QFRM students are encouraged to study and experience life in overseas universities. Over 85% of our students had exchange
experiences and they participate in exchanges with universities around the world. Previous students’ exchange places include:
University of Pennsylvania
Joining an exchange programme was one of the best decisions of my life. During my semester at Wharton, I learnt a lot both academically and culturally. The courses there were very different from those at CUHK. Students complete multiple group case studies, weekly reading and individual projects in addition to quizzes and exams. The assessments usually don’t count for more than 30% of your overall mark, which means that you have to work hard on everything to secure a good grade.
I met some amazing people there. I learnt a lot from exchanging thoughts and experiences with the good friends I made.
University of Pennsylvania
I had a most memorable and rewarding exchange experience at the University of Pennsylvania. You wouldn’t want to miss a single class when you study here. The students are amazingly good at asking intelligent and relevant questions. The assignments can be challenging and out of the ordinary, but they push you right to the limit, where you need to tackle problems hands-on. When exposed to this different learning environment, I found myself reflecting on my study habits and even restoring my curiosity. I wouldn’t have had this chance to visit such a prestigious business school without the support from the QFRM programme, and I am so grateful.
Stony Brook University
I had an enjoyable semester at Stony Brook University. Located in Long Island, the eastern part of New York, Stony Brook is a peaceful place, in stark contrast to Hong Kong. I loved exploring New York. There was always something interesting to get involved with, from joining a boat-building contest at the university to riding a 50-year-old (but very exciting) roller coaster at Coney Island.
Stony Brook is a great place to study quantitative finance because of its affiliation with one of the best quantitative hedge funds, Renaissance Technologies. From close up, I got a better picture of how modern finance (or quantitative finance) develops. A study exchange is definitely worthwhile, to embrace a new culture, get rid of the stress and tension of Hong Kong life and to broaden your network with people from around the globe.
University of Toronto
My exchange to the University of Toronto (U of T) was a truly memorable experience. U of T puts the onus on students to learn independently through discussion and creativity, so instead of ‘lecturing’, the professors guide students to discuss different topics and invite them to present their ideas. Moreover, everyone I met at U of T was really kind and helpful, which made me feel at home.
I enjoyed exploring Toronto and other cities in Canada. Toronto is a vibrant city that abounds with artistic atmosphere. In addition to myriad museums and galleries, the annual arts festival sees thousands of visitors swarm to exhibitions all around the city. A highlight for me was my visit to Yellowknife in northern Canada, where I witnessed the spectacular aurora borealis ‘dancing’ in the sky.
Before I came to Brown in my sophomore year, I believed that everything about university was, and should be, career oriented. However, studying at Brown challenged that deep-rooted assumption of mine and offered me the opportunity to question my educational aspirations. There, I experienced a very different, student-led learning environment in which I was invited to take control of my own education and was motivated to engage in independent research and reading.
From stimulating class discussions to insightful conversations around the dinner table with friends, during office hours with professors and research symposia with the prominent academics, from hosting a student from Kansas to enjoying concerts and musicals or volunteering at events, I was constantly inspired by the people I met: students, scholars, professors, musicians and even artists.
My journey of self-exploration at Brown had its ups and downs, but I learnt to deal with my own vulnerabilities and to ask for help when needed. Studying at Brown has been one of the greatest, most life-changing experiences I have ever had! I feel privileged and grateful to have had the chance to study there and I strongly encourage every student to join an exchange programme to explore, learn and grow.
University of British Columbia
My exchange to the University of British Columbia was a very enjoyable and fruitful experience.
I took courses in a variety of fields, including finance, mathematics, statistics and programming. I found the teaching style there to be very different from that in Hong Kong; it is more interactive and involves more group work and case study analysis. The university offers a wide range of societies that organise many activities to provide students the opportunity to mix with local and international students.
The travel opportunities in and around Vancouver were a bonus to university life. The scenery of the Whistler ski resort is out of this world!
I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in the exchange programme to Tsinghua University, one of the top universities in Asia and the world. Based in Beijing, Tsinghua runs many general education courses related to Chinese culture. It is renowned for its science and engineering faculties and offers an array of first-rate finance courses, including actuarial science, intermediate financial theory and cases in corporate finance. To top off this all-around education, the university’s rich seminar and activities programme this semester featured notable guest speakers, including high-level international politicians and top academics. Tsinghua has a very welcoming atmosphere, especially at Schwarzman College, where students from different backgrounds can share opinions and brainstorm.
