Andrea Hernandez ‘19
American Studies Major
Q. How did you find/choose this program?
Mount Holyoke offers a reciprocal exchange with the University of Hong Kong, which I found out about through the MHC website. What made me choose HKU was the opportunity to take classes in my self-designed American Studies major, the fact that classes were conducted in English, and the opportunity to live in such an incredible city.
Q. How does it fit with your academic plans?
It works perfectly! I wasn't sure what to expect of an American Studies program abroad, but it has been everything I could have wanted and more. Exploring American culture, media, and politics from the opposite side of the world has been so incredibly interesting. I am especially learning a lot from my peers.
Q. What did you know about Hong Kong before arriving? How has that perspective changed?
I honestly didn't know much about it. One thing that surprised me was how much nature there is here. I've been on a few hikes, gone to the beach, and even got to sit under a waterfall. There's a lot more to HK than skyscrapers.
Q. Was/is it difficult to make friends abroad?
It's pretty easy to form friendships with the other exchange students because we're all kind of in the same boat. Making friends with local students is admittedly a little harder, but I've been able to connect with a lot of my classmates through my American Studies courses. Our conversations almost never end in class!
Q. What is your day to day like? (what classes are you taking, how do you go about meals, free time pursuits- do you have free time, etc)
I'm taking five courses; three in American Studies, one on Chinese Mythology and one on Nonprofit Management. My school days usually end pretty early, so depending on whether or not I have a lot of work to do, I go to the library or head back home to have lunch and relax. I have a lot more free time here than I do at MHC because I'm not working or leading an org, so I'm trying to do more leisure reading. I also love to go for long walks from my flat to somewhere with a great view of the ocean.
Q. Nightlife! What is the party scene like? (If you're comfortable sharing, what is the party scene like abroad? How is it different from the valley?)
The nightlife here is really fun! Exchange students usually end up partying at the same places, so the scene is always very international which is fun. The most amusing thing about the Hong Kong party scene is the “Club 7-Eleven” culture. On any given party night, you'll find people buying alcohol at a 7-Eleven and having their drinks right outside on the sidewalk. The cashier will even open your bottle for you!
Q. What is the fashion like abroad?
People here are so fashionable! Hong Kong has stores from all over the world, so people have a lot to choose from. I've personally taken advantage of having access to popular European brands like Monki and Bershka.
Q. Do you plan on/have you travelled to different cities while abroad so far?
I haven't had the opportunity to travel much outside of Hong Kong, but I did enjoy a daytrip to Macau. I felt like I was in Las Vegas!
Q. What has this experience taught you so far?
Living abroad has made me fall in love with learning in a new way. Not only am I much more curious about the world, but I act on those curiosities more often now. I ask more questions, make more connections and am more open to sharing my thoughts with others. It is extremely fulfilling.
Q. Would you recommend studying abroad to Mount Holyoke Students?
Yes. I debated it for so long and almost decided against it, but I'm so glad I gave Hong Kong a chance.