happy to be with my friends and family again. I can’t say for myself whether or not I’ve changed in the year I’ve been away, but I certainly feel more independent and ready to start final year.
I always knew that I was going to spend a year abroad from the moment I applied for my course. I had hesitations at first due to financial reasons but I luckily found an on-campus job, worked hard during the summer after my first year and saved up. I am lucky in that I have family there and can speak a bit of the language, but aside from that the University of Hong Kong is taught entirely in English, and there’s enough English to navigate around the city (HK’s subway and Google maps are my new best friends).
There in HK I got to study modules that aren’t offered back at Kent, and improve both my Cantonese and Mandarin. At times it was hard to integrate with the university owing to most of the societies being conducted in Cantonese, but luckily there is a huge exchange student population at our university, where I met new friends from diverse backgrounds. Being over on this side of the world also meant I could get cheap plane tickets and travel all over Asia.
If there’s anything I regret, it’s that I could have studied harder whilst over there (knowing that the year was only pass/fail isn’t as well as getting to know more of the local students. I’ve seen so much of Hong Kong, but unfortunately not many people who I could come and visit in the future. Nevertheless, I have absolutely no regrets coming over, and now it’s time to start my final chapter at Kent.