University of Toronto
Going for an exchange programme is a must during your undergraduate studies. I attended the student exchange programme at the St. George Campus, University of Toronto, where I took statistics, math and finance courses. The classes there were very engaging, as they encouraged lots of discussions and used many sophisticated learning platforms. In addition to the great study atmosphere, the natural sights were quite appealing in Toronto and in other parts in Canada. I went to Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Niagara Falls and the Algonquin and Banff national parks. The marvellous scenery of maple leaves and snow is something you will not forget.
University of Toronto
Under the QFRM programme, I have been very fortunate to have an exchange experience at the University of Toronto. Toronto is truly a beautiful and diverse city where you can meet a lot of people from all over the world. It is truly a good destination for exchange studies.
I enjoyed my stay in Toronto, both for studying and travelling. The University of Toronto is a very good school which provides an excellent academic environment and many interesting courses. I still remember the mock trading session in the finance lab for my fixed income class. In addition to studying, I had a great time exploring the city with some of my friends and visiting the beautiful city of Montreal. I truly recommend everyone to grab the chance and go on an exchange to explore new worlds during their four years of studies.
National University of Singapore
Hi, I am Jason, now a penultimate year major student in QFRM. I participated in an exchange study at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the second semester of my third year. It was a great experience. The NUS is very beautiful, the people there are nice and the students work very hard, even harder than at CUHK. On the exchange, I did not need to worry about my GPA as I did in CUHK, so I took courses that I was interested in, like Japanese Study and Philosophy, which was great fun. There were orientation activities organised just for exchange students, so it was quite easy to meet students from all over the world and make friends with them. We often went out to have fun, travelled around the nearby countries and talked about different cultures. All in all, going on exchange is like taking a break from the busy study life of CUHK. It is a chance to embrace different cultures, and to experience life in another university in a different country.
Wai Li Teng
Utrecht University, University College Utrecht
I believe everyone would agree that an exchange programme in Europe wouldn’t be complete without travelling and enjoying the laid-back lifestyle. However, now, when I recall my five-month stay in Europe, I am totally surprised at how vividly the academic experience affected me. Having studied in a liberal arts college, it gave me the privilege of taking subjects that I have never imagined myself learning. The content wasn’t the only specialty of a liberal arts college, but also how the lecturers stimulate students’ interests and contributions in class pinpoints the true value of such college. Hence, I wholeheartedly encourage outgoing exchange students to embrace different learning and ethnic cultures during your exchange sessions. Have a fruitful experience!
University of Cambridge
The exchange experience in Cambridge is marvellous. With the hope of exploring new possibilities, I took three challenging courses, each of which has either changed my stubborn view towards a specific field that I have already learned, or led me into a fascinating field that I have never noticed before. For instance, Foreign Policy Analysis is my favourite. Frankly speaking, it is quite relaxing to take summer courses in Cambridge, where we do not have to worry too much about grades. It is such a cosy environment, letting us think and discuss freely and spark new ideas. One professor stated, “What I need you to do in my class is not agree with me. Disagree with me. Challenge me.” Therefore, I took every class as a chance to challenge the lecturer even though I failed most of the time. But this is the process that inspired me to think and link different subjects like Game Theory, International Relations and Foreign Policy together. For the first time, I gained heightened interest in international affairs such as the Washington Consensus, the Beijing Consensus and the recent ‘Grexit’ affair. What makes me even more excited is that I am forming my own methodology to analyse what really happens under the surface.
Cambridge is such a magical place, full of inspiration and physical beauty. I like life there, where I can take a lecture at the Botanic Garden with a professor who can barely contain himself with excitement about the obscure rituals of the bumblebee, where I can have my floor mate come round for a beer and barbecue and I can listen to the latest stories of his travels, debate with the grey-bearded professor over ancient Roman history and enjoy a cup of steamed milk with chocolate sprinkles on the top with my favourite friends.
University of Toronto
It is really enjoyable and meaningful to go on an exchange to the University of Toronto.
I take finance and statistic courses here. The courses involve lots of projects and case studies, and they provide lots of opportunities to communicate with the professors and students . The professors here are both excellent and friendly, and I learn a lot when talking with them.
In addition to enjoying my studies here, I find that Canada is a great place for travelling, as I can explore an icy world that we could not enjoy in Hong Kong. The ice-covered hotel in Quebec, the frozen Niagara Falls near Toronto and dogsleds in the snow have been really amazing and unforgettable for me.
