MU Connect issue 6 (page 06 to 07)

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Study life of non-local students

In recent years, more and more non-local students have chosen to study in Hong Kong and to start their journey at HKMU. We are glad to have invited three non-local students — Che Haoling from Xinjiang, mainland China (Bachelor of Business Administration with Honours in Corporate Governance and Sustainability), Aubrey Ato Gomez from the Philippines (Bachelor of International Hospitality and Attractions Management with Honours) and Maryna Levchenko from Ukraine (Bachelor of Business Administration with Honours in Global Marketing and Supply Chain Management) — to share their experiences of living in Hong Kong and studying at HKMU, as well as the cultural characteristics of their home towns.

Hello, Hong Kong

I chose to start university in Hong Kong because I wanted to study business and my mother's friend recommended Hong Kong for the quality of its business education. Prior to coming here, my impression of Hong Kong was as portrayed in the TV dramas — with every district being prosperous like Central. However, once I got here, I realised that many districts are actually quite quiet.

I picked Hong Kong for its competitive education system as well. Compared with the Philippines, the Hong Kong system provides students with more room for non-academic development. In particular, I was interested in the hospitality field, in which Hong Kong can offer more career opportunities. Living in Hong Kong was a new experience for me, and I initially found its transport system very complicated. I remember feeling lost because I couldn't find a bus home at the beginning, but now I'm like a local!

I was a model for nine years before deciding to make a change and go back to school. It occurred to me that Hong Kong was quite respectful of other cultures and the city was safe and stable. That's why I decided to study in Hong Kong. After living in Hong Kong for several years, I found its culture fascinating, with a lot of family activities like yum cha.

Life at HKMU

I'm grateful to the University for assisting me with accommodation. The orientation activities of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association included a city hunt, which was the most helpful for my understanding of Hong Kong. Every now and then, I join fellow mainland and local students to play badminton near the campus. Some of my friends from the mainland are taking the Cantonese course organised by the Student Affairs Office.

The University offers us many internship opportunities. Last summer, I took on an internship at Sino Hotel, which broadened my horizons. I've just joined the School's A-Team Student Development this year, and I'm looking forward to participating in different competitions and activities. For my campus life, I'm fortunate to have made friends with students from different cultural backgrounds. For example, one of my best friends is from Pakistan. The local students have helped me adapt to life in Hong Kong, for instance, by teaching me how to use chopsticks. One of them even sent me home by bus on my first day of school!

I studied my associate degree in Hong Kong. A teacher from my previous institution, as well as a friend working in the financial industry, recommended HKMU to me for its excellent financial and business courses. My current programme involves mathematics. I found the mathematics in the local secondary curriculum more advanced than that of Ukraine, so it's a bit hard for me to catch up. Fortunately, the teachers are very kind and helpful. And as they speak fluent English, I have no difficulty in understanding the lectures here!

Home town specials

Xinjiang is home to several ethnic groups, so it has diverse cultures and numerous festivals. One of the major festivals celebrated by the Uyghurs is Eid al-Adha, during which friends and families will get together to sing and dance, and have meal gatherings. There are lots of delicious foods in Xinjiang, such as Dapanji (Big Plate Chicken, or chicken stew) and naan. I packed naan with me when I came to Hong Kong!

A signature dish from my home town is the Filipino adobo, in which meat or vegetables are browned in oil, and then marinated and simmered with vinegar, salt or soy sauce, and garlic. Culturally, Teachers' Day is a big thing in the Philippines. Students will give presents to their teachers, who are respected as heroes.

Teachers' Day is also highly valued in Ukraine! In terms of food, the Ukrainian cuisine contains a lot of fried items. When I came to Hong Kong, I find the food here healthier and the cooking methods more diverse.