Ivan Zheng is a fourth-year student studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Engineering. He went to the University of Hong Kong for one semester during August 2018 – Mid January 2019.
Interviewed and Edited by Megan Chen
How did you choose what exchange university to apply to?
I wanted to go somewhere in Asia because it was very culturally different from Australia. I started off by looking at which universities taught in English in Asia. Hong Kong seemed like the most attractive one to me. I could speak Mandarin to a decent level and most people in Hong Kong could understand it to a decent level, so that saved me a lot of trouble communicating. For choosing the university, it was a matter of location. The University of Hong Kong seemed the closest and most accessible to the city, and had its own metro station so that’s why I chose it.
How much did it cost?
It cost around $10,000 all together including travelling to other countries for vacation. $7,000 was from the New Colombo Plan Scholarship.
How did you find accommodation and would you stay there again?
I lived in a university-run, off-campus student dorm. The place is called HKU Jockey Club 3. I found it from the university accommodation website. I would definitely stay there again. The place was very new and clean and I made a lot friends there. It had a lot of dorm-wide activities and extra classes like martial arts or Salsa dancing, which were very fun. One thing is that there aren’t a lot of local students living there. Most people were either full time international students or exchange students.
Were the academic classes different to UNSW?
They were a little different. There were no tutorials for most of my classes so if you had a question you had to email the professor to get an answer. This does make it a bit tough to study but it does free up your schedule by a lot. Lectures are not recorded so if you miss one, you can’t go into Moodle and watch it.
Three things you wished you knew before going on exchange:
- How to speak the native language a little better.
- Try to pick a class schedule that leaves Monday and Friday free so you can get four whole days to go travelling without missing anything.
- Get one of the multi power socket adapters that have every single type of socket on them before you leave. It’s good to be able to charge your phone without running around half the city to find an adapter. It’s also very useful when travelling to other countries.
What clubs/ aspects of social life did you participate in and enjoy on exchange?
I did a lot of hikes with other exchange students. Hong Kong has extremely beautiful views and a lot of mountains so it was very fun.
I took some Wing Chun classes in Hong Kong. I trained Wing Chun for a while in Australia so it was a great experience doing it in the motherland.
Bond together with other exchange students. Most of them are looking to have fun and explore the place just like you are, so they’ll be very keen to do a lot of things.
Travel as much as you can around Asia. You’re very close to a lot of places and flights aren’t that expensive.
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