What can you say about Macao Polytechnic? Nothing can prepare you for the experience of studying in another country and this experience was one that cannot and will not be forgotten.
I arrived in Hong Kong at 17:35 and got a Ferry from Hong Kong to Macao, getting in to Macao at 23:00. Upon my arrival, I was met by a member of the MPI staff and a student of English, Keven. The bright lights of Macao dazzled me upon my arrival, but what I truly needed was sleep. I had flown for 12 hours to a country that was 8 hours ahead. I could see myself needing to adjust quickly.
The first two weeks that I had free before actually starting my studies were very hard. I did have Keven and an overseas American student, Monique, to help me adjust to this new way of life and, homesickness aside, I really began to enjoy myself. I had a Chinese bank account, Chinese visa and Chinese friends. It was also a great advantage being 10 minutes drive from the mainland border city of Zhuhai where I went frequently for great, cheap, plentiful shopping opportunities; everything from clothes to Ipods. As well as being only a sixty minute ferry ride from Hong Kong, which is definitely the place to be during Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).
Nothing can prepare you for your first week of lessons though. Being the only Westerner in class was quite a shock, and not just for me. The lessons are taught in English and the teaching quality is fantastic. You will learn a lot and enjoy it whilst doing so. The benefit I had in being a native English speaker really benefitted everyone else in the class. Loads of friendly students flocked to work with me, as both an opportunity to improve their English and also to further develop their international business acumen.
The grade boundaries at MPI were a lot higher, but regardless of this the superior teaching quality proved greatly beneficial to me with my highest grade being 88% for Marketing Strategy in China (A+) and the lowest being 68% for Human Resources Management (C). The grades don't contribute to your overall classification, but for reference purposes, they look incredibly impressive.
My first time in Macao (and hopefully not my last) has shown me how friendly the Chinese are. There may be a cultural, attitudinal divide between the East and the West, but the people are lovely and the students are friendly (and due to globalization - have a lot in common with us in the West; Music, tv programmes, football, computer games, even gambling).
I cannot find anything bad to say about my experience in Macao. I made some great friends with whom I hope to do business one day and (despite the majority of them being Manchester United fans!) I wouldn't change anything about them.
Lovely people, great shopping, fantastic food, and weather we can only dream of here in the UK. It is an experience I can recommend to anyone brave enough to travel 6000 miles away from home. You will come out of it a completely different person: more mature, culturally aware and mentally stronger. If you can 'survive' abroad for 5 months, you can do anything and from the bottom of their hearts the MPI students and staff will do everything they can to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
When it is time to come home, you won't want to leave - but fear not, the vast majority of MPI students are on Facebook and I am still keeping contact with them, right to this very day.
I miss them all and I can't wait till this summer to see them and catch up. :-D