One year ago I started looking into what options there were to go abroad. I am a civil engineering major, so I knew my options were limited due to the classes I need being very specific. In addition, I was already going to have to take an extra semester so I knew I didn’t want to get any further behind. Thus, when I found out about the opportunity to intern in the summer overseas it sounded like a dream come true. Next came the hard part, deciding where I wanted to do the internship. I think I changed my mind ten times and I still was thinking about changing it until around two months before I left. Ultimately I chose Hong Kong because as someone who wants to go into transportation, it is a place that thrives! In addition, Hong Kong is a part of China (the Mecca of engineering, technology and things advanced) but until somewhat recently it was leased to the British, thus making its’ citizens English speaking. In my decision process, this really mattered because if I am going to be working with locals I wanted to be able to understand everything that was going on.
Once I arrived in Hong Kong I was immediately sure I had made the right decision. I loved the fast paced never stop atmosphere, as Hong Kong truly is the city that never sleeps. Whether it is 4am or 4pm the roads are still bustling with people. My internship placement was in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Research at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Poly U). Poly U was ranked as the #9 Engineering Research University in the world. Thus, being able to be around some of the top research professionals in the world was an unparalleled experience. From the labs to equipment everything was state of the art and being able to have it all at your fingertips was this wannabe researcher’s dream.
I knew prior to boarding the plane that living and working on the other side of the globe would be an experience, but I never knew how much that experience would change me. Honestly nothing prepares you for that change, but it is the best thing that can ever happen, if you let it. You meet people from all over the world, create lasting friendships, learn a strong sense of independence that can’t be found in America, and gain college credit while doing so.
Living in another culture opened my eyes and allowed me to see the world differently and truly fall in love with Asia. I strongly encourage you to go abroad especially to countries that are non-traditional. See for yourself the less traveled routes and places, and gain knowledge about those cultures far different from our own; it really will make your resume stand out. Honestly just take the leap, go abroad!
Savannah Wexler is majoring in Civil Engineering. She spent Summer, 2018 interning in Hong Kong through CIEE. Savannah was the recipient of the Center for Global Education Summer 2018 Featured Program Scholarship to Hong Kong.
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