I will briefly categorize my exchange experience into two main portions, covering my study and my lifestyle during my 5-month stay in the United Kingdom.
The learning style at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom was very interactive. There were frequent pauses during the lectures because the students there were very active in asking course-related questions. From what I observed, students there had a good learning attitude where they paid intense attention during the lessons, and often previewed the course materials before lectures, both contributing to a smoother learning experience. As an exchange student, I found that the learning behavior at my host institution was very influential, motivating me to engage more actively in the lectures and expose myself to a wider horizon outside of the lectures.
There were a lot of written assignments in all the course that I took, counting for 100% of the overall score of the course. It was certainly not a good idea to leave it until the last second! I also came across some group projects in the courses. The hardest thing for me to get adapted to was the mix of cultural background among my groupmates. Though some of them were from other Asian countries, we did take some time to get along with our different working styles. The good thing was that in most cases they can speak English clearly and fluently, and we received credits from the professors for our work.
Apart from my study, I also engaged in some local activities. The most remarkable experience was the time I spent with my six flat mates. Five of them were locals while one was from Japan. Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much interaction with the Japanese because I didn’t see her very often. However, I did develop good friendships with the local flat mates, especially a guy named Iain. From my observation, most people in Norwich were nice, helpful and cheerful. I didn’t encounter any racism during my exchange life there. It is, however, important to note that there is indeed a difference in lifestyles. my flat mates loved to smoke and drink alcohol. They went to pubs around twice a week. Personally I felt that this lifestyle was not suitable for me at all. As such, I tended to interact with them by chatting and playing card games with them in their rooms.
The city of Norwich was very relaxing and slow-paced. You would not expect to see the lifestyle of typical Hong Kongers there. The shops closed early, usually before 8 p.m. It took me around one week to adapt to the pace and the lifestyle of the people in Norwich. One of the hardest things for me to adapt to when I arrived there was the cold weather. It was typically extremely windy in Norwich in the winter, so adequate winter clothing accessories such as scarves should be prepared. Such weather prevailed for a few months until May. Luckily the spring in Norwich was not very hot. Even though there was no air conditioner in my room, the temperature at night was very comfortable
In conclusion, I had a really joyful exchange experience in the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom. I strongly recommend this university to other HKUST students.