I am learning a lot and greatly enjoying myself during this exchange. If you plan to go on an exchange, I will definitely recommend the University of Toronto.
University of California, Los Angeles
Exchange life at UCLA was a fascinating cross-cultural experience. California is the motherland of adventure, which set the tone for my stay. In my three months there, I made real academic advances in subjects such as mathematics, economics and astronomy. Apart from that, my footpaths crossed the stunning city skyline and beautiful national parks. Moreover, the friendships I found with peers from diverse backgrounds opened up precious dialogues that have changed my life. I am grateful for having had such an opportunity in my study programme.
Vienna University of Economics and Business
I attended my exchange programme at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria from February to June in 2017, where I studied Strategic Management and Social Policy. Besides my study, I also travelled to other countries, many with very beautiful scenery. Many good and bad things happened during my exchange study, and I learned to be much more independent from other people, including my parents. I made so many new friends and experienced their lifestyles, which are quite different from mine. I enjoyed the wonderful moments in Vienna very much, and I found it a much more liveable city than Hong Kong.
The exchange experience at Queen’s University was really fruitful. I widened my social circle and also broadened my horizons. I lived with four very nice local students. Their lifestyle and ways of socialising were different from ours. They loved to organise parties and have gatherings of friends at their house. On Saint Patrick’s Day, I participated in the celebration by wearing green. To further immerse myself in their culture, I also went to see an ice hockey match, the most popular spectator sport in Canada. It was interesting to interact with Canadians, and to try and understand their ways of thinking and adopt their mind-set. I felt very different when I tried to do this.
University of California, Davis
During my exchange at UC Davis, I experienced a different style of learning and enjoyed travelling in California. One thing that surprised me was the enthusiasm for learning among the students at UC Davis. I used to have the impression that students in the West were more laid back in their studies, but that is not what I observed during my exchange. The students were well prepared for class, made detailed notes and participated very actively in their classes and study groups.
I made use of my free time in the US to travel around, and went to several fascinating country parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Although it took a long time to reach these attractions, the views there were so beautiful that it was well worth it.
Under the QFRM programme, I had the opportunity to take part in two exchange studies, one in the US and one in China. In Beijing, I studied finance and mathematics courses at Tsinghua University for one semester. My classmates, who were the top scholars (“狀元”) of their provinces, were extremely intelligent and hard working. They always analysed business issues critically. I was always motivated to study with them and I enjoyed our discussions very much. In addition to studying, I travelled around China and did voluntary work in rural areas to broaden my horizons. It was a great exchange experience and I wish I could have stayed longer!
University College Dublin
This exchange programme is definitely a far-reaching experience. I can still remember every single moment as if everything just happened yesterday. When I first came to the campus, I went to the residence straightaway. The most exciting part was that the residence was equipped with an open kitchen and a dining room shared by four exchange students. I met a German, an Australian and an Irish student. Not only did we share many experiences from our countries, but we also cooked our traditional dishes for each other. It was so fun!
To me, life at UCD was less stressful than life at CUHK. Although the classes were still competitive and the students were very eager to learn and succeed, they participated in a lot of student activities and sports as well. Everyone seemed to have a packed schedule. Travelling is always the best part of this exchange experience. I tried visiting several cities (e.g., London and Amsterdam), both on my own and with the people I met at UCD. Both experiences were awesome. What happened in these few months will forever stay in my mind.
Spending a whole year here in Keio University of Japan has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Keio University offers a wide variety of English courses for exchange students, which really help people like me who are not sufficiently proficient in Japanese to take the local students’ courses. I have been living in a dormitory and getting along with my roommates. I have also met a lot of people from Japan and all around the world, and have hung out with them during weekends and holidays. Definitely give it a try if you are a true lover of Japanese culture!
Leung Wai Nam
Studying as an exchange student at Sciences Po for one semester was a truly valuable experience for me. With nearly half of the students being international, Sciences Po provided me with the opportunity to communicate with people from all around the world and learn more about different cultures. I mainly studied International Relations courses at this world-famous political sciences institution, which has nurtured seven of the last eight French presidents. There were many discussions and interactions in class, and I benefited a lot from them. Studying in Europe meant that it was not difficult to travel around. During the exchange period, I stepped on the soil of more than 20 countries and saw many things that I have never seen in Hong Kong. It was a great experience, and I just wish I could have stayed longer.
