Reflection: Semester Abroad

It’s been over a week since I’ve been back to New York from my semester in Hong Kong. I wish I could’ve been there longer, but all good things must come to an end. I wouldn’t exactly say that this was a life-changing experience, but it was one where I learned a lot about myself and discovered what I want to do in the future.

I was feeling somewhat lost at the beginning of this academic year. I was feeling uninspired by my usual surroundings and needed a change of pace from my routine. I always believed that in order to grow, one must always leave their comfort zone and seek for greater heights to achieve. That’s one of the many reasons why I chose to go abroad. However, being abroad wasn’t all fun and games. It was challenging but I was able to learn and grow from this experience.

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The change in the grading system and academic structure in The Chinese University of Hong Kong was challenging in itself. The courses are really competitive, but regardless of the grade, I think the courses offered a lot of insight about marketing and business in general. It challenged me in a way where I am more focused on learning and trying to relate it back to real life scenarios.

On an earlier blog post (“Shopping Week”), I briefly talked about the classes I was enrolled in. In the blog post, I mentioned that I had high hopes for the Integrated Marketing Communications course and it definitely met those expectations. The professor that was teaching the course didn’t just lecture us about marketing communications, but also on the subject of life. I think he put things into great perspective by sharing his personal story with us. At the very last lecture, this was on one of the slides, which perfectly summarize what I got out of this experience:

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Experience more. Something important that I got out of this semester was that I am being much more open to new experiences. I want to travel more, to constantly improve myself, and to challenge myself by trying new things. I might even want to start learning a foreign language this summer just to challenge myself.

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Be happy. This was something that I was always missing. I think it’s always important to surround yourself with people that make you happy and to eliminate negative people in your life. I like to think I am a bad a** that gives no f*ck about people’s opinions, but I do care. I was away from my friends and family that knew me best and I could be myself around them. But being away from them was quite hard because I didn’t have people who understood my sarcastic sassy sense of humor.

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I was actually feeling quite down this semester until I took a trip to Beijing to visit my friend from home. It’s nice to have someone from home even when you’re actually on the other side of the world where I can be completely myself and not have to worry about being judged. Life is too short to worry about what other people think, so it’s important for each individual to know and understand that they are perfect just the way they are. No one should let other people define your happiness. 

Being happy is more than just being surrounded by great people. It’s also about being passionate about something. “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life,” that’s something we hear every day and it is true. When you truly love the job that you are doing every day, it won’t feel like work.

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Love Someone. Oh, love, that is something that I like to keep in a locked box with the keys thrown away in the ocean. I have built these walls for the past couple of years because I have trouble trusting and believing people. If there is anything that I have learned this semester is that I need to give people the chance to know me before they can run (or I can run). The same marketing professor said in class one day, which is that it’s better to regret doing something than to regret not doing something. I want to live my life regretting with the things I’ve done even if it is completely stupid and ridiculous than to live with the question of what if I had done something.

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Taipei, Taiwan
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Singapore
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Beijing, China
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Taipei, Taiwan
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Osaka, Japan
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Wakayama, Japan
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University Library, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

 

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The Chinese University of Hong Kong

 

So my semester abroad wasn’t all fun and games, but I think I came out of it learning a lot about myself and was able to grow from all that has happened. I learned to not have control of things, to just go with the flow of things, and to just be more adventurous and spontaneous with life. I don’t regret my decision to go abroad to Hong Kong and would recommend everyone to go study abroad in Asia. Spending four and a half months in a city like Hong Kong was the best experience of my college years, and I can’t wait to go back soon.

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