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The University of Hong Kong
Timo Heinonen
Finland
Travelling around the world and meeting new friends
Hi! I’m Timo Heinonen from Finland. I joined HKU as an undergraduate in 2008 and I am now pursuing research as a Master's student.

After high school I wanted to broaden my horizons, experience something new and different. Given the region's cultural appeal, I was especially interested in studying in East Asia. Thanks to its geographical location at the heart of Asia and international atmosphere with English as the medium of instruction, I finally chose to study at HKU.

My advice to incoming students is that you will get more out of your study experience if you are willing to engage in local Hong Kong culture and lifestyle. In addition, although studying is important, try to join some of the university's varied extra-curricular programmes, including internships, workshops, and service trips. Some of my most memorable experiences have been the various off-campus learning programmes I have joined. For example, in my freshman year I did an internship in Ghana; in my second year I joined a programme run in cooperation with Harvard students and sponsored by HKU's Office of International Student Exchange (OISE); and in my third year I went to Beijing for exchange, also made possible by OISE. While I was expecting only to see greater China when I first moved to Hong Kong, these programmes have enabled me to travel around the world and meet new friends I wouldn't have come across in any other circumstances.


Timo Heinonen
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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Jeremie Plane
France
Programme: Bachelor of Business Administration in Global Business
Jeremie Plane I always wanted to study abroad but wasn’t happy with the usual 1-semester exchange, so I decided to do the whole degree overseas right after I graduated from my Baccalauréat. I was considering the UK and North America until I visited Hong Kong and decided that was the place. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have learnt during the past 2 years in this ever-exciting city.

Coming to Hong Kong for my university studies has been, and still is a life-changing experience – one that I would recommend to anyone who has a large ambition and an open mind.

Ever since I arrived at HKUST, there have been ups and downs but my experience here has never been boring. I worked hard during my first semester and had to juggle my time between leisure, sports, and the university library! The result was worth it: I retained my scholarship and managed to transfer to my current program. Thereafter it became easier as I understood the system better and had more freedom to choose my courses. Now, I am easily managing my studies, leisure time and even a part-time job.

Being an international student from France, there were initially many things I had to adjust to. The competitive academic environment at HKUST challenges you to work hard, and expectedly I had to adapt to the cultural environment here (which is very different from home!). But these are also the challenges that make my experience here worthwhile – as they say, no pain, no gain. Besides, for all these challenges, I am privileged to meet a diverse community of students, faculty and staff members here, pick up some Cantonese and Putonghua language skills, and gain a substantial network which really helps my future prospects in this exciting region.

So, even though it was not apparent to me at first, coming to Hong Kong to study at HKUST turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. I would encourage anyone who can to seize this opportunity!
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Lingnan University
Veronika Ilavska
Slovakia
Programme: Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours)
I truly value every day of my current studies at Lingnan as I made the right choice of pursuing my studies here. The wide variety of courses taught by professionals who are also dedicated teachers. The enormous amount of outside classroom opportunities for further development and career preparation have contributed to my opinion. Moreover, I have got to know here a lot of interesting people from different cultures and that makes my social life very interesting and enjoyable! Veronika Ilavska
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