Produced by Guest blogger
This is a guest blog by current student Amanda Chu.
I saw the opportunity to study abroad and I loved the idea of doing a semester somewhere else rather than in Bournemouth. However, I was very nervous before I made the final decision to go abroad. This is because I had always lived and studied within Bournemouth. Consequently, this was the first major move for me unlike many students who had moved out from home to university.
I decided to choose the Institute for Tourism Studies in Macau, because I know they are based in the heart of China. Therefore, many events would take place in this key area and I believe this opportunity given would be fulfilling and memorable during my student years. They’re well known for carrying out major events such as the Macau Grand Prix, which occurs during November every year. Everyone gets involved from locals to the international press and tourists. Macau completes major road maintenance as well as road closures for this event to be accomplished. Furthermore, they are known for being the second “Las Vegas” with many casinos in hotels suggesting many events taking place for the tourist industry. Therefore, I believe starting my studies here and understanding the environment would be helpful for my future employment.
Arriving in Macau
The hostel trainees and staff were very welcoming when I arrived and gave all the information I needed. This settled my nerves as I was worrying about many unnecessary events that could happen, since this was the first time travelling to Asia by myself. Nevertheless, meeting other exchange students really helped as we were all going through challenges and worries together, and understood the difficulties that we may encounter. Within a couple of days as a group we went site seeing around Macau, it was a great opportunity to learn about other cultural backgrounds while making lifelong friends.
Life at IFT
It honestly felt as though I was starting all over again and back on the first day of being in year one of university. The first few weeks for me was difficult. Firstly, I was oblivious of where to go when wondering around the campus hunting my way to the classrooms. The area was unfamiliar to me, and it took time to adjust to the environment and people. As well, the teaching and learning style was different from what I had been used to back at home. However, I quickly adjusted and became extremely comfortable in my new surroundings.
Overall, I found the lectures intriguing as they were so passionate upon their topic area, I learnt something new every lesson and used realistic examples when explaining theories. The event management teacher always suggested the latest events happening around Asia, and although the class begun at 8:30AM I would still happily attend.
During the first weekend of November IFT offered tickets to attend motor, yacht and aviation exhibitions in Macau. I chose to attend the aviation exhibition, because I have never experienced such an event.
One of the most memorable events I went to is the Formula Three Grand Prix, because I had previously done in-depth research about this event. Therefore, it was a fulfilling experience attending the event and I then got to understand everyone’s excitement. I felt watching the racers compete against each other was intense, yet exciting and my adrenaline was always going throughout. The crowd created an atmosphere that made the overall experience even better, as all eyes were focused upon the race within the environment.
I enjoyed this exchange semester and did not even want to leave towards the end. I met such an incredible group of Macanese students and other exchange students, they taught me a lot from their cultural backgrounds to their traditions at home. Although I was faced with many difficulties during my exchange, these five months I had learnt so much. I particularly learnt how to deal with the issues ahead instead of panicking constantly. I believe this exchange has changed me as a person and the way I handle situations. If I ever have another opportunity to do another exchange, I will definitely be up for it. As there is so much to explore in a country and it has helped for my personal development in life. If you are reading this blog and thinking about a semester abroad, just go for it!