An overseas exchange experience
In summer 2016, I was fortunate to join the Minor in Entrepreneurship(MIE) summer exchange programme in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Despite this was just a relatively short exchange experience, with less than two months in Singapore, but it does not mean I had experienced little, NTU had placed me in an academically stimulating environment that was both culturally enriching and socially fulfilling. I had gone through a lot of new challenges and learnt a lot from them.
Having intense course hours and loads of presentations and works were challenges of the summer exchange experience. What made these challenges more demanding was a surprise that I had never expected, I was the only exchange student from Hong Kong, while the rest were local students and students from Michigan University, USA. Having no Hong Kong companions means I was forced to communicate with those new English speaking friends, deal with all obstacles I encounter on my own, and learn to be more independent.
As a teacher-to-be, this exchange experience had inspired me to re-think how “education” should be and what should “education” accomplish. In Singapore and Hong Kong, teachers and the entire education system place extremely high demands on students. It’s typical for a high school student to solely focus on schoolwork from 8 am to 11 pm. Whereas in the US, they have ended up at the opposite end of the scale, therefore, students from Singapore and Hong Kong should be more “intelligent”. However, students from the US had surprised me, I did not see students from US in the exchange programme were more “dump”, there were always innovative ideas in their mind, they dared to dream and dared to try. Some of them have even started their own profit making online business since the age of 16 or 17, this is most different from those typical conservative bookworms produced under the force feeding educational system in Hong Kong.
I never expected to have seen and experienced so much in Singapore. The multi-cultural social atmosphere is something simply traveling could not give. An exchange does not only give you months of a new culture, language and country, it is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth filled with fascinating experiences and unforgettable memories. An exchange would probably be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to be carefree exploring, to do and see things you could have never dreamed of. Therefore, the advice I would give to everyone would really be to take advantage of any exchange opportunity.