“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ― Henry Miller
HKUST does a lot for the exchange students here to make us feel comfortable in our classes, dorms, and our whole UST experience for the term or the whole year. They have put on so many programs for us and a lot of the local students participated in them to help us get acclimated to the environment here. We have had parties, city trips, and informational sessions. Since we all got the opportunity to study abroad here, they want their students to have the opportunity to go abroad also to experience another country and university. So this past week, the Global Students Programs Office had a study abroad fair for two days for their students to be able to learn more about the universities and countries that the exchange students have come from. Since Drexel sent seven students to HKUST, we had a really nice table.
The fair was from Wednesday to Thursday, with Wednesday being for all of the European schools and Thursday being the Asian and North American schools. Since I don’t have classes on Thursday anymore, I signed up to be at the table for three hours. Before the fair, some of the Drexel students talked about what we were going to bring to the table to dress it up. I have so many Drexel T-shirts that I got from Open Houses, NSBE, the College of Engineering, and other Drexel activities. I told them that I would bring a couple to hang up so that students can see our Drexel Pride through shirts. Just like UST, some students at Drexel, like me, have a million school T-shirts that they got through organizations or just from the university. When the day finally came, our tables looked very nice with all of the brochures about Drexel, the giveaways, and of course the shirts.
In the first hour of the fair, it was really slow since it started during the middle of a class period. Some students did stop by, but not a lot of them came to the American university table. Ada’s roommate told us that the day before the hallway was packed with students wanting to go to Europe for study abroad. Once we heard that, we knew we had to step up our game and try to get students to our table. Ada and I were the first two to be at the table, so we asked students if they were interested in Philadelphia, but had no luck. We saw one of the freshmen from our Mandarin class and told him and his friend to come over. To our surprise he told us that one of his friends from back home was a freshman at Drexel this year and that he was considering studying abroad at Drexel because of that. I was really excited to hear that and we started to tell him more about Drexel and why he should really choose the school for exchange. Him and his friend really liked what they heard and said that they would definitely apply. That was the start of our table getting acknowledged. After them we had about five more students who came over to our table interested in Drexel and really wanting to learn more about the school.
There was one student who came up to us and said that he and his family were considering moving back to Philadelphia and he wanted to hear personal stories about Drexel, since he was considering Temple as well. He knew Drexel was a great school, but he needed to be reassured by students who actually go there and not just from what he saw online. We told him everything he needed to know and answered his questions. He was really interested in the Co-Op, which I told him was what drew me to Drexel when I was first applying to schools. We all told him that we were happy with our decisions and that we wouldn’t change it for the world. He told us that he would definitely have more questions, so Ada, Tiffany, another Drexel student, Darien, and I gave him our contact information in case he wanted to reach out before he made a finally decision on what school he was going to aim for.
My roommate, Youli, had her school’s, Waseda University, table set up and I stopped by to find out more about it. Even though I cannot study abroad again because I will be a senior after Winter Term, it was really exciting to hear her excitement for her school and trying to pitch it to me. My exchange buddy, Ansh, studied abroad in Canada at The University of British Columbia, so he and other UST students who studied abroad there had a table set up also. The afternoon was really fun and exciting because we were able to share our experiences at Drexel with HKUST students. Out of all of the students who came to our table, I feel that they were all really excited to hear about Drexel and were planning or going to apply to the study abroad program. I’m happy that we were able to share with others the wonders of Drexel!