Chinese University of Hong Kong International Summer School
20 March 2019
From studying Chinese foreign policy to hiking in the New Territories, hear about Alex's experiences on the CUHK Summer School!
Alex Johannes, Mathematics
To me, it would appear there are two kinds of people in the world. Those that are occasionally (mostly) disorganised, and liars. Needless to say, I may potentially identify as a strong case of the former, although I have never been called the latter. The point being that I naturally found myself applying for a Tuition Free Summer School place at the 11th hour, which is not doubt fast approaching for many of you.
Fortunately, this was not to be the end of me, and my last gasp efforts proved more fortuitous than I could have imagined. As a student who is already studying abroad, I might have been forgiven for having taken for granted the “Study Abroad” experience that most students at UCL covet, however, my summer school experience had a refreshing uniqueness that deepened my understanding of how high education differs from continent to continent and why it is considered so valuable.
The self-inflicted brevity with which I had to act largely lent itself to intuition, and CUHK and Hong Kong represented the opportunity with the most unknowns, and ultimately the most to discover. When considering a summer school place, that’s a factor that I would certainly place at the fore, given that the duration of the opportunity will only be between 4-8 weeks. That said, with a smart piece of budgeting and planning, you could find yourself travelling for a few weeks either side of that, as most of my friends did. And a after a 14-hour flight East, it was definitely worth exploring the lie of the land whilst on the other side of the globe, South Korea and Macau being my sojourns along the way. Fortunately, class ran from Tuesday to Thursday, so every weekend was a long weekend that side of paradise.
It goes without saying that in between the sleeping-in and future amnesia at Mr. Hong’s (a quaint establishment run by a suspected racketeer with favourable drinks pricing), the program was run like clockwork. The teaching, facilities and extra activities organized by the staff made the initial transition seamless and the overall experience exceptional. From hiking in the New Territories to the cultural centres on Hong Kong Island, the program had something for everyone, although as a I discovered, betting on horses at the Hong Kong Jockey club is indeed for everyone.
The assessments were rigorous but fair, and the amount I learned about Chinese Foreign Policy (my course of choice) has given me an X-factor. The July program at CUHK is also the longest, and you’ll want to savour every minute of it. I became friends with weird and wonderful characters from corners of the globe I’d yet to contemplate, and left Hong Kong with a summer experience I’ll not soon forget.