Meet Ulises Gutierrez

Program and Location:

Fall, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Hung Hom, Hong Kong

Major/Minor:

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because traveling/living abroad is one of the most enriching experiences you can have in college and life in general. In a short amount of time you learn more about yourself which helps you develop, and you broaden your cultural experiences so that you can go about the world with a better understanding of diverse peoples around the world.

What did you learn about yourself?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is something I learned about myself, but it is something I began practicing while abroad and have kept up with because of how much it has helped me. I began to maintain a journal when I was in Hong Kong. It’s something people often do while traveling, and I did the same thing. During that semester I realized how much of a positive impact it was doing to my mental health that I decided to keep going when I got back. Keeping up with a journal is a way to keep a line of communication between my past self, current self, and future self. I learned that by doing this I could better keep track of my goals in life, and it was easier to reflect on what things are going well and what isn’t. It may have been years before I discovered this if I hadn’t gone abroad.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

The favorite thing about my program was how many students from around the globe participated in it. There were quite a few American students, but the vast majority of the program consisted of student from Europe, Asia, Australia, and even Latin America. We all got to experience the same thing in Hong Kong but everyone came from different backgrounds so they had a slightly different perspective. These differences let us not only learn about our host country but also the countries that everyone else was from.

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

I would advise that they try their best to continuously go past their comfort zone. Living abroad is already a huge step in this direction for most people, but in order to learn the most and grow the most as people we need to be constantly challenging ourselves. Living abroad is an amazing catalyst for this so take advantage of it.

Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?

I was mildly surprised by how easy it was to communicate with people in English despite traveling to very rural areas of some countries. I knew going in based on past experience and what I had been told that it was no problem in Hong Kong, but it was so easy no matter where I went. I traveled to Vietnam during my semester abroad and stayed in a rural village for a few days. Even there it was simple and uncomplicated to communicate with others.

Would you do it again?

Yes, I would absolutely do it again.