“It’s different I’ll tell you that,” said Emma Asserlind, a junior finance major. With a mission to meet new friends and get experiences from all over the world, the blonde Swede left New York for one semester at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
“I decided to come here because China is the place to be when studying finance or business, and also Hong Kong is an international city with lots of diversity and fun places to go,” she explained.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that’s now a special administrative region of China, located on the south coast. Thanks to open markets and handling of Chinese goods, Hong Kong has the world’s freest economy. Similar to New York, it’s known for its expansive skyline, and fast-paced lifestyle, but the city has big contrasts, and 60% of it is still undeveloped. The city is a combination of ultra-modern and ancient traditions, with a mixture of Eastern and Western influences.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University is on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, and Asserlind studies mandarin, as well as finance and management courses. Poly U has over 30,000 full- and part- time students, including 300 international ones. The University offers sports and recreation opportunities, canteens and restaurants, and other common facilities. With English as the major language of instruction, the professors are easy to follow. Fellow students and people in everyday life can be more of a struggle. “I meet people from all parts of the world, and I challenge myself every day when trying to get by in a country where a lot of people don’t speak English,” said Asserlind.
The 20-year-old Swede lives in Central on the Hong Kind Island, a 25 minute bus-drive from the University. Her classes are three days a week, but with large amounts of school-work she usually spends the rest of the weekdays studying in the school library. “The course work is heavier here,” she said, explaining, “The professors like to assign a lot of group projects.” That means a lot of homework and deadlines to follow, but her experience isn’t all about school.
Hong Kong’s terrain consists of mountains, steep slopes, country parks, and nature reserves, along with the urban territory in the University area, Kowloon peninsula. The long Hong Kong coastline offers lots of bays, rivers and beaches, that can make the weekend feel just like a vacation. Asserlind enjoys the opportunities of various activities throughout her spare time. “Hiking is very big here, and horse racing is a huge part of the culture, both are fun to do, because there’s always a lot of nice people, and a good atmosphere,” she said. With a humid subtropical climate, the summers are hot, the autumn usually sunny, the winter is mild, and the spring is changeable. But the activities do not limit themselves to daytime. For those over 18 there’s also a nightlife to enjoy.
“People usually go out in junk boats for parties on the weekends,” Asserlin explained. A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing ship design, a wooden vessel, that’s used for daily boat-trips. Along with the floating party, there’s several clubs and bars on the island. “I feared that the culture would be so different from mine that I would not like it, but Hong Kong is so international that there is something for everyone” said Asserlind. “Anyone who is open to try something new should definitely go to Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong is only one of the locations LIU Post offers for studying abroad. Visit www.liu.edu/CWPost/Academics/Study-Abroad for more information about where to go, and how to get there.