MDes Talks: Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

After being a representative at the annual PolyU Postgraduate Programmes Info Day early January and wrapping up the first semester of the MDes (Urban Environments Design), it comes to a time to reflect and to balance everything that happened. This post is also a sequel of « From Orientation Week: The Mindset for Learning ». Hopefully, it will be useful to other prospective students or even to people who are curious about life, study, or career in Hong Kong.

A Project I Enjoyed the Most (So Far)

The experience so far has been real and fresh. PolyU has been organised and operated professionally, and PolyU students are known for being able to act and help shape the future. It is a place for creative minds and innovation.

We have been taught by experienced professors (I have been surprised at the mix of backgrounds and expertise we get access to every time I check their profiles). We have been working with classmates from varied backgrounds. In addition to that and the personal effort, there is the freedom to try and test new project ideas. Which brings the possibility to grow immensely, professionally and humanly.

Our first challenge was to build a floating village for a certain group of people, with a specific purpose. The initial brief may sound vague, but our classmates saw the opportunity to produce very diverse projects: each group had a different interest and then a difference result came. There was a group interested in having their designed space occupied by homeless people; another group wanted to do a camping site for families to go during weekends or holidays; one group envisioned a space for events in the middle of the sea, among others.


Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

My team opted for a project that could be built very fast, in a simple way, with local labour using local recycled materials - bamboo, containers and plastic gallons. The idea was to keep it real and possible to make and build. It could become an autonomous village on the water, giving the possibility of populating the sea.

Personally, it was the project I liked and enjoyed the most since I entered College and started studying the dynamics and relationships between people and spaces, also resumed and known as Architecture and Urban Planning.

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

New Perspectives in Understanding How Things Work

Besides the core subjects, there are the electives. These subjects allow students to be expose to other related areas in addition to their own domain: economics, management, technological development, marketing - according to their personal interest. I find the mix of knowledge very useful. Being able to understand the subject matter in various dimensions through different perspectives, deepen my knowledge of how things work and can be executed.

Realization: Possibilities are Infinite

More than an academic life and a space for discussions and debate of ideas, the University offers lectures from many other subjects, as well as health support, sport teams and leisure programmes for students to join. The possibilities and combinations are infinite, it all depends on personal interests and will to go and participate.

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Thinking even further, studying at PolyU and more specific in Hong Kong, is about having the opportunity to explore spaces from crowded areas to almost countryside, different kinds of food and meeting people from all over the world in a unique location where not even the sea and the sky are the limit.

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester
Could Not Be Better: What I Have Found in the First Semester

As time goes by, I start noticing that everything is about taking chances, especially when being an international student that decided to leave many things behind, and jumped in new opportunities.

It is like making a collection of stamps or anything else. One can start from the scratch and soon - there it is - a beautiful result that will grow with each decision taken, each person met, each memory cherished.

A Life Strategy

There is no single formula to get the result you want- cliché but true.

Each of us started studying at PolyU for a specific reason, but in the end, most of us came to try to find ourselves. It is not easy to find if you are in the right way or not, but somehow, right direction is key and as long as we follow our passion.

As experienced people used to say, bad times always come. You can feel difficulties in adapting to the new lifestyle, the seasons (see « On Feeling the Seasons » ), homesick, challenged in finding friends... No pain no gain: everything makes part of the experience. Just keep fighting.

Put differently, the study abroad experience is about "unfolding" oneself, trying to contour and adapt to the situations. As Darwin said, "it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”

Are you able/ready to give yourself a chance to experience all of this?

Photo Credit: Sylvia Yeung

Posted by Sylvia Yeung - Living the 20's years old issues and doubts. Born in Brazil, with the heart in Hong Kong. Graduated in Architecture and Urban Planning at Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Sao Paulo. Living and exploring the concrete jungle and mix of emotions contained in the city where the journey of the ancestors began. A current Master's student in Urban Environments Design (MDes).
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MDes Talks is a series of Student Blogs contributed by students in different specialisms under the Master of Design Scheme. It is set out to share students’ first-hand experience in the d-school pedagogy, their projects, takeaways, and student life in general.
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