Exchange Student Sharing - Jonathan Wong

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It has always been my dream to study abroad, and finally my wish came true when Centennial College made a student exchange partnership with an American institution, Lesley University. I chose Lesley University because its campus is located at the heart of Boston's Cambridge area, right next to Harvard University. Harvard Square was a great place to visit because there is a wide variety of shops and restaurants. From there I got to experience the richness of the historical and cultural heritage of Cambridge.

Lesley University offers a wide curriculum of courses. Students can study Psychology, Childhood Education, English Literature, French, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, History, Geography, Economics, Counselling, Creative Writing and much more. I was very grateful to be able to enroll in interesting courses that meet my learning goals. The learning environment in America is somewhat different from that in Hong Kong. At Lesley, students were expected to do advanced readings before attending classes, where they initiated group discussions with teachers. This was the part I found most uncomfortable, but finally I participated in discussing with teachers during lessons. It was quite a new experience for me as a foreign student.

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Apart from attending lessons, I spent most of my weekends sightseeing. I visited museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Harvard Art Museum, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard Museum of Natural History and Harvard Semitic Museum, as well as historic sites such as Salem, Massachusetts State House, Freedom Trail, Old North Church, Paul Revere's House and Quincy Market. I also took the opportunity to visit world-class institutions, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

During my semester abroad I also found new friendships. I met students from other foreign countries including France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Iceland, Sweden, China, Switzerland and Puerto Rico, and I got to become friends with someone from Hong Kong too! With these new friendships I did not feel alone in Boston any more. All in all, studying in the United States was a life-changing moment in my college life. I have learned to live independently and have grown to become more confident. My experiences abroad also changed the way I view Hong Kong. It seems to be different now from when I left a semester ago. Is it because I'm in a different part of the world again, or have I changed and become a different person?

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