CAS '19 Yuan Zou

SA: Chinese University of Hong Kong

Program Abroad:

  • Semester Abroad (SA): Chinese University of Hong Kong

Ask me about...

  • Learning a new language (Cantonese)

My Experience Abroad:

The experience in Hong Kong gives me an opportunity to understand my area of study better. My major at Penn is PPE and my concentration is on globalization. Studying globalization requires not just knowledge but also an open mind to appreciate different cultures and traditions. Being in Hong Kong, a crossroad of cultures and traditions definitely helps me to witness the process of globalization taking place. I also learned a new language (Cantonese) and came across people from all walks of lives who happened to live in Hong Kong. Getting to know people's specific concerns and struggles helped me visualize what good and bad globalization had done to people that my textbooks had not mentioned.

I learned to speak Mandarin, which was the de-facto official language in China when I was growing up. In fact, in China people speak many different dialects across regions, and such language diversity continues to exist in contemporary China. Cantonese is one of the more well-known Chinese dialects and widely spoken in Hong Kong. So while I was in Hong Kong, I took a class in Cantonese and started from scratch to learn this language. The experience was rewarding. Learning Cantonese reminded me much about my own local dialect and Mandarin, and helped me connect to a rich subset of Chinese culture. Moreover, knowing Cantonese allows to communicate with local Hong Kong people and understand their thoughts better.

Other Highlights:

  • Food is tremendously good in Hong Kong; it is fresh, cheap and diverse

  • Meeting exchange students from other countries really opens your eyes about the world

  • Public transportation surprisingly runs really smoothly and efficiently in Hong Kong

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