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Ryan KO / 2020

photo: Visiting Heureka

Ryan KO and Paul YEUNG (exchanging in Norway) visiting Heureka and rethinking about life with the installation.

Studying, um, I mean travelling abroad had surely broadened my horizons and if you have the chance to do so, definitely go for it!

My experience in Finland has been phenomenal. Unlike Hong Kong, you can see how the western part of the world pay attention to science and how they implement science education from elementary school up. Visiting Heureka, the National Science Center of Finland, was a blast even for a 20 year-old like me!

Knowing that the renowned education system in Finland was using Hong Kong as a reference, I can say, the Finns have done a very good job in surpassing us. I was flabbergasted by the diversity of things that I can learn in the geology department in Helsinki. It was so magical that one can achieve the same amount of learning progress with little schoolwork and pressure.

There are so much good stuff to talk about, but only if you reach out can you experience it yourself. Go abroad! Sky's the limit!

Paul YEUNG / 2020

photo: Paul YEUNG at Norway

I have experienced a lot of unforgettable events during my half-year exchange life in Bergen, Norway. I studied in the University of Bergen, where the Geophysical Institute there was one of the institutes developing the early basis for modern weather forecasting. The professors were willing to share their work and experience during the courses and I really learnt much.

Apart from studying, Bergen also provided me with plenty of outdoor experience, e.g. hiking and cross-country skiing due to its mountainous topography resulted from the glaciers. As an enthusiastic hiker, I enjoyed my life there very much.

I have experienced several “first times” as well. It was my first time to see the snow and the hail. I was my first time to hike in the snow and in the muds and swamps. It was my first time to ski and also to do the cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing is a unique sport here which the Norwegians put on the ski and travel ups and downs over mountains. It was my first time to do kayaking in the fjords. It was my first time to witness the gorgeous northern light dancing in the sky. It was also my first time to see the milky way along with millions of stars in the clear sky when I was staying overnight in a cabin on a 1000m-high mountain.

Norway really gives me a memorable experience and it is always worth it to go the extra mile to go on an exchange!

Carrie CHAN / 2019-20

photo: Carrie CHAN at Canada

Being able to attend Queen's University as an exchange student was an incredible opportunity that I am so thankful for. Participating in a study abroad program gave me the opportunity to get away from our daily routines and discover the many beautiful sides of the world.

While I spent a great deal of time learning in the classroom and lab, I was able to travel through the country, and to a few nearby, learning about cultures that had previously been unfamiliar to me. Trying new food, speaking a foreign language and attempting to navigate new social systems became less intimidating at every turn as I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

My time in Canada not only was a great break from the intensity of ESSC, but it also was an asset to my understanding of cultural sensitivity and diversity. It is not necessary but one would never return with regrets, instead the whole experience sparks endless wanderlusts and surprises. I would definitely recommend students going for an invaluable exchange journey!

Nicolas LO / 2019

photo: Nicolas LO at Svalbard

Going on exchange has been a long-waited opportunity for most university students to travel around the world and expose ourselves into different culture. For me, going on exchange in Svalbard Archipelago, Norway, in the Arctic is invaluable. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. As an ESSC student, this is a place for me to understand climate change more closely. This acts as a natural laboratory far North. During my stay, I am able to experience the “midnight sun” and “polar nights”. I have enrolled in courses about polar meteorology and oceanography and I am lucky to be part of the fascinating fieldwork. For example, one of them is to set up an automatic weather station with different meteorological sensors for obtaining some atmospheric data for our analysis assignments. We had to hike so as to find an ideal place for setting up our station. Carrying and installing those heavy instruments is difficult. We had to touch lots of metallic surface outdoor. It was awful sometimes because it was really chilly. Walking on ice was also a tragedy when it was super slippery. There are many more difficulties encountered during my stay but these allow me to be brave, independent and then overcome them. Gratefully I made many invaluable friends there and now we have built a strong connection even we are apart. When I rewind all these memories, they are really unforgettable.

Gary FUNG / 2019

photo: Field trip of petrology class in early October 2019 in a Lithium mine in Vermont, USA.

We took this photo in the field trip of petrology class in early October 2019 in a Lithium mine in Vermont, USA. I am the first person in the left.

Studying abroad in the states was a fruitful and inspiring experience. During the overseas, I explored more in terms of my academic field. The teaching and learning method in the US and in HK are completely different. The classes in the states are more interactive, local students there are more eager to ask questions. It gave me an inspiration in studying when I’m back to CUHK. I’ve been to a field trip to Cape Cod in Massachusetts held by the geology association of Boston College. Our professor drove us around and explained on the geological features over there. That was definitely a fun trip!

photo: Football game at the Alumni Stadium in Boston College in late August.

