Name: FUNG Tsz Ching
Host Institution: Hobart and William Smith Colleges (United States of America)
Term of Exchange: Term 1, 2021-22
I went to the United States of America in the fall semester in 2021/22, I studied at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. Before I arrived in the United States, I was so excited to go on an exchange as it would be a precious opportunity to study abroad, I could explore my host country and share my own culture with people from different backgrounds. I enrolled in Sexuality and Disability and courses related to LGBTQ, which is not a common topic taught in Hong Kong. I learned more about the differences between various cultures and the lifestyle in the United States. White supremacy, homosexuality, transgender, disability’s rights etc. are the topics that are not being covered in Hong Kong as the atmosphere in society is not as open as in the United States, and people are still prejudiced towards foreigners and are having a traditional mindset that feel uneasy to accept marginalized minority groups.
Besides what I learned during my exchange period, I met a lot of friends from different countries, built a strong connection to the world and further developed my interpersonal skills. I joined a lot of activities offered by the host university and was able to meet a lot of exchange students, such as students from Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. It was great to share the tough time with them as being an exchange student always comes with a lot of challenges.
After studying in the United States, I found myself more willing to communicate with others in English, even though it is not my first language. I learned the ways how most of the people express themselves there and I realized the fun of communicating with others. There had been a significant improvement in my English while studying abroad. Moreover, I became more open-minded as I no longer feel weird discussing some sensitive social issues with others. Studying abroad was an unforgettable experience as these lively personal moments could not be learned from books. I also stepped out of my comfort zone. I am now able to take care of myself and tackle different challenges with confidence. For example, I had never been away from home for such a long period and long distance. I was able to prove that I could live independently.