CHENG Ching In FS2010-11, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | to Germany
Köln International School of Design (KISD) is a prestigious design school and top ranking school in the world. KISD is located in Germany where is the important international center for all kinds of arts and design. Cologne is an enthusiastic and creative city with long history of industrial design. There are many well-known and successfully brands such as Posh and BMW. I choose the KISD for my exchange because I believed it would be convenient to enjoy the culture of Germany, inspire me with new things and ideas through visiting museums, galleries, exhibitions or even joining art festivals. Also, in Germany I could meet people from all over the world and experience diverse cultures.
KISD is like a big family and I like the warm and welcoming atmosphere there. We consider all the professors and students like own family members. We share our feelings and opinions with each other, in the afternoon tea or during our mentor meetings. The lectures and presentations are in a informal formats, open to the public, just feel free to talk and express your sights and shout it up. The presentations are somehow quite creative and innovative, with the interactions with each others.
The biggest challenge for me is finding a flat because it’s so hard to find a place within a short period of time. Normally, Cologne university students are needed to find the accommodations by themselves, not like Hong Kong, providing the student hall with specific university. Therefore, there is a great and tight demand for all the university students in finding their accommodations. In my case, as my landlord could not speak English, I needed to do lots of gestures and asked my German friends for translations, but it was really an unforgettable experience.
The most exciting part is learning and sharing the cultural differences with my classmates and overseas friends. It is really an interesting thing that all of us have different cultural background in which Asian and Western cultures are totally different. In my host university, students are willing and happy to organize activities and trips which sometimes cooperate with International Office. I remember there was a ‘”Hong Kong Night” which Hong Kong exchange students prepared HK style dinner and movies to all the classmates. It was a wonderful night to prepare the food, enjoy HK food and chat. And most of our classmates were satisfied and they like HK food so much which I was unexpected.
Although the exchange period was not so long, I found it’s worth to be an exchange student. I was learning to be more mature by taking care of myself, solving problems and making decisions by my own. It expanded my minds and sights, by observing the peoples’ behaviors and sharing the culture with my foreign friends. I was learning to be more active and brave, willing to try new challenges and talk to different people. I also found my language skills were improved by talking with different people from all over the world.