▲ The Triangle Project: students from Hong Kong Baptist University, Leipzig University, Germany and Ohio University
Sze Wing Kwok, Caroline, Year 3
It was a fruitful experience in Ohio University living and learning with local and Germen students. From sitting in classes, I observed the dynamic classroom environment that encourage questions and discussions between lecturers and students. Other than journalism classes, I also attended public relations classes. Although it was not related to my major, I picked up some useful tools that were introduced in the public relations as a market analysis tool such as Netlytic, a text and social networks analyzer that can be used to observe how an event in being discussed only. These classes and the public relations Capstone project also deepen my understanding of the differences in PR and journalism. The Capstone project was an eye-opening experience that allows me to work with people coming from different cultures with different thinking models. The creative ideas from American students and analytical mindset of the Germen students complemented each other in the project. I was exceptionally proud of the unique fast working pace and efficiency which I brought to the group.
▲ Group Presentation
Another highlight of the trip is living with student hosts. I observed that there were close bonds between roommates. They were willing to drive any other anywhere and spend time doing activities together. My host is a journalism student and also the reporter and editor for the university students’ newspaper, The Post. She told me that she was producing two stories a day when she worked for the newspaper. Although students contribute to The Young Reporter online platforms in and out over a month, I am amazed at the quantity of contribution that their reporters have to their newspaper. Now that she is an editor for the paper, she produces longer pieces over the course of a few weeks to a month which is quite similar to The Young Reporter magazine model.
I also envy journalism students there who had a chance to host a weekly live sport show broadcasting for the local television, the 30-minutes Gridiron Glory show. I was amazed at the fact that the show was reported, shot and hosted by freshmen and sophomores every Saturday. I was informed that full time advisors were hired specifically for the university newspaper and TV program to keep up the quality and consistency of the publication. It is an operational strategy worth considering and adopting. I reckon that maybe having only one campus newspaper is why they were able to concentrate their manpower to maintain the frequency and quality of their work. However, I think it is our characteristic that our School of Commination has different publications operated by students with different journalism majors.
All in all, this trip to Ohio was very rewarding academic wise, cultural wise and tourism wise.
▲ Students attend special lectures for the Triangle Project
Vivien, Yik Man Law, Year 2
Though the study tour lasted for only a week, my journey is so fruitful that I can experience the American college atmosphere and know more about the local culture. For example, the American football contest and marching band performance were exceptional. My amiable student host, Bianca, shared with me her campus life and made a vegetarian pasta specially for me! As a film student, the Triangle Project which involved students from Hong Kong, Germany and U.S. enriched my insight into different fields, such as advertising and marketing. By the end of the program, the live broadcast organized by students from the School of Journalism impressed me the most. I was amazed by how efficient and professional those Year 1 and Year 2 students were. They were offered sufficient practices to develop their expertise in broadcasting. To conclude, it was a rewarding journey and I look forward to joining other exchange programs in the future.
▲ Students sit in on classes of Ohio University
Kenus, Wong Ka Wai, Year 4
The exchange tour spent 5 days to work on a rebranding project with the students from Ohio University (the US) and University of Leipzig (Germany). It is a project aimed at designing new market position for the luxury sunglasses brand, Maui Jim. Through this project, I have a clearer understanding on how to design an attractive marketing plan, as well as to make a convincing oral presentation.
The way that we work was having huge distinction. The students from Germany and Hong Kong were always looking for consistency – using a systemic tool to draw out reliable and valid conclusions. But the students in the US were more irrational, they seldom gave ideas with strong reasonings to support. But it could bring more enjoyment and great creative to the project.
Throughout the journey, I’ve learnt a lot from the two cultures and surprisingly discovered that German behaves similarly with us. Their research method and what they had learnt from the university is very similar to Hong Kong. They share similar ideas on study with us at most of the time. While the US students were good at doing presentation and expressing themselves in a very skillful way. They could make a clear explanation even for those conceptual ideas, which was inspiring.
Moreover, we won the first runner up of the project with the big idea of “See the World”. The whole concept behind is to add value to the Hawaiian brand, Maui Jim – when you are spending so many to go on a vacation, don’t forget the enjoyment of your eyes. We targeted the high-end traveler and positioned Maui Jim as the luxury sunglasses brand that completes their travel experience. They could only see the best part of the world with Maui Jim. This specific positioning clarifies the uniqueness of the brand in a direct way and so to standout of the other 6 proposals
Other than the academic aspect, cultural exchange is another important experience that I would like to share. The best thing in the US, it’s the people. These people are so kind and friendly to everyone, here we were just like a big family. This is the warmth that I had never find at the college life in Hong Kong. Comparing to HK, it’s less materialistic and competitive, but much happier in Athens, the US. Maybe the environment is just way too competitive and stressful in HK. The class duration is 1.5 hours and they usually have only two classes per day in Ohio University and so the students can have a greater enjoyment of their college life.
▲ One night in New York
The weather in the US is nice – it is dry, windy and a bit chilly. If you don’t have driving license, it would be a big trouble. The transportation system is not as advanced as HK. But the food was bad here – everything was deep fried, which is bad for your health. These are some domestic issues that create the huge distinctions among the two cultures, HK and the US. And it also explains why the universities in the US is good at sport like basketball and rugby (they absorb a lot of fat and protein from meats and this makes their body size bigger than Asian in general).
This is an eye-opened experience that brings international insight and deeper understanding of communication studies to us. This is probably the reason why the teachers at schools are highly recommended the students to go on an exchange tour. It can definitely bring you fruitful experience and international insight. This is not something that students can learn by attending the classes in HK.