Study Abroad: Passport to Hong Kong
Major: Psychology and International Studies
Minor: Asian Studies
Hometown: Moon Township, Pa.
Study Abroad Program: Hong Kong Baptist University
Why did you select this Study Abroad program?
Because my minor is Asian Studies, I thought Hong Kong Baptist University would be a perfect fit and enable me to immerse myself in the language and customs. As an International Studies major, I realized that one day I might be working for an Asian company.
Was this your first international experience?
I am a dual citizen with Germany and the United States and have been overseas on numerous occasions. My mother is German and her family still resides there. In my junior year of high school, I lived in Germany for 13 months. I also have visited several other countries in Europe.
What benefits did you gain from being overseas?
Once you return from abroad, you come back a different person. You no longer think in black and white but in multicolor. When making decisions, you are able to draw upon knowledge you gained from other countries and see things from varying points of perspective. I also do not just focus on the United States and its issues. I focus on the world.
Was Hong Kong what you anticipated?
Hong Kong is like New York City times five! It is modern, fast paced and very crowded. The idea of a personal bubble does not exist. I was in complete culture shock when I arrived, but I eventually became accustomed to the lifestyle. The food was a complete surprise, too. In Hong Kong they do not waste any portion of an animal – fried chicken feet included!
What three words would you use to describe this trip?
Exotic - Hong Kong is a nice blend of East meets West. You can be walking in the center of town where cars are beeping and then suddenly step into an exotic temple garden. It was mind boggling and breathtaking all at once. Plus, there are all of these little markets (flower, bird, fish, etc.) filled with bright colors and strong aromas that transport you to another time and place…it’s incredible.
Captivating - I climbed to the top of Lion Rock (Rock is an understatement – it was definitely a mountain) to see the sun rise. It was amazing to see Hong Kong so quiet and still. As time passed and the cars started moving, I could hear and feel the hustle and bustle beginning all around. It truly was captivating!
Unforgettable - The friends I made and the experiences I had were unforgettable. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance. It was so incredibly worth it!
What was your most embarrassing experience?
During orientation, I used chopsticks for the first time. In manipulating them, the jellyfish I was trying to eat slipped out and hit the university chaplain in the face. His eyes got wide and I thought I was in for it, but he laughed and asked if I needed a fork and knife while I was still practicing. I was highly embarrassed. After that fiasco, I stayed away from jellyfish.
What was your most heartwarming experience?
I was riding the subway and it was packed as usual. Through the sea of bodies and entanglement of arms, I saw an elderly couple just looking into each other's eyes and holding hands. It was very touching.