Matthew Nguyen (he/him) - Stanford in Hong Kong
Major: Civil Engineering
College year while abroad: Junior
About the photo: Me after reaching the top of one of Hong Kong's beautiful hikes.
Why did you choose to study abroad in Hong Kong?
I have always wanted to travel to Asia, and Hong Kong was the only BOSP location without a language prerequisite
What were your expectations before you went and how did those change once you arrived in Hong Kong?
I have never travelled outside the US before, so I had no idea what life was like outside the states. Coming to Asia and exploring countries outside the US was so eye-opening and life changing. I was able to experience so many different cultures and ways of living from eating to learning to even commuting.
What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Hong Kong?
A lot of students were able to practice their Mandarin/Cantonese either in the classroom or in real world application. Some courses offered were applicable for WAYS requirements. in general, partnering with one of the best institutions in Asia allowed us to see what the learning environment overseas is like.
What did you learn about yourself while you were studying abroad?
Taking such a huge leap across the world by myself was a big stepping stone in my adulting era. I have learned so much about myself as I was simultaneously on my own while working with others to navigate around a completely new land. Meeting so many new people and forging many relationships has shown me how personable and friendly I am no matter where I am in the world. I also reached out to many of my friends and gained lots of insights about self-reflection and self-love on this trip abroad.
What was the most challenging experience you encountered while you were abroad and what did you learn from it?
The most challenging experience was adjusting to the country within the first few days of arrival. There were many details left out of the orientation process that would've been very helpful to know prior to arrival. I hope serving as a Student Ambassador will allow me to hold sessions and chat with additional students to inform them about such details.
What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?
Washing your dishes before eating.
What was your favorite part of your everyday life in Hong Kong?
Eating noodles in the canteen in my college hostel.
What was the most memorable experience you had while you were in Hong Kong?
Meeting so many amazing people abroad and keeping in touch with them for years to come.
What 5 words would you use to describe your experience?
Best Time Of My Life.
What was your favorite food you had in Hong Kong?
Filipino food.., HAHA which just speaks to how international Hong Kong was! Interesting melting pot of cultures.
What was the most valuable item you took with you on the program?
An empty luggage (trust me you're gonna thank me after you buy all those souvenirs).
What was your favorite music/band that you discovered in Hong Kong?