With summer just a few weeks away, a popular expression comes to my mind: “Travelling broadens your horizons.” That was what my teacher told me when I was in secondary school. However, having grown up in a working-class family, I couldn’t understand this concept. I never regarded travelling as an eye-opener when I was young, and had never thought about travelling around Europe for a couple of months like others in my class had.
But to my delight, joining the exchange programme at CityU proved to be an amazing experience. Travelling alone for the first time, I took a 13-hour flight to Romania, a country that was a mystery to me.
When I sat down in the lecture hall at my host university, the first thing I noticed was that there were no computers or display screens. And yet, while the facilities at the university may not have been as modern or hi-tech as those in Hong Kong, I could see that the Romanians’ attitude to learning was completely different, too. The students were unafraid to speak up and lots of questions were raised in one single lecture.
My impression of Romanians is that they are laid back, yet extremely thoughtful. There is no mindset of needing to compete or be the best in Romania. It’s a unique culture.
People prefer to take a more relaxed approach to life and work. Perhaps such an attitude frees up time to help others; whenever I stopped on the street and looked around, passers-by would come and see if I needed help. Life in the country does not seem to be about money, ambition or fame. The emphasis is on people and life.
Here are a handful of lovely facts about Romanians. They usually buy flowers on Sunday. They are obsessed with salty meat and sausages. Super-salty meat rolls called Mici can be found at parties and picnics.
Making friends, gaining independence and enjoying scenic views aren’t the only positives of an exchange trip. The biggest reward I gained from studying abroad is getting to see the world from different perspectives. It helped expand my range of interests, activities, and knowledge.
Finally, I’m able to agree with what my teacher said.