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Study Abroad - Rachael Thompson

Name: Rachael Thompson

Degree: Human Resource Management

Location(s): Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Why did you decide to do study abroad?

I decided to study abroad because I knew I wanted to have the experience of living abroad whilst at university. I have had many friends who have all had positive experiences doing the programme and in addition didn’t want to just work in a placement for the full year. I was lucky enough to get the best of both and it was the best choice I have ever made. I knew I would be pushing myself and be able to develop myself as a person by going on exchange.

Why did you decide to go to the university you went to?

I chose Hong Kong as I’ve always had a fascination with Asia, Hong Kong being my dream city to live in. When I found out about the opportunity to study there I knew I couldn’t pass up on it. In addition, I know how valuable it is to have exposure to Asian cities.

What was your stand out moment during study abroad?

Sitting in a taxi on the way to Victoria peak at night, that’s when It really sunk in that I was in Hong Kong.

Was it expensive to study abroad?

It depends on how you spend your time there. For me, yes. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world but there are hidden gems for cheap and affordable things to do and eat, you just have to find them! With Hong Kong being a major airport in Asia, flights to different places are very cheap so I also spent a fair bit on travelling but it was worth it. Just be sure to calculate costs before applying.

Do you think your experience helped you in your studies at Northumbria and your career?

With my degree specialising in HR and also having work experience in the field, I have seen firsthand the positive impact that studying abroad has on your job applications. It’s a definite conversation starter in interviews and also shows that you are ready for new challenges and can adapt to new environments. In relation to my studies, since my degree is very specific, I don’t really touch on other topics as much as other degrees. Meaning when I was studying abroad, I was able to touch upon other subjects rather than just HR which was a nice change. I also was able to take a language module which I highly recommend if your course allows you.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of going on study abroad what would you say?

DO IT! I can’t put into words how much of a good time I had. Also try going out your comfort zones and experience a new culture you haven’t before. What I learnt from many other students on exchange from different universities was that they do not have half as many options globally as we do at Northumbria. 

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