How four months abroad changed my life

It is hard for me to believe that August will mark the one year anniversary of the beginning of my study abroad adventure in Fall 2018. It might have only been four months, but thanks to the opportunity to study abroad at Richmond, The American International University in London, these four months presented numerous opportunities to learn more about myself, some of which have continued to affect me even after I returned to Hawaii Pacific University and my home in Hong Kong.

I applied through AIFS to study in London at the Kensington campus of Richmond. The primary reason I chose London? Simply, it had been a lifelong ambition of mine to visit the United Kingdom once in my life. Until last Fall, I had never personally set foot in the UK or any European country. Combined with multiple scholarship incentives I had been granted, and an opportunity for a fresh start in a new environment, I could not miss out on this opportunity to make my ambitions come true.

There were many highlights of how my life changed during my months abroad, but I can name a few here. For one, getting to learn in a UK university environment and through UK professors allowed myself to learn with more opportunities for hands-on activities in the week, compared to the standard American lectures I had grown accustomed to for most classes. Furthermore, getting to understand the course content from a British perspective was interesting to observe; having largely spent the past three years of my undergraduate studies primarily through an American scope.

But for myself, the opportunities I had off-campus through exploring London (and a bit of Instagram followings), opened up yet more doors for myself. Many friends and acquaintances I have met in London’s car community of supercar owners, photographers, and enthusiasts alike, I continue to interact with to this day: including one of the closest friends I made in London. Connor,  a Datsun owner I randomly met at an Ace Cafe meet, and whom I keep in regular contact with through Whatsapp. In addition, I learned about an ‘automotive media’ project from Poland, ‘Pops & Bangs’, that was being promoted through their UK ambassador, Marta. I was so keen to support it after discovering them that I applied for, and became an ambassador, and a part-time media contributor in  Hong Kong and the United States.

In short, there is no doubt I left London last Christmas, a new person.

– Adrian


Born and raised in Hong Kong, Adrian Ma graduated from Hong Kong Academy (one of three students who had attended the school from Pre-K up to Grade 12), and is currently studying at Hawaii Pacific University in Oahu, Hawaii to attain a degree in Mass Communications. During his Junior year, Adrian took the opportunity to study abroad at Richmond in Fall 2018. Outside of his studies, Adrian enjoys photography, travelling, anime, collecting diecast car models, and the occasional spirited night drive.