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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anastasia in Hong Kong

After I finished my internship, I moved north away from the city center, staying in the dorms at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in the Sha Tin district. The university campus is much bigger than that of UTD and is located on a hillside, such that I have to take the bus to and from class. There are also elevators in the buildings, taking you from the top of the hill to the bottom, making the campus a big game of chutes and ladders.

I took two business classes: Asian Business and Management, Engineering and Technology Management. The classes have been great, and we’ve had several group projects. I got to work with people from Britain, Canada, Korea, and Mainland China. As part of the Tech Management class, we took a field trip to the Science Park and visited the RFID Center, where we learned about radio frequency identification technology – the kind that Walmart hopes to implement in coming years.

As part of the cultural program at CUHK, I have taken two trips. One was a local boat trip to give the students a tour of the nearby islands. We visited a fishing village and small temple, had a seafood lunch, and then explored amazing rock formations on another island’s beach. The second trip was at the very end of my stay, and I just got back. We toured Beijing for three days, visiting the Olympic stadium, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Great Wall, and several other smaller sites. The most beautiful, in my opinion, was the Forbidden City – the center of Beijing, which only the royalty was allowed to enter: the tiered, carved, and embellished golden-colored roofs were stunning, overlapping into the distance.

Now that it is time to leave, I feel like I am leaving a new home. I have finally gotten to know the city, made friends, and gotten into a daily routine. Most of all, I will miss the friends I made here – the expats, the locals, and the other tourists. Especially I will miss my roommate, who was from Mainland China. We didn’t communicate for a while, until one evening we launched into a long discussion. She would ask me questions about the U.S., and I would point out the differences. Some of the things we learned in class were very relevant. For example, she isn’t able to use Facebook or Google, which are not available in China. Instead, she uses the Chinese search engine Baidu, which my group researched for our final essay in Asian Management.

I have learned a lot about the local culture that will help me in my future career, and I would love to return to Asia for work or leisure. Before, I had only called St. Petersburg and Dallas home, but I would now be willing to add Hong Kong to that list.

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