During my placement at HKU, I was an assistant to two PhD students in the Civil Engineering department. On the first day, I was given an induction on the topic and I was introduced to other PhD students. The researcher provided assistance whenever I needed. My role was to help the researcher with preparations for next tests. I also attended monthly meetings where all PhD students under the same supervisor gave short presentations on their achievements during the past month. These meetings gave me the chance to also learn about other topics and familiarise myself with the possible research fields.
The working hours were flexible and the atmosphere was very relaxed. A researcher also helped me to become familiar with campus and the transportation system in Hong Kong. He even showed me the major supermarkets and restaurants near my accommodation, which was very helpful. Towards end of my placement I used my free time to wonder around Hong Kong and visit touristic places. Having a classmate from Hong Kong was an advantage for me as he took me to famous restaurants to try new foods as well. During weekends, I travelled to other small islands and villages around Hong Kong.
All in all, it was a very enlightening experience to live and work in a completely different university and city. There are so many fancy malls and boutiques that you cannot even find in London. I gained a great insight into lifestyle, culture and values in Hong Kong by communicating with locals. This trip helped me boost my confidence and become even more independent. I am very pleased that this unique chance was given to me as I am now seriously considering doing a PhD. I am sure the experience and the knowledge that I gained during this trip will help me throughout different stages in future.