Ni hao, from Hong Kong!
My name is Lyla, and approximately one month ago, the only time I had ever left Australia would have been when I was 7, heading off on the typical Australian family holiday to Fiji. I never imagined I would be living and studying overseas at the age of 21. Since I set off on my exchange journey, I’ve had the fortune of exploring parts of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and of course Hong Kong, and there’s still much more to explore before my adventure comes to an end. It’s hard to put into words how invaluable this experience has already been; the beautiful places, diverse cultures, rich history and amazing people would have be at the top of my list.
Hong Kong is known for its marvellous city and tall skyscrapers, however it is actually covered in 40% nature reserve and consists of hundreds of tiny islands- let’s just say, 1 hour travelling pays off well (not to mention HK having the world’s best metro system). Additionally, the culture here is totally different to that of Australia – I would best describe it as a fusion of East and West. Hong Kong’s centrality, also makes it very easy to travel to a variety of countries; flights are short and cheap, which is something which was a must for me.
I’m attending the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), along with 5 others from UTS and about 400 exchange students in total. Uni life in HK is similar to that of Australia, however I’ve found that most exchange students here study business or elective subjects. I, on the other hand am studying science- let’s just say that I’m the only exchange student in my classes… However, learning with different people and teaching styles in relation to Sydney, has been a welcomed challenge and I feel as if it will only benefit me in the future.
I, like most PolyU exchange students, am living in a 2 person shared room at PolyU Halls in Hung Hom, which is only a 10 minute walk from campus and substantially cheaper than private accommodation. They have amazing facilities which include an outdoor pool, gym, table tennis spaces, pool rooms and PolyU also run specific events and tours specifically for exchange students.
Ask me a year ago, and I would have told you that I would never be able to live overseas, and look at me now – I even survived a super typhoon! Making big decisions and moving to a different country is scary; whether your fears be financial uncertainty, cultural differences, language barriers, self-confidence or simply, leaving the ‘norm’; my advice is, if you’re thinking of applying for exchange- DO IT. You won’t regret it.
Bachelor of Forensic Science
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient.