It is thrilling to have the opportunity to study in the Nordics for 5 months, I have fulfilled much of my goals and gained much more exposure than I have expected.
My initial major goals:
– Study new subjects
– Enlarge my social network
– Get exposed to local culture and issues
– Engage in local communities
All the above were checked as I got the chance to attend classes from majors less common in HKUST, including topics related to landscaping, global land use and bioenergy. I got to work with internationals, participated in their cultural courses and joined community services. In particular, the courses provided me with insights on what urban planners nowadays are working on to help cope with global warming. In particular, the land use course showed how the agricultural sector approaches this issue with land use that facilitates carbon sequestration. The last subject showed me how bioenergy may still play a role in our world. These subjects may seem not highly relatable to one another, yet I find them to some extent became interlinked. For the last two subjects, while the land use courses debated how bioenergy has an unclear impact on climate change, my bioenergy course explained why this may still be important in certain sectors and what other opportunities there are. The assignments ranged from designing a park in class with talented landscape architects, to completing a meta-analysis with over a hundred data inputs. These became an invaluable learning experiences for me as I learned much both from the subjects and from my groupmates.
Other than fulfilling my goals, as I interacted with more people from all walks of life and travelled during holidays to other regions in Denmark and the Nordics, my reflections on globalization, cultural understanding and interest in history grew. It has become clearer to me that competition among global talent is indeed fierce, while more could be done to attract these talent.
However, language barrier is sometimes an issue. For instance, many of the official websites don’t have English versions, and even if they do, the English versions tend to have less information. Road or caution signs may also be available in Danish only, and in some net bank websites, only a Danish version is provided (and Google translate may fail). These could potential cause some inconvenience to international visitors. Many of their communities also target primarily locals. Fortunately, I was still able to connect with some local communities, including the Copenhagen Toastmasters, an urban farming group and some local volunteer groups which taught me about the local’s values.
Overall, it has been a positive experience in Copenhagen and I cherished its spaciousness, safety as well as the relationships I built there. I have also learned a lot regarding the institution and the city, and how it could help to attract more international talent.