(Teresa Arana was an exchange student from Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Spain in 2017.)
I will always remember the overwhelming feeling I felt when I arrived in Hong Kong, the city of skyscrapers, rooftops and lights; a city that never stops and is full of people, life and opportunities. It is impossible to forget my first trip on the MTR and first night walked through the magnificent streets of the city and the Promenade. Hong Kong, a place that at first seemed so mysterious and exotic is now a place I can undeniably call home.
I packed my bags and left Spain, my home country to start an adventure in a completely unknown city and continent. I woke up the first morning completely lost. I recall walking to campus watching all the other students that were in the same situation as I was, there were so many of them! I could distinguish people from very different and diverse backgrounds, French, Germans, British, Americans… I was amazed by the diversity that surrounded me.
Soon enough I found myself fully integrated in the student life of CityU and as an exchange student I started discovering, little by little, the amazing city I was living in. CityU was the perfect place for me to grow out of my comfort zone and force myself to establish new goals and aims. I viewed my life as a completely new challenge, where I had the tremendous opportunity of growing not only academically but also personally.
Months passed by and I refused to believe how fast time was moving onward. I learned then, the importance of organization and that although I believed it was impossible, it was perfectly manageable to combine my studies and academic life with my free time. I started exploring the city, finding new and secret places and restaurants, interacting with locals and learning from them, going on stunning hikes and camping at the beach… I was living a dream.
One of my best experiences at CityU was the “UNECE International Forum”, an event of paramount importance from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe held in May in Hong Kong. I was assigned to the information counter to provide our visitors with the needed information and help. This preeminent event opened a whole new world to me that I was unaware of and pushed me to practise my interaction skills with highly distinguished individuals. I feel enormously honored and thankful for this great opportunity I was given and encourage future exchange students to participate in events that CityU proposes.
My time in Hong Kong was over. I would like to use this opportunity to thank CityU for all the amazing opportunities I was given, for all the knowledge I took back home and for a once in a lifetime experience on any imaginable level. I have changed and grown in many different ways; thank you CityU and thank you Hong Kong.
(Written by Teresa, November 2017)