Welcome incoming freshmen and transfer students!

Bears Abroad Malvin

Malvin Ma

Major: Rhetoric

"Studying abroad in Hong Kong was a unique experience that has enriched my academic, social and cultural knowledge, and perspective. It has fulfilled my passion for being more connected with my heritage and strengthened my ability to communicate in Cantonese."

 

 

What led you to study abroad? Why did you choose your country/program?

My life-long dream has always been to live in Hong Kong. My dad and grandparents are by origin from there and had immigrated to America with the hopes of finding better opportunities. I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and was primarily raised by my grandparents. I was forced to learn Cantonese as a child to be able to communicate with my grandparents and other family and relatives. Hong Kong has always held a special place in my heart. I wanted to study there because I want to learn about the country that my family grew up and immigrated from and improve on my Cantonese. I also want to be more grounded and connected with my heritage.

What was the most interesting cultural experience you had abroad?

The growing tensions between Hong Kong and Mainland, China. These two countries have historically been fighting. Tensions between people from Hong Kong and mainland China have developed since the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom of Hong Kong over to China in 1997. Hong Kong wants to remain separate from the mainland regarding political system, culture, and language. Most local Hong Kong people identify themselves as “Hong Kongers,” and differentiate themselves from the Chinese Mainlanders.

What was the biggest challenge/concern of your study abroad experience? How did you respond?

Living in a hot and humid climate and adjusting myself to live in a double-dorm style room while sleeping on a twin size mattress. I responded by coming in with an open-mind, which in turn worked out fine.

Describe a typical day for you abroad.

Class all day on Mondays from 10am – 5pm (plus took an online course). Worked from Tuesday – Friday from 9am-6pm (not including a one-hour commute each way). On the weekends a ventured out to various neighborhoods to eat street food and even went to Seoul, South Korea for a weekend.

What coursework did you take while abroad? How did courses abroad compare with Berkeley classes?

I took a Hong Kong Society class taught at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), and an online course taught by a professor at Berkeley. Classes taught abroad were not as rigorous as the ones taught at Berkeley.

What was the most memorable/meaningful aspect of your time abroad?

Improving my Cantonese, feeling more grounded with my roots, and making friendships and connections with people that I met in Hong Kong

What impact did studying abroad have on you personally?

Studying abroad in Hong Kong was a unique experience that has enriched my academic, social and cultural knowledge, and perspective. It has fulfilled my passion for being more connected with my heritage and strengthened my ability to communicate in Cantonese.



 

What would you recommend to students considering studying abroad, especially to your country or program?

The program has enabled me to 1) gain a better knowledge of the social, political, cultural and business environment of Hong Kong in general, as well as their relationship with Mainland, China. 2) challenged me to use my experience to explore cultural differences, modes of conduct and values critically, and to increase my self-awareness regarding the challenges of being a global citizen in the twenty-first century. 3) have work experience in a foreign county on my resume