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Student Spotlight

Katherine Ng
Hong Kong Year 2011-12
Business Administration Major

Hong Kong

"This was the best decision I made in college and one that I will never forget."

"Studying abroad is not as expensive as people believe."

"Even though some of the locals may not have a lot, they went out of their way to help foreigners like me in giving directions or making lost ones feel welcomed."

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
HKUST was my #1 choice for my study abroad destination because of its academic ranking as the best university of Asia and its high percentage of international students. The campus is also located right next to the ocean, and from the dorms and some classrooms, you can see the ocean view. This opportunity was one I could not miss. Hong Kong is a great city itself, being centrally located in Asia and also having the most skyscrapers in the world. I always wanted to experience the city life and how it would be like live in a densely populated city. Another important factor is that I come from a Chinese background and I wanted to appreciate and understand my Chinese heritage. My dad had lived in Hong Kong for almost 10 years and Hong Kong is also where my Mom and Dad met each other. Overall, I was very excited to study in Hong Kong for its location and academics.
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
I was fortunate to travel to China, Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia where I was able to mingle with the locals and explore the city and rural areas. Some of the places I visited were undeveloped and it was a learning experience to observe how others live their lives. I realized their livelihood differed vastly from mine and through observing and interacting with the locals, it made me appreciate my life and made me grateful for what I had. Even though some of the locals may not have a lot, they went out of their way to help foreigners like me in giving directions or making lost ones feel welcomed.
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
Yes, I definitely have changed from my study abroad experience. I was at HKUST for a year and throughout that time I met many different types of people from all over the world. Even though I am from California, a very diverse place, it was my first time having Swedish, Norwegian, Australian, and Singaporean friends my age. I also learned more about Hong Kong and that Asia is really developed as many of the news articles point to. Even the work culture is different as the people in general work harder and are more driven to succeed. It is definitely a place I can see myself in the future.
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
Through the great experience I had, I try to promote studying abroad by offering my own stories to potential study abroad students. I always note that this was the best decision I made in college and one that I will never forget. The most memorable experiences I have had in life so far has been through my study abroad and I definitely want to express this to as much students as possible.
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
It’s definitely worth it. It’s good to get out there and gain a new perspective. Also, studying abroad is not as expensive as people believe. It can even be cheaper than home university costs depending on how much you spend on travel and which program you choose. For Hong Kong, dorm fees are around 1/5 less than UCI’s. A school meal for lunch or dinner costs $3-4. Studying abroad is definitely doable and don’t let any obstacle get in your way. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, and I can definitely try to be of assistance. You can also look into study abroad scholarships such as Gilman A. Scholarship, which is offered specifically for study abroad students.

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