Serendipity on the Road
During visits to Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia in early April this year with a delegation of CityU professors and colleagues from our Global Services Office, we signed student exchange agreements with local universities and, at the same time, looked for opportunities to recruit Eastern European students.
While in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, we strolled across the famous Charles Bridge. Spanning the Vltava River, the bridge was built in 1357. Most foreigners visiting Prague, whether tourists or business travellers, take time to walk leisurely across the bridge. The beautiful scenery, colourful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, Renaissance castles and other buildings on both sides of the river, as well as the statues on the bridge make this ancient causeway a perfect place to relax.
A colleague suggested taking a group photo. Just as we were wondering who to ask for help, we saw a young Chinese tourist walking by. She was delighted to assist. After taking the picture, she told us that she was a CityU alumna! After chatting with her, we learned that she was a 2012 graduate from CityU's College of Business, majoring in finance and law.
I have had quite a few similar unexpected encounters overseas, and with increasing frequency, sometimes at airports, sometimes on the campuses I am visiting, and sometimes just on the road. The people I meet are CityU alumni or exchange students from overseas or other parts of China who have been to CityU. Although these are unexpected encounters, there is an inevitability in such coincidences from a probability point of view.
At CityU, we have set a goal in our University's 2016/19 academic development plan, hoping that by 2019, 60% of CityU's undergraduates will have had the opportunity to participate in an overseas or an over-the-border study programme, including international exchanges, internships or joint-degree programmes.
The April visit to these three Eastern European countries was meant to cultivate such opportunities. After negotiations, we have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration with Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary. We will also arrange student exchanges and summer exchange activities with Charles University in Czech Republic and academic exchanges with the University of Belgrade in Serbia. With the increase in the number of exchange students, either inbound or outbound, it is going to become even more likely that we bump into "compatriots" when we travel in Eastern European countries.
28 August, 2017