­I am currently a fourth year student studying the double degree Bachelor of Construction Management Architecture. I first heard about the ‘Cities in Asia’ study tour from my lecturer in class, and thought it would be a great opportunity to see the effects of rapid urbanisation first-hand as we learn a bit about it in our course.


To apply for the tour we first approached Deakin’s architecture faculty for approval and once granted applied through an online application process with Hong Kong University. Through this process we provided our academic transcript to date and a short response as to why we wanted to undertake the short program. Ultimately six girls went to Hong Kong for the program.

The study program was a really great experience that pushed us out of our comfort zones of design and taught us how to approach design in a more abstract manner, something very different to how I had worked previously at Deakin. I had already traveled to Hong Kong before so I did not have much cultural shock when I arrived, however my experience whilst there was a real eye opener to the living standards compared to back home, as a majority of residents live in mid to high rises.


There was a lot of group work completed in the program, which meant we were able to work closely and cohesively with other students around the world much like you would in a workplace environment. Of course there were language barriers and cultural differences amongst us, which all added to the learning experience and challenge. The program provided us with amazing opportunities with regular lectures set up, walking tours around the city showing us beyond the tourist attractions of Hong Kong, film reviews, seminars on readings we had completed, and visits to a wide variety of architectural firms from small intimate offices to large ones with hundreds of employees, often leading to contacts for future reference.

The course coordinators and teachers were a wealth of knowledge and really helped to inform us about what is happening in Hong Kong and Singapore in regards to housing the increasing population; whilst also being more than happy to answer any questions we had about Hong Kong in general, local culture and education, or pointing us in the right direction for local cuisine.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about the study tour was the great friendships I have made with the Deakin students who participated. As we spent so much time together travelling and working, we formed a close connection and I have found that connection has flowed over back into Australia with all of us keeping in contact and having regular jokes about our time in Asia.

Overall the ‘Cities in Asia’ study program that I participated in was extremely intense with little time for breaks, however the knowledge and skills that I have bought back with me are really invaluable and I approach design in a whole new light. I would absolutely recommend this study tour for anyone who is up for a challenge, willing to work hard and also have a fun time meeting and interacting with new people.