‘I knew this was the opportunity I had been looking for’
A visit to the Great Wall of China demonstrated “how far I had come, thanks to this study abroad opportunity,” says Kelvin Ferreiras.
Study abroad had always been on Kelvin Ferreiras’s college “bucket list.” And after learning about the stereotyped and erroneous representation of the Eastern World by the West in a first semester writing class, the computer science major knew he wanted to study abroad in Asia to get “a fuller and more accurate picture” firsthand.
Hong Kong, in particular, seemed “the perfect place for me to accomplish such a task because of its strong historical ties to both the West and the East,” Ferreiras says.
So when he heard about the Summer in Hong Kong program, “I knew this was the opportunity I had been looking for.”
For six weeks during the summer of 2017 Ferreiras immersed himself in Cantonese and Hong Kong culture.
“I spent most of my time in Hong Kong learning phrases in Cantonese, exploring the local cuisine, visiting temples and learning about Buddhism and Taoism, and going out to street markets at night and interacting with locals,” he says. “To be involved in the daily life activities of these people made me develop a better understanding of Asian and Chinese culture, traditions and values, which was my ultimate goal for my study abroad experience.”
Ferreiras fulfilled his goal of developing a better understanding of Asian and Chinese culture.
At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he completed courses on Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine and on Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The latter course, in particular, gave him valuable skills for his future professional career in computer science, he says, by teaching him the main steps to capitalize business ideas in the technology field.
By working with University Center for Education Aboard counselors and peer advisors, Ferreiras found the process of applying for the program to be “relatively easy” – despite having to obtain both a Hong Kong student visa and Chinese tourist visa.
He received two scholarships:
- An Evans Lam Scholarship for Study Abroad in Hong Kong and China, awarded by the Center of Education Abroad, which covered program tuition, fees, accommodation, some meals and excursions.
- A Hajim School International Experience Scholarship, which gave him $500 to help cover his flight and other expenses.
One his most memorable experiences was a visit the Great Wall of China. “To be standing on the longest manmade structure on a beautiful sunny day was a breathtaking experience,” Ferreiras says. “Before studying abroad, the Great Wall of China seemed so far away from me. So, to be there made realize how far I had come thanks to this study abroad opportunity.”
His advice for other students considering study abroad:
Do not miss this opportunity. “There is no excuse to not study abroad,” Ferreiras says. “There are many summer programs if you can't study abroad during the academic year, and there are many scholarships out there if you think you can't afford it. Just keep on top of the school and visa paperwork, in order to avoid last minute inconveniences.”
Ferreiras at the film set statues on Avenue of Stars Promenade. The Hong Kong skyline is in the background.