This is a photo taken with my group of friends during the tailgate of a football game. It took place in Alumni Stadium in Boston College in late August. I am the first person in the right at the front row.

The exchange programme helps me to develop the skill of independence. It was never easier than I thought to live alone in foreign countries. I’ve encountered different problems since the first day I arrived the states. It was so hard to carry two heavy suitcases while trying to figure out which way to go.

Fortunately, I met a lot of friends who gave me a hand during the time in Boston College. Not only local friends in America, but also international exchange students from different countries going to Boston College. Some of us share the same traditions with Chinese while some of them do not. We exchanged our culture and ideas in gatherings. I feel grateful that I could build up connections around the world.

Please do not hesitate to jump out of your comfort zone! You could never expect the unexpected!

Taurus YONG / 2018

photo: Taurus YONG at Sweden

The exchange semester at Lund University in Sweden was the most unforgettable experience of my life. I took advantage of the great opportunity to study Earth Science related courses and also Scandinavian cultural courses which provided incredible exposure to authentic Swedish innovation and culture. I learned new perspectives by joining the scientific debates and learning with Swedish students during my exchange study. Indulging in the international environment with a diverse group of both Swedish and international students has made my most fabulous study experience. I also made the most of my European adventure by traveling around Europe, meeting new friends from different cultures and learning new perspectives. I challenged myself by hiking and camping in one of the islands in Northern Norway. The experience of witnessing both Northern light and sunset on the same day has made my incredible adventure. Starting from scratch and living in such an international environment has given me so much confidence, knowledge, exposure and experience in which I have built as my great personal growth.

Gabriel FAN / 2016

photo: Gabriel FAN at Svalbard

I went onto an exchange programme to Svalbard, Norway inside the Arctic Circle for 5 months in 2016 as an exchange student studying glacial geology. Svalbard has the northernmost city in the world and countless glaciers. It has a very special arctic ecosystem and climate. The lowest temperature I experienced there was -21℃. The coldness leads to a slow weathering process and a very barren soil, exposing spectacular sedimentary geology and preserved fossils, along with the glacial geomorphology.

I went onto a camping fieldwork in the foreland of a glacier for 7 days, and on a scientific boat cruise for 8 days out to the Arctic Ocean extracting seabed cores. We looked at their grain sizes, rock fragments and forams in the cores. Thus, we can retrieve the past glacial and ocean environment at the site dating back to the past 1000 years. This exchange is truly irreplaceable and spectacular where we as future Earth scientists have to go.

I truly recommend future students to join us and have a look at the courses offering in the University Centre in Svalbard.

photo: Sanders Theatre - Harvard University

Sanders Theatre - Harvard University

Danny LEUNG / 2015

Working at Harvard last year was an amazing and fruitful experience. I worked on the effect of climate change on ozone air quality in China, in which I acquainted myself with various data analysis skills as well as techniques of compiling and running earth system models. I adapted myself to the atmosphere of research among my seniors, inspired by their experiences and entertained by the anecdotes of groupmates which were fun and valuable. They bolstered my project by acknowledging my hard work and offering me much technical support. I acquired much knowledge and broadened my horizons and I'm now more enthralled in the field of earth system research. Thanks for their encouragements and support, and this was an invaluable research experience in my life!

Herman CHUNG / 2014 -2015

photo: Herman Chung and his Norwegian friend and her family

My Norwegian buddies (in blue dress) and her family and friends

Time flies, my half year exchange study in Norway has come to an end. The whole experience is so surreal, and I could barely believe that I have gone through so much in such a short period of time.

It is very true that going on exchange could give you an impulse to your life. It could change the way you look at yourself, your attitude, and your values. I have met friends from all over the world and been to places that I have never thought I could have been. I have never felt so connected to the other part of the world. You realize that everything that is reported on news is no longer something that does not bother you, and you are becoming a global citizen.

photo: Norwegian National Flag

Norwegian National Flag

And of course, travelling is one of the main dishes for the Asian exchange students in Europe, and it is always the best way to know yourself better. I have travelled alone through different countries and challenged myself. I successfully hitchhiked in Iceland for 5 rides before I got to my destination, and in the mean time I was dropped off in the middle of nowhere, all by myself. You can really feel the satisfaction after accomplishing the challenge that you set to yourself. All you need is the courage to take action!

And for now, don’t hesitate, take the chance to go on an exchange study and see the world!