I remember applying for university when I was in 12th grade. I remember thinking about all the paperwork and deadlines and marks I needed to get, and all in all, it was pretty overwhelming. I also think that I was dead wrong on that.
In the last month, I’ve finished getting (most) of my courses approved – April is exam month, though, so I’ve not been able to do much (in fact, I had a calculus exam earlier this night). I’ve gotten the OK from the exchange coordinator, so I filled out the actual HKU application online and sent in visa forms. I’ve also gone public on Facebook about the exchange, so that’s kind of big!
It’s been an eventful week so far! On Monday, the Dean of Science from HKU was giving a seminar in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy – the actual dean from the university I’m going to, in my faculty, in the year I’m going on exchange. Wednesday, there was an exchange social function for all exchange students. Finally, I got some of my courses pre-approved. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Just got back from the second and third orientations, and I have to say, they were pretty boring. We went over Health and Safety, and then over Academics, and I now know that I have a lot of forms to fill out and a lot of notifications to make.
A couple days ago, I had my first of three orientation sessions for the exchange, simply titled “Culture”. The presenter was one of the exchange coordinators, Bibiana – she handles all exchanges that aren’t going to Europe, so coincidentally, she’s my coordinator. She was born in Mexico and went on an exchange to Canada 8 years ago, and loved it so much that she came back to become an exchange coordinator for my university.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way – even if you have financial difficulties, international exchange scholarships are great opportunities to help ease financial burden.
I’ve just been awarded the Global Opportunities Award from my university. It’s a $1,000 bursary awarded on the condition that I submit a short summary of the experience and how it benefited me – which should be simple enough, considering that I have this blog! This’ll definitely help me out.
I thought it might be a good idea to look for some scientifically valid research for this exchange. So far, I’ve only been using general terms (“I’ll come back a different person”, “it’ll increase my self-confidence”, “it’ll help me get a job”. After a bit of searching, I found a couple articles as to why going on an exchange for a year is a good idea.
I don’t often let it show. I might let it slip, “hey, I might be going on international exchange to Hong Kong next year”, and my friend might say “Whoa! Really? That’s amazing!” and I might say “Yeah, I’m so excited! It’s going to be an adventure!”. We chat a bit, and they’re blown away, and I’m trying not to show exactly how scared I am.
As of an hour ago, I’ve submitted my paper applications, reference letters, transcripts and fees. All that’s left to do now is sort out courses/course conflicts and wait for a response from the international exchange office. First tier applicants, that is, me, will be contacted “by the end of February”.