Looking back on our new worlds

Overseas-education | Crystal Wu 1 Jun 2021

As the school year comes to an end, we wrap up the first season of the Student Globetrotters series. This season, seven guests spread across the world - from Asia to Europe and America - explained why they chose to study in a foreign country.

Going abroad meant to some that they could study the best there is to be offered in their respective field of studies, said UCLA graduate Tiffany Rowse and Oxford postgraduate student Brian Ng.

Studying at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television was a dream come true for our first Student Globetrotter Tiffany Rowse, who has loved going to the cinema since an early age.

Ranking at 15th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, the University of California, Los Angeles, has cultivated a number of distinguished alumni from its film school, like recent action film Fast & Furious 9's director Justin Lin.

"Things kind of fell into place quite naturally on their own," said Rowse.

Taking the top spot in this year's Times rankings, the University of Oxford was no doubt the best choice for postgraduate student Brian Ng.

"Putting the curriculum aside, there are many opportunities to meet the people who are the best in the world in their fields," said the chemical biologist.

For others, studying abroad was a chance to explore a new environment and culture.

After a short exchange program abroad, Cornell alumni Jessica So realized that learning in the United States was different from Hong Kong. "The depth of the analysis in a small-classroom discussion and the degree of gray areas that you could get into in a discussion, instead of having more black-and-white answers, intrigued me and made me start thinking about being in this type of environment in higher education and university in the future," she said.

As for Keio graduate Jessica Sze and Cornell student Alice Sze, studying abroad was a chance to explore and live somewhere beyond Hong Kong.

Our Student Globetrotters also shared some interesting anecdotes of their first months abroad.

Imperial College London student Rosemary Ng said: "In my first year, I ate a lot of ice cream and pizza as I was never able to do that when I was eating healthy with my family. As a result, I gained a lot of weight and I was deficient in vitamin D. My immunity declined and I was ill for a long time."

Exeter student Samantha Lau hauled seven pieces of luggage across the ocean just to find out that a lot of the things she brought could be bought in the UK.

Nonetheless, everyone found their time abroad to be an important experience that helped them grow personally and in their respective fields.

For Tiffany Rowse, it gave her the opportunity to travel and work on a lot of interesting projects, including in cities like New York and Stockholm, where she met young activist Greta Thunberg.

Alice Sze said being abroad was "an invaluable experience. I was a shy kid, so studying abroad and living in such close proximity with so many people made me confident. It improved my social skills, helped me to be adaptable to different cultures and understand other people's needs."


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