Find out what life is really like at Durham University

Study abroadUndergraduate

My year at the University of Hong Kong



Me playing a Chinese card game with friends

I’m Max, a final year mechanical engineering student who just spent a year at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). During that time, I visited 11 countries, learnt the basics of Cantonese (no easy feat), and made friends from around the world. I took fascinating engineering courses taught in a world-leading environment, got fully involved in university life by becoming an HKU student ambassador (daunting at first, since I knew almost nothing about the university), and seized every opportunity to try something new that I wouldn’t be able to do at Durham. If you have the chance to study abroad next year, why not take it!

Why did you apply to study abroad?


Earthquake reconstruction project in Sichuan

As soon as I found out that the scheme was offered within the engineering department, I seized the opportunity. For me it was a no-brainer. I wanted to travel and live somewhere I’d never been before, experience a new culture, and meet people I wouldn’t usually interact with on a daily basis. Engineering is also an increasingly global profession, and studying abroad was also a means of exposing myself to a new working and learning environment.

 What was the best thing about your year abroad?

Going abroad when you’re a student is the best time to discover a new country or continent. You have time to really get to know your new environment, and forge experiences you would never be able to get in Durham along the way. The best thing about my year abroad was the people I met, and the experiences I gained through travelling. I would definitely recommend making the most of your time abroad to travel around neighbouring countries while you have the chance.


teaching Chinese secondary school students


What piece of advice would you give to potential applicants?

Apply. Then go. At Durham, you have the opportunity to study abroad in some of the world’s best universities. You’ll meet inspiring people from around the world, and discover a new part of the globe. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process. Take the application process seriously, and think about what you could gain from spending a year abroad. What are you waiting for?



Gardens by the bay in Singapore


Max Berthet

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