Hong Kong: Final Reflection and Pictures

I’d like to start by giving you a short snippet of the memories I made and lessons I learned. As an aspiring Finance major within the McCombs School of Business, Hong Kong (HK) had always been an appealing city to work or study in. It’s regarded as the financial capital of Asia, if not the world, and I knew that experiencing the fast-paced, economically driven city would give me a taste of what my future career held. So when I began exploring study abroad destinations, it’s not surprising that Hong Kong was at the top of my list. After two months abroad, I can confidently say that HK did not disappoint.

The city was all that it was hyped up to be and more. From the buzzing Ladies’ market whose stalls stayed open into the wee hours of the night to the beautiful morning hike to Ma Dai that revealed HK’s calmer side, I was amazed. HK was the perfect blend of East meets West, urban fused with rural, and work mixed with play. However, though the city itself had much to offer, it was ultimately the people I met and befriended that made this summer one to remember. By participating in an exchange program, I was able to meet and interact with students from the UK, Italy, France, Syria, Spain, Africa, Korea, and countless other countries. As a result, I did not just experience the culture of Hong Kong, but also the traditions and nuances of so many individuals whose origins reach far and wide. Now, I have friends in numerous countries that I can contact when I visit their homes. Ultimately, in my mind, that is the most invaluable part of studying abroad – the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends from the all over the world.

I encourage each and every one of you reading this blog to really consider studying abroad for at least a summer (if not a semester). My summer exchange in Hong Kong honestly gave me the best and most rewarding two months of my life and I would love for everyone to take the opportunity to experience that for themselves. Please feel free to reach out to me at kavishah4@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns about studying abroad. I would be more than happy to chat!

Here are some last few photos of Hong Kong :)

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Thailand Photo Set

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Elephant riding – Mahout Training Center

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Feeding the elephants

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Chilling with some local Thai people outside the Long neck village

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A picture with the famous Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho

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Temples near Wat Pho

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Selfie at the Bang Nam Pheung floating river market

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The best food we had in Chiang Mai (Bamboo Bee Vegetarian Restaurant)

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Inside Wat Chedi Luang (Chiang Mai)

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Selfi at the Eagle Track zipline in Chiang Mai

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Picture taken while on top of a zipline platform

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Tusen Takk, Oslo

The phrase “tusen takk” is Norwegian for “thank you”, and is about the extent of my knowledge of the Norwegian language. I am thankful for the opportunity to study abroad at BI Norwegian School of Business in Oslo, Norway. At BI, I met amazing people, learned interesting business concepts, and immersed myself in a unique culture. BI is an amazing school with a highly engaging summer program. I recommend it for anyone who wants to do life in Europe and meet people from all over the globe. It is hard for me to beleive the program is coming to a close.

So now what? Here are a few “pointers” I can lend at the end of my study abroad program. I advise researching the city/country you will be studying in before arriving, but along the way you pick up more and more info about it. After being in Oslo a couple of weeks, I had received some local recommendations of where to go to hang/eat/etc. The last two weeks of my program, I made sure to hit all the places I hadn’t yet been to in Oslo. The local’s recommendations were way better than what any tourist packet could recommend. Explore the city you are studying in and take the locals advice.

My next pointer is a no-brainer: take a lot of pictures. This comes naturally for me (and a lot of people this generation), but it is a great way to capture awesome moments and remember your trip. When you get home, upload your pictures to Facebook and relive all the memories with your friends. Pictures are fun, so splurge and buy the 64 GB iPhone and take as many pics as you want!

My last pointer is to take advantage of the location of your program. In my case, I was in Europe, so I visited a couple more cities after I finished my program. After Oslo, I am headed South, where everything got warmer and cheaper. By visiting more countries/cities, I was able to experience even more culture, history, and food.

Hope these end-of-program-pointers helped out! If you have any questions about my experience in Oslo or post-Oslo travels, leave a comment and I will try to get back to you.

God Bless and Hook ‘Em!

Tim N.

Horns up at the Berlin WallBerlin Praguewhat a viewCopenhagendeep in the streets

Excursion to the Philippines!

On July 25th, I left Hong Kong for two weeks to travel to Boracay, a beautiful beach resort island in the Philippines, and Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai). My trip was nothing short of amazing. Here are some pictures detailing my journey.

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View from the plane as I arrived into Manila International Airport. I really didn’t appreciate how good we had it in America until I saw the quality of the airport. Security was sub-par (definitely wouldn’t meet TSA standards), the airport was clearly run down/old, and one of the guards tried to sell my friend a sim card.

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From Manila, I flew in to Kalibo (the closest airport to Boracay) after an hour delay. Julien and I met up with Enrico and Loustan, the people we were travelling with, because they were on a different flight. We were all pretty exhausted at this point and wanted to get to our hostel ASAP. Unfortunately, we had a long journey ahead of us. From Kalibo, we had to take a 1 hour taxi to Caticlan. From Caticlan, we would then be able to take a ferry across the sea to the Boracay Island.

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Here’s a picture of the ferry we took.

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Margherita pizza – dinner after we finally got to Boracay.

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The next day, we spent some time on the beaches before heading out on a 6 hr boat tour. The water and sand quality were unreal.

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Here are some pictures from the boat tour!

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The next day we did some parasailing and fly fishing followed by watching the sunset on the beach and eating dinner. The beach seems to get even more beautiful at dusk.

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Loustan and I on one side of the table and Julien and Enrico on the other

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The following day we rode ATVs up the mountain to get to an absolutely stunning view of the entire island. Finished up the night with another delicious dinner :)

Finally the day came when we had to say our goodbyes to Boracay. The five days I spent on the island were filled with fun new experiences with a great group of friends. Needless to say, I was exhausted and sun burnt by the end of my trip to the Philippines and was ready to go back to Hong Kong. Too bad (JK!) I had planned a trip to Thailand following the Philippines with another group of friends. After I said my goodbyes and good wishes to Enrico, Loustan, and Julien. I started from journey from Kalibo to Kuala Lumpur (layover) to Bangkok. I’ve decided to make a separate blog post about Thailand just to keep this one short and sweet! Stay tuned!