After I came back from Hong Kong, I realized my decision to study abroad at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) during fall semester of 2007 was one of the best choices I’ve made in my life. I chose Hong Kong because it has its unique culture from historical backgrounds and it is located near today’s rising Southeast Asian countries. Moreover, it was the best place for me to achieve my life goal of “living a colorful life.” At Hong Kong, I tried to focus on experiencing local cultures in Hong Kong by meeting various people. One of the activities I participated in was the mentoring program for international students at HKU. My mentor, Mr. Stephen Chow, was a director of a manufacturing company in Hong Kong and I was able to share his numerous business experiences which helped me broaden my perspective on globalization. He also introduced his previous mentees from all around the world.
Life in the dormitory was also exciting for me. HKU is well known for its long and unique history of dormitories as it was also filmed in the movie, “City Of Glass (1998).” There were about 24 floors at our dormitory, Starr Hall and each floor, called a “unit” was either men’s or women’s. We often ate unit dinners (as you may see in the picture) and did a lot of events together such as aquatics competitions, welcoming parties and super pass dinners to receive a GPA over 3.0. Since it was the first time for me to live in a dorm, everything was new and full of surprises. I often bumped into my unit mate only wearing a bath dress or enjoyed our breakfast together in the kitchen.
There was also an event called “floor dinner” when roommates make food for their unit. My local roommate and I made Korean style pancakes (bin-dae-tteok) and it became the most popular food during the semester which made everyone fall in love with Korea. During my stay, I participated as a staff for aquatics competitions and an event organizer on my floor. Through those opportunities, I became close with the unit members and gained in-depth understanding about Hong Kong.
I also traveled to Thailand and Malaysia with two friends from the United States and Japan with whom I still keep in touch. During a three-week travel, we exchanged our thoughts on cultural and economic differences among Asian countries and shared our personal memories with hearty laughs.
Through living in Hong Kong, studying in different languages and making friends from diverse cultures, I achieved a tremendous personal growth. I had an opportunity to look back realizing what kind of person I was and what I would pursue for the rest of my life.
I gained the ability to critically analyze globalization that affects people around the world. The importance of understanding the cultural and economic diversity of today allows me to develop an insight that translates risks to opportunities. My strategic decision to study and live in Hong Kong has allowed me to open a new door in my personal and professional life.