Student - June 5, 2014

‘The world doesn’t need to be any bigger than Hong Kong’

Who? Savanne Holster, MSc Biotechnology
What? Six months on an internship at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Where? Hong Kong

‘The Chinese University of Hong Kong is doing a project on dyslexia together with Wageningen University. I did an internship with the group that is studying the functionality of the gene which causes dyslexia. I had been working on this project during my Bachelor’s, so I was really pleased to get the chance to go to Hong Kong now.
I was relatively unprepared so culture shock hit me quite fast. The lab was much smaller, which makes you realize suddenly how luxurious everything is in Wageningen. And relations with my Chinese fellow students and my supervisor were very difficult at times. In you come as an exuberant, spontaneous Dutch person, and that is not appreciated there at all. As a student you are at the bottom of the ladder and are expected to be timid and do as you are told. They kept very different hours to what I was used to, as well. They arrived at about 10 in the morning but worked on until 10 or 11 in the evening. Luckily I got the hang of this after two months and then things went better.
Hong Kong is a really great city. It is extremely westernized, but you do see the Chinese traditions there too. Honestly, the world doesn’t need to be any bigger than Hong Kong.  From my house you could be at the beach in an hour, or in the mountains, where you can go hiking.  And an hour in the other direction takes you right into the city centre, where of course there is lots to do. At first you feel really energized by the bustle and the crowds of people, but after a while it gets exhausting.
A friend of mine was talking recently about how hectic life is here in

the Netherlands. Well, I keep thinking how lovely and peaceful it is here.