Abhisek Gadhavi, third year Contemporary Media Practise BA Honours student at Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design completed six months study abroad at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), China, from August 2015 to January 2016.
At HKBU Abhisek learned about Chinese art and East Asian art from China, Japan and Korea and had a chance to study black and white photography and East Asian films.
He explained that he decided to do a study abroad because he wanted to experience a different life somewhere across the world. “I have always had the idea that I wanted to travel all over, eat foreign foods, and lose myself in crazy adventures that would make memories to last me a lifetime.”
He added: “It was also a golden opportunity to explore the other side of the world, places I have never been such as Japan and South Korea which I got the opportunity to visit during my time abroad.”
Abhisek chose to travel to Hong Kong because he always had an interest in East Asian culture, and this gave him an opportunity to experience a completely different culture, where English isn’t the first language. “HKBU was almost in the centre of Hong Kong. It is not too far and not too close so I could get the best of living in-between old and new Hong Kong.”
He also praised the support he received from both University of Westminster and HKBU. “Both universities were the reason why my process was fluid without any setbacks or concerns. They will help you sort out your visa, and respond to your emails and requests almost immediately and all round I think the support was tremendous.”
Abhisek continued to say that he could not pick just one highlight from his trip. He said, “The food, culture, history, traditions and people were amazing. Everywhere I went I felt welcomed as if it was my second home!
The experience could not be complete without making friends from all corners of the world who are surely my friends for life! I’ve made friends from places such as Europe, Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, USA, Australia and even as far as Mexico.”
He remembered a funny experience in South Korea where they didn’t accept his bank card, and this left him with only few Hong Kong dollars in his pocket. However luckily for him his friend helped and he had a brilliant time there.
“Studying abroad has made me grow as a person because I became more independent than ever. It made me open my eyes to a bigger world and I have learned so much about myself and from lifelong friends I have made from all corners of the globe.”
His top advice for students considering doing study abroad was to take advantage of all the amazing courses offered abroad and try them. In addition, he said not to worry about the language barrier. “Many people can speak pretty good English and if not, they are really kind and helpful.”
He recommended learning some basic Cantonese if you are travelling to Hong Kong. This will be very useful at various times, especially when you go out to try out some authentic Chinese food, which Abhisek also has on his list as a must.
“Take advantage of the buddy system that the university offers. You will be assigned a local friend who will help you settle into life in Hong Kong.
“Take part in any of the hall’s activities if you do live in the hall accommodation. I became a member of my hall’s football team and even went on various hiking trips with my hall mates. This is another great way to make friends and have cultural exchange with each other.”
He finished his story by saying he has no regrets about his journey and there is nothing he would change. “I have enjoyed every minute.”