Karry Wong (21 years old) from Hong Kong is now studying in the first semester of his Master in Mathematics at the Technical University of Munich.
“The world is big and there’s plenty to explore.” Karry Wong said. The 21-year-old student from Hong Kong therefore did not only want to study mathematics in China, he had been to Spain and France during his academic training. He is now spending his first semester of a Master program in Mathematics at the Technical University of Munich.
Karry Wong can speak several languages and he has stayed abroad in several countries. Before university, he attended high school in Würzburg in Germany. Since then, Karry was attracted by the German culture and decided to spend one semester at the Technical University of Munich. After he finished his bachelor studies in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, he chose Munich for his Master program. “I have three choices before me for universities in Germany, including the Technical University of Munich, which is one of the best universities according to the Shanghai rankings. “Pursuing further studies in a top university in Europe is a very desirable alternative to many Chinese, being one of the sought-after paths following a Bachelor degree. “A Master degree from Germany will burnish my resume.” Karry said, “studying abroad allows me to adapt to foreign cultures and be open-minded.”
Differences in Cultures
According to Karry Wong, there are huge differences between studying in Hong Kong and in Munich. These present challenges to be overcome.
“The university students in Hong Kong are paying roughly 2000 Euro per Semester for tuition fee. For this reason, the students are closely supervised by instructors and the professors will spend a lot of time with them. However it is a different world in Munich; students here are required to develop self-learning capability. When you don’t understand thoroughly in lectures, you have to find answers yourself.” Karry begins to get accustomed to the university life now. When he was in Munich two years ago during the exchange semester, he flunked most of his examinations. But now it is no longer the case after he overcame these challenges. “I am happy to personally show that it is possible for Asian students to achieve good academic performance in a German university.” He said.
Friendships that last
It is not always easy for the 21-year-old to make friends with the German students. He has also faced discriminations and had a bad experience. “There are people with prejudices against Asians.” He said. Nevertheless, a German idiom inspired him, “mit Geduld fängt man eine Mücke.” (Literal meaning: you’ll catch a fly with patience.) It means that you can reach your goal by working patiently.
“Many German students give the newcomers a wide berth at first. But as time goes by, the gap dwindles bit by bit.”, he spoke from his own experience. “When I get to know new friends in Germany, they are friends who truly appreciate our friendship. These are the friendship which lasted for a long time, or even a lifetime.”
Whether it is for the German to gain an insight into the Chinese culture or for Karry to improve his German language skills, when comes to cultural difference, you can always learn a lot from others and see the beauty of diversity.
Unlike any university in Hong Kong, there are relatively fewer foreign students in his field of study in Munich, probably because the lectures are held in German. “I make the first move every time. I cannot expect that people will approach me first and cannot assume people in Germany are as open and passionate as people in Spain.” He said. If you are not socially active, it is almost impossible to make friends in Germany. “In order to break the ice, I invite my classmates to dinner at my home in the beginning of the semester.” He also teaches German children Chinese in his free time.
Wong wants to first stay in Germany after his Master program. But he has already started planning for another trip studying abroad. This time he said, “an exchange semester in Israel will be interesting!”