Study in Hong Kong … and gain valuable experience! – University of Copenhagen

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20 January 2014

Study in Hong Kong … and gain valuable experience!

Experiences of Jacob Funch

Many students from Communication and IT choose to spend part of their studies abroad. According to Jacob Funch, who was one of them, that is a really good idea. Jacob spent a total of one year in Hong Kong and gained valuable experience while studying and working.

Jacob Funch, a master's programme student from Communication and IT, could not get enough of Hong Kong. After first spending a semester at the University of Hong Kong, he returned to the city once more in order to work as an intern for a local branding and marketing agency called Stepworks.

Jacob strongly recommends going abroad to all students but finds international experience especially relevant for Communication and IT students. The most valuable experiences, he adds, were not gained in the classroom but through interactions and collaboration with people of different backgrounds. Studying abroad helped me develop skills, like cross cultural understanding, a Danish classroom setting could never provide.

With the help of The International Office at UCPH, arranging the study visit went quite smoothly. Organizing the internship proved more difficult since only short summer internships are common in Hong Kong. Jacob did not give up, though. Instead, he travelled to Hong Kong for a month and went to no less than 15 job interviews. Finally, a few days before the date on his return ticket, he reached an agreement with Stepworks.

Jacob Funch

Jacob Funch

As an exchange student, Jacob had to get used to different ways of doing things: a more competitive environment, compulsory attendance, one-way communication at lectures, and grades based on active participation in tutorials. At the same time, Jacob experienced that his skills from Communication and IT came in very handy. He could draw on his experiences in taking a holistic approach and in analysing processes.

At the University, Jacob, on the one hand, felt that his Danish background allowed him to think more freely and be more reflective than his fellow Chinese students. As an intern, on the other hand, he experienced that he was not as used to the very long working hours as his local colleagues.

During his internship, Jacob performed the functions of a User Experience Consultant, and it took some time to grow accustomed to a different working culture. Working within the field of Users Experience was also quite a challenge in a Chinese setting. Chinese Internet users, as well as the Chinese market in general, are very different from the familiar Scandinavian Internet culture. Luckily, Jacob not only experienced once more that he was able to put his skills to good use but also acquired new skills along the way.

All in all, Jacob sums up, I will definitely recommend going abroad: you will boost your CV, get an international network, and gain unique insights into the workings of a different market. Personally, I have not only gained specific experience in understanding the needs of IT users with totally different cultural backgrounds. I have also generally come to appreciate the value of being able to understand other cultures … If you just express a genuine interest in the local culture during your stay, it will get you far.