|Live and Study Abroad • Hong Kong
Your professional guide for incoming and outgoing academic exchange; and living in HK.
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What is Live / Study Abroad?
So what is live or study abroad; and why you have to do it?
It is easy to understand what live / study abroad is; basically you leave your home country and move to another country to live or study. So is living or studying in Canada means living or studying abroad to an American, for example? In a certain extent, yes; but in the 21st century, live or study abroad has a much wider meaning.
First of all, why do you want to live or study aboard? is it just because it is something you can do? Or because your friends are doing it so you may do it as well? If that's the answer, then may I ask you to stop surfing my website. It doesn't mean anything to you.
However, if the reason is anything beyond the above then you should also think about how you can achieve your goals. If you want to experience a different culture; to understand the rest of the world better; to equip yourself for the challenge ahead; to be able to work in a multi-cultural and international organization; or simply to find out if you can be outside of your comfort zone and to show to your family and friends that you can do it; then I don't think living or studying in Canada can do anything for you if you are an American, for example.
So the living / studying abroad we are talking here, means you are going to experience a totally different culture and way of life. It means you are absolutely staying out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to a big new challenge. We are suggesting this kind of living / studying abroad because that is the type that will change / enhance you forever; and make you standing out from your fellows. This is the most characteristic-in-demand by everyone and everywhere in this globalized 21st century and beyond.
Whether you like it or not, the 21st century is a globalized world. To survive or to be successful in a world like this requires someone who has a global-mindset, inter-cultural tolerance, and ability to be productive in an international environment. You may be the student leader of an international student group (if you only have Canadian and American students in your group, it doesn't make it international...don't get confused by the world championship of ice-hockey or anything like that) but it is not good enough. Compared to someone who has stayed overseas and engaged in international activities, you will realize how much you are falling behind.
Personal Qualities which Employers Think International Graduates may Possess: (The New Global Student, Maya Frost, Three River Press, New York, USA, 2009)
"Flexibility - Able to adapt quickly, to speak more than one language, to be adventurous, and to think in different ways;
Awareness - Open to discuss different topics including sensitive ones in an intelligent way, able to represent their own culture (cooperate identity) as they can understand different cultures, and can make consideration in a global perspective;
Curiosity - Able to go out and seek knowledge, and know what is the best way to do it;
Trustworthiness - Able to deal and work with different people, understand the importance of mutual respect and trust;
Self-directing - Independent and ready to face any challenge;
Strengths - Good communication skill, comfort with being alone, vigilant and always have a plan B, know when and how to seek help, and are patient and considerate."
So who doesn't like an employee with all the above qualities?
If you think you will never make any friends from other countries, work in an international organization or do anything that may change the world; then again, please leave and continue watching the TV shows or whatever which interests you.
On the other hand, if you think someday you may want to do something to make our world a better place though you are not very certain about it at this moment; you should realize that living or studying abroad will become a valuable asset for you to realize your dream in the future.
So now you have decided to live or study abroad
And this is not the end of the story. Over the years I have met hundreds of people who come to work or study in HK; but all I have found out about them was that they were basically continuing their lifestyle at home and they were not trying to immerse in the local culture at all. I have met students who have tons of pictures taken when they were in HK to record their fabulous life of studying abroad; but all the pictures were basically telling people the same thing - partying and getting drunk in different bars the whole year. There is no any picture showing them being friend with a local, involving in anything with the local community or even exploring the local neighborhood. If they haven't told anyone that their pictures were taken in HK (or overseas), I doubt if anyone would ever have thought about it.
Then, I have also met people who have been working in HK for two years but they have never go to anywhere outside HK Island. The New Territories or any place which the MTR doesn't go to is only an area of fantasy to them. All they know about HK is just the designers' stores and fancy restaurants in Central. I don't blame them if the reason they are coming to HK (or going oversea) is only about making more money. Yet they will always look stupid to me and they should not have a problem with that. Also I am not sure how any international organization will think of them when they find out about that.
They are just visitors and will be known as visitors only; nothing else. Anyone can be a visitor of a foreign country as long as they can afford the traveling cost. So why spending such a long time, say 4 months at least if you just wanna be a visitor of an overseas country? Should there be something more other than that you want to get actually?
What I think of living or studying abroad does not simply mean you are living or studying in a different countries of a different culture. It also means you will try your very best to immerse in the local culture and way of life. That is the only way you can make the most of your experience and understand the similarity and difference of various cultures; which will enable you to adapt in any situation and be flexible to face any change and challenge. This is, something employers want the most nowadays. If the only thing you can talk about is how many bars you have been to while you were overseas and how much a glass of beer costs there, I can assure you that you will be considered as someone even worse than people who have never spent time overseas. It is because you were given the golden opportunity to become a global-citizen; but you have tried every single mean to destroy it.
So starting from today, think again why you want to live or study abroad (in HK; or overseas for local people)? What are you expecting to get from there and why are they?
Other than trying to become a local as much as possible; living or studying abroad is also a good time for you to 'promote' your home culture. You as a person coming from a different culture, so the local people will naturally look on you to understand your home culture. The way you talk, the thing you do, and the response you give on everything will automatically translated to the culture norm of you home culture. People may have misunderstood you in a different ways; but that is exactly the time when you can explain to the locals your home culture. When people have a misconception about your country or culture; don't get mad. Instead, make it an open discussion and help them to understand your country or culture better. After all, you may also have misconception about the local culture and you will always look for a correct answer from the locals. It works the same way in the opposite situation.
Only that you can be open-minded to all these you will be able to make the most of your overseas experience. Be ready to appreciate the change happened on you; and also be able to change other people's life at the same time.
Remember, how much you can get equals to how much you can give.
August, 2017 (Version 6.0);
since January 01, 2007
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