The University of Texas at Austin
Going on exchange is not just studying overseas; it was life changing for me. Over the five months I spent in the US, I would say I changed my mindset towards learning and my attitude of exploring the world. I was so glad to have applied for an overseas exchange programme at the University of Texas at Austin. It gave me a great chance to meet foreign friends. People I met there were extremely helpful to international students, and I could tell they were trying their best to offer advice to help us adapt ourselves to a new environment. Travelling for a half month in Mexico and Guatemala made me grow a lot as well. To be honest, the trip was not easy for me as it was sometimes hard to find someone who spoke English in the smaller cities. Yet being the most adventurous part of my exchange study, it enabled me to truly immerse myself into a culture that was not easily accessible when I am living in a big city like Hong Kong. I will definitely encourage others to grab the chance, go on an exchange and explore something different in your life.
Tak Yiu Cheung
I went on exchange at Georgetown University during Term 2 of my second year of study.
Apart from taking math courses that were related to my major, I also decided to take a course in their world-famous department of political science. I found the course both eye opening and challenging, and in the process of reading course materials and doing research for a 20-page essay, I learnt a lot about the history of various countries and how it came to shape their current political systems.
Although I was previously aware that sports are huge in America, I was still surprised by how it permeated every level of their culture, from the popularity of sports bars to the occasional sports reference in everyday conversations. I realise that whilst you can read about other cultures, there is still no better way to truly understand them than to experience them for yourself.
University of California, Irvine
I am very glad that I was able to spend my second year at the University of California in Irvine: I had tons of chances to explore new things, and to experience new knowledge, new people and a new life! With a solid foundation from the CUHK, I was able to further my studies in mathematics, statistics and finance through advanced courses. However, studying abroad is more than just learning. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be a team member of a Student Managed Investment Fund, an association that manages real money for an institution. I learned a lot of practical skills in investment and wealth management through working in the team. I will never forget how I worked through the night with my teammates every week!
University of California, Berkeley
I stayed at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) for one year after joining the CUHK exchange programme. UCB provides a variety of exposures so that everyone can find his own place there. In addition to taking a graduate-level financial engineering course, I worked as a research assistant for an economics professor and gained more insight into academic research. Berkeley organised various social events for exchange students and gave me the initiative to build relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Copenhagen Business School
An exchange programme is much more than just studying in a different school. These four months in Denmark changed my life completely. Living away from home and having to overcome obstacles all by myself, I became much more mature than before.
In Denmark you will never be stressed, because life in Denmark is all about being “hygge,” which means “cozy” in English. Unlike Hong Kong, you will never find people working at night. Instead, the Danes will just take their time and have fun with their families and friends. I am really glad to have had a chance to live in the happiest country on Earth.
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
I am so lucky to have gotten the chance to be an exchange student at the Wharton School in my junior year. The Wharton School is literally the most international environment I have ever been in. The Wharton exchange programme invites about 200 students from 19 different countries and regions all around the world every year. I shared a room with two amazing girls from Dubai and Belgium, and we had a great time together. It’s so exciting to get along with people from all around the world. In addition to the international environment, Wharton also offers various interesting courses. There are more discussions and interactions in class. I definitely recommend courses with group projects or discussions where you can meet other intelligent students in class. The Wharton School is a great place for everyone to reach out to the unfamiliar and finally find the truth about the world and ourselves.
The University of Sydney
Last year, I exchanged at the University of Sydney for five months. That was an unforgettable experience. During my exchange, without too much concern for my academic results, I took a lot of advanced and interesting finance courses and benefited a lot from it. Also, because my student hostel held a party every week, I made a lot of local friends at those parties, and we are still keeping in contact. Furthermore, Sydney is an international city, and only 40% of the people were actually born there. By just simply talking with people on the street, I have heard a lot of interesting stories. During the school vacation, I also travelled to New Zealand. I recommend everyone to go for an exchange, and Australia is definitely a good country for your consideration.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
I am Jessie, a year three QFRM student. I am very happy to share my exchange experience with you, and hope it will be useful during your studies at CUHK.
I applied for a one-semester overseas exchange study in year one, and began my exchange life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last semester. My four months in the US were awesome, and an unforgettable and precious memory for me. I enrolled in five courses presidents. There were many discussions and interactions
there, all of which can be transferred back to CUHK. Besides academia, we enjoyed our time with local students – went to parties, travelled to many cities and often drove to the beach. Believe me, these exchange experiences will change your outlook on university study and different cultures, and may even lead you to rethink your plans for the future.
So, if you have the chance, you should definitely apply for
exchange study, and make your university life fuller and