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HK wins visiting students' hearts

Classified Post caught up with three overseas undergraduates taking part in this year's CICC to get their take on Hong Kong and its business culture.

Elisha Allen, from the University Of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, is studying transportation, logistics management and marketing.

Sophie Florian, an international business student from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, has been based in Hong Kong for the last two and a half months as an exchange student at HKUST.

Ethan Feldman is studying business administration at Western University's Richard Ivey School of Business in Ontario, Canada.

What were your first impressions of Hong Kong?

Allen: It's very clean and the density of people and apartment buildings here is really incredible. I imagined Hong Kong would be a lot more chaotic but it's so advanced and the lush greenery along the roads going out to the university is amazing.

Florian: I imagined Hong Kong would be a lot more Western, so when I went to the Ladies' Market, I was overwhelmed at how Chinese it was.

There are also so many outdoor things you can do. We've been on hikes, we've been kayaking, we've taken boat tours. You have a city built on islands right next to the water and with mountains. It's fantastic and something you can't find anywhere else.

Feldman: The infrastructure is amazing. The subway, for example, is astounding compared to what we have in Toronto. Everything seems much more efficient.

Even though there is a lot of Asian culture here, there is still a lot of what I see at home in terms of music, bars and restaurants. It seems that everything is in hyperdrive here, but I still see a lot of familiar things, at least among the youth.

How does the business and student culture here differ from your home country?

Allen: When we were doing our research, we noticed that Hong Kong companies are very open about their approach and we can find out a lot more about them than we can with Canadian or American companies.

Florian: In Hong Kong, there is a lot more of an academic hierarchy, for example in the way professors are regarded and talked to. Students here don't ask questions in class and that struck me as very different because in my university, we have a very open approach.

Feldman: Ivey is a case-based school. Everything we learn is through analysing real-life situations. It seems business schools here, including HKUST, learn more out of textbooks. While they may have more hard technical knowledge, it seems that it's difficult to apply.

Could you imagine living and working here?

Allen: Absolutely - and I never expected that to be the case. Hong Kong is surprisingly a lot like Vancouver, with the green and the ocean and a culture that is very outgoing. I really, really love the people and I could definitely imagine coming here, maybe even long term.

Florian: I really like the culture here and it's so open. Hong Kong's a very safe place, which is really good when you are a single woman.

Feldman: I see myself living in a major metropolis in the future and it seems like Hong Kong has the culture, nightlife, restaurants and mix of cultures that I could really enjoy.