In this “Go Abroad!” series, TUJ’s study abroad coordinator introduces you to various study abroad opportunities TUJ offers. For this edition, we asked TUJ student Jun Kimura about her study abroad experience at Hong Kong Baptist University.
Hong Kong Baptist University, located in Kowloon Tong, was founded in 1956 as Hong Kong Baptist College by the Baptist Convention of Hong Kong. In 1983, it became a fully-funded public tertiary institution, and it gained a full university status in 1994 and was renamed Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). The university encompasses eight Faculties/Schools and it prides itself on its dual focus on teaching and research, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. While the name of the university reflects its religious roots, today it is a non-secular, general university where students can study a wide range of subjects such as business, science, literature, and social sciences.
Jun Kimura graduated from Seibudaichiba Senior High School in Chiba prefecture. She joined TUJ’s Academic English Program and then enrolled in the Undergraduate Program via the Bridge Program. In Fall 2018, she studied at Hong Kong Baptist University for one semester.
Please tell us why you chose TUJ and what you like about it.
An acquaintance told me about TUJ when I was wondering about my future after I graduated from high school. I chose TUJ because I can study at Temple Main Campus in Philadelphia, U.S., if I want to.
I originally wanted to enroll in a university abroad, but I gave up on the idea because the financial burden was too big. I also chose TUJ was because I could reduce the cost by commuting from home. In addition, the fact that you can change your major after enrolling also appealed to me as I was not sure what I wanted to do.
What are you studying at TUJ?
I major in Communication Studies because I am interested in documentaries and journalism. I developed these interests as I watched TV programs on foreign cultures and NHK documentaries on different issues, such as world politics and economics. It made me want to learn the truth myself and communicate it to others. I am also taking classes in other areas I am interested in, like art and politics.
Why did you decide to study abroad at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)?
I decided to study abroad at HKBU because I was interested in the Chinese language and I had heard the university’s School of Communication has a solid program. I also met an HKBU student at the TUJ Language Exchange Program, which prompted me to go and take a look at HKBU before going to study there. There were a lot of students from countries outside of Asia, creating an international environment. HKBU seemed a very lively place. The university had classes that I was interested in (film and documentaries), and I liked the atmosphere of the campus. It made me want to study there.
What was most memorable about studying abroad?
The Global University Film Awards , a large-scale, three-day film event held at HKBU, was most memorable. I listened to lectures on cinema by film professionals and watched films in different genres, such as documentaries, Chinese literature, and animation, and I really learned a lot. One particularly interesting talk was by Max Howard, titled Creating an Effective Story and How to Pitch It. His explanation on how to make an effective pitch for a film was very easy to understand.
Many students came from universities overseas to learn about film. It was a great place to meet people who were interested and studying the same things as I was. (I had the impression that there were many students from Taiwan). Graduate students majoring in film and media at HKBU managed things like transportation to and from the airport, interpretation, and guiding students who were coming from overseas. I was impressed by the students managing the event.
What was most difficult about studying abroad?
Things did not go so well with my roommate. It is a pity that it became a bitter memory, but thanks to this study abroad experience, I was able to create strong connections with local people. They helped me in different ways. They helped me find a place to live outside the dorm and let me stay with them, too. It was also helpful when friends who experienced the same problems just listened to me.
When I stayed at my friend’s home, I was able to experience life in Hong Kong that was different from life in the dorm. There were lots of Chinese New Year decorations. Although I do not know if this is unique to China and Hong Kong, they managed to do their laundry in such a small space. I found living at my friend’s house a valuable experience.
Studying abroad was a really good experience, even including the tough parts. I think all was good in the end.
What did you like about Hong Kong?
The thing I like about Hong Kong is that people from many different countries are living there. Out about town, you can see different cultures and hear different languages. I saw lots of things that you would rarely see in Japan. On weekends, people who I thought were Thais would come together in the parks and on bridges. They would have lively parties, singing and talking together. Muslim people would gather in mosques.
One place I visited and liked was Lama Island, which is about 30 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong Island. This small island has rich natural landscapes, but it also has cafes and craft shops. There aren’t many people, so you can relax. It is quite different from places like Mongkok, which are typical Hong Kong. The island also has a famous dessert called tofa made from soy milk. It was very delicious.
What are your plans after graduation?
I have not made up my mind yet. I am thinking about jobs related to documentary films or programs, but I am not sure in what way I’d like to be involved. I also got interested in teaching Japanese language through volunteer activities I did while studying at HKBU.
As a volunteer Japanese language teacher, I developed lesson content and teaching materials and taught HKBU students once a week. Most of the students were undergraduates who could not enroll in HKBU Japanese courses due to over-capacity, or graduate students interested in Japanese.
I created the lessons, consulting with the students who were taking my class. I also planned events where a small group of people came together to talk in Japanese about their interests, such as anime or manga. I felt empowered by the experience and became interested in becoming a Japanese language teacher as well.
Any advice to students who are considering studying abroad in the future?
It is important to be proactive. I discovered different things and met different people by taking part in various events and always trying new things, even if I did not feel so confident.
About the TUJ Study Abroad Coordinator
Teppei Hayashi, TUJ’s study abroad coordinator, helps students who are interested in studying abroad with timelines, application eligibility and processes, and how to choose the best program based on their academic, professional and personal goals. Prior to joining TUJ, Teppei worked at Oregon State University, Waseda University, and the Northwest Returnee Conference (now under Life After Study Abroad) helping those interested in studying and interning abroad. TUJ students interested in studying abroad can contact him at GoAbroad@tuj.temple.edu.