A Magic Diversity

By Stefan Florea

Twins Stefan and Martin Florea were exchange students from our partner, Goethe University, Frankfurt, in 2015. Here they share impressions of their time at CityU.

My semester at CityU was my second time in Hong Kong – since I had completed a two-month internship in Hong Kong earlier in the year. That had sparked my interest, and as I was really excited about Hong Kong I decided to spend more time and further explore this astonishing city. I was lucky to get the opportunity from my home university to participate in an exchange semester at CityU.

When I arrived in Hong Kong for the first time I was really confused. I had never been in Asia before and also never been in a metropolitan city comparable to Hong Kong. I was shocked by the vast number of people walking on the streets, but this also fascinated me because I could really feel the life and the vibe of the city. At CityU, after I introduced myself and made the first step, my student colleagues were particularly friendly and offered to help me in many situations. I also got to know my fellow students when I joined the university football team. I was basically the only exchange student in the team and after each practice we went for dinner together. My teammates brought me to several local spots and I really treasure the experiences and the insights I gained into local culture.

Hong Kong's diversity was particularly appealing. When I had a free day, I could decide if I wanted to go to the wonderful beaches, go shopping in a big city centre, go hiking in the beautiful mountains or visit some tourist attractions like the Big Buddha. Or do all of this on the same day! This is only possible because Hong Kong has great infrastructure and is amazingly compact. I believe that this is the main reason for Hong Kong's magic.

Overall, the difference in Hong Kong between rich and poor people shocked me. The contrast between Ferraris in Central and Filipino housekeepers sitting on the ground on Sundays was tremendous. But to put it in a nutshell, Hong Kong is a very special city and I am more than happy that I could work and study in this fascinating metropolis and dive into the local culture. I have never seen a city that offers so many possibilities and I will definitely come back some time.