Final Reflections

Now that I’ve been home for a while, I wanted to share some comments on my experience and reflections on what I have learned. First seeing my family and friends again was wonderful! We all picked up right where we left off. I definitely appreciate the time I have with them a lot more now having been away for so long. I also appreciate home a lot more, not only because it had been such a long time, but also because at Lingnan I was lucky enough to meet some of the students who traveled to CMU for exchange in previous semesters, and who had visited other cities in Michigan including my home town of Midland. Hearing about my university and my home town from someone who chose to go there on exchange definitely changed my perspective! I love Midland and Mount Pleasant, but I had always thought of them as a little bit boring compared to places like Hong Kong. But now I can see the value and uniqueness of where I live a lot more than I did before. I always thought that I would move somewhere bigger and more exciting, but the experiences I had in Hong Kong have made me reconsider that. It was an incredible place to visit and I am so glad that I went, but it made me appreciate what I left and realize that while I will always love traveling, I will never want to permanently be so far from my family and my home.

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it has definitely changed me for the better! I will never forget the experiences I had in Hong Kong or the friends that I made. I feel so much more confident now having successfully traveled to another country and lived there on my own. Encountering situations that were so new to me and finding ways to deal with them has helped me a lot when it comes to being assertive and taking initiative in unfamiliar settings. I also think that meeting local students and other exchange students from all over the world, with a wide variety of backgrounds and ideas, has made me more open and understanding of different perspectives. Overall, I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity, and would definitely recommend this program and studying abroad in general to students considering it.

Thanks for reading! <3

The Peak and Macau

I had a lot of extra time during Lingnan's two week finals period, and I used it to visit some of the most famous places in and around Hong Kong. First I went to Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong. My friend and I took a tram to the top and saw an amazing view of the city!

I also visited the island of Macau, just a 30 minute ferry ride from Hong Kong. Previously a Portuguese colony, Macau is another special administrative region of China (just like Hong Kong) and it is famous for its casinos and its unique cultural history. I got to see several beautiful historical sites while I was there, as well as look around in one of Macau's largest casinos, the Venetian. It was all really impressive and I would definitely recommend a visit to Macau for anyone traveling to Hong Kong in the future!

The lighthouse and chapel at Macau's Guia Fortress, built in the 1600s to protect the Portuguese from invaders

Largo do Senado (Senado Square) - this central site of Macau had lots of shops and beautiful buildings

Ruins of St. Paul's Church, built in the early 1600s

The Venetian

Part of the shopping center inside the Venetian (this was all indoors!)


Hong Kong is a mix of many different cultures and traditions, and that is definitely reflected in the local cuisine! I've had so much great food in Hong Kong and I wanted to share some pictures of my favorites. I had a lot of different kinds of noodles and tea, and got pretty good at using chopsticks! But my favorite was definitely the mango dessert and the food from the street vendors by Lingnan. Here's some of what I tried:

pork noodles and tofu

the seafood was great too!

mango seaweed roll with a mango sago drink

lemon tea and spicy noodles

mango and strawberry desserts

mango aloe drinks

I ate a baby octopus!!

tofu, mushrooms, and noodles

sweet tofu dessert

These kind of egg tart cakes are really popular, and they make a great breakfast!

Chinese tea

flower tea
Dim sum is a famous Cantonese dish made up of small dishes served in steamer baskets like this. These are shrimp dumplings and egg buns.

mango coconut jello cake

pork and soup with a special kind of preserved egg called "century egg"                         

This is a "hot pot." You get some boiling soup and raw ingredients and can cook and eat as you go. We made spicy tofu, fungus, mushrooms, fish, and pork.
hostel room picnic :)

Taiwan Part 2

The second half of my trip to Taiwan started with a long bus ride up the mountains to a village called Jionfen. It had to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and I really hope to go back there someday. It was a great place to appreciate Taiwan's hundreds of mountains and beautiful scenery.

While we were there, we were able to participate in Jionfen's popular tradition of releasing flying lanterns into the sky. We all wrote our wishes down and sent it off together.

We spent the last day exploring Taipei. Here are some more of my favorite pictures!

One of my favorite meals in Taipei was the beef noodle soup on the last night. Yum!

Taipei 101 at night

Motorcycles everywhere!

We drove though a colorful religious procession on the way to one of our destinations.
The last place we visited was a garden built at the mansion of an important family in Taipei