If you are a high-school student who wants to go abroad for higher studies, deciding which university and country to go to is probably one of the most difficult and important decisions you have had to make till now.
If there is one advice I could give you regarding selecting your universities, it would be to keep your options open because as you will soon find out, life doesn’t always turn out as you plan it to.
I was determined to go to North America since high school, but due to reasons that I would not bore you with, I ended up not going there despite being selected into a number of my chosen universities. Instead, I chose to come to The University of Hong Kong.
With a mixture of uncertainty, nervousness, and excitement in my heart, I travelled to Hong Kong to see what the next chapter of my life was going to be like. After almost completing my first year, I can honestly say that my education and life at Hong Kong has been all that I expected from my university life, and more.
If you ever wanted to witness the perfect harmony between towering skyscrapers and nature’s irresistible beauty, Hong Kong is the place to be. The green mountains and the endless sea complements the famous Hong Kong skyline in a way that words fail to describe. If you like hiking, you can rest assured that you will never run out of beautiful places to hike to.
The city life
The merits of the bustling city life, on the other hand, is more contentious. As you can imagine, life tends to be very fast here. Lying on my cozy little bed, I often wonder how my whole day passed without my even realizing it. But being from Dhaka, that feeling was never very unfamiliar to me to begin with.
The wide variety of activities available means that you will always find yourself busy with something. Whether that is a good thing or not depends on the type of person you are, but like it or not, that is what university life is supposed to be like. Welcome.
Despite living such hectic city lives, people tend to be closer to each other than you would expect. People you don’t know greet you with smiles on the street and after a few months here, you find yourself doing the same.
The huge population of international students means you always have people you can relate to. Alongside that, I personally feel that people in general seem to understand the problems I face as an international student and are eager to help me in any way they can.
They are friendly, easy to approach, and very helpful. The friends I have made here make life a little bit easier.
Although the national language is Cantonese, everything related to your course materials will obviously be in English. I have to admit that before coming here, I was quite worried about how big the language barrier was going to be for me.
I did face some problems in communication for the first few days but now, I barely face any difficulties. It’s not because I am any better at Cantonese than I was on my first day, but because all my interactions throughout the day are in English.
After graduation, the prospect of you securing a job is pretty high
The internationalization of HKU definitely helps in this regard, but I imagine the situation is more or less the same for other universities as well. As you go away from university areas, less people are used to speaking fluent English, but you can always find someone anywhere who can help you with translation if needed (which is not a very common case).
One of the primary reasons why I chose to come here was the generous scholarship that I received from the university. While it is difficult to get significant scholarships for undergraduate studies elsewhere, universities in Hong Kong tend to be very generous with the scholarships they offer to undergraduate students.
There are numerous scholarships coming from both government and the individual universities. Particularly for HKU, you would have a good chance of securing a significant scholarship if you have good grades in your A Levels (or HSC).
So, if you ever feel like university admissions do not properly appreciate the pain you went through during A Levels, I assure you that these universities do.
Like other places, there are certain restrictions on jobs you can do while you are studying. Generally, you can work for a maximum of 20 hours per week and you have to work for some designated employers, which is usually within your campus.
There are minor changes from university to university. So, you might want to check with your target universities after applying. For summer, there are usually no restrictions.
After graduation, the prospect of you securing a job is pretty high. Hong Kong is a place swarming with opportunities. You just have to know how to properly utilize it.
There are usually numerous career services in universities which help you to get summer internships and there are certain degrees (such as mine) where working is actually mandatory for you to get a degree.
Hong Kong has so much more to offer and you will only realize that once you get here!
Take a leap of faith and I promise that you won’t regret it!
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