From Kyrgyzstan to Hong Kong

Mr Kairat ESHBOLOTOV, Year 2 international student majoring in Mathematics and Information Engineering, came from Kyrgyzstan. In May 2016, he was interviewed by Wen Wei Po, a Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper, in which he shared about his decision to study in Hong Kong. With Kairat's consent, the College invited Kairat to share more about his background and experience.

Can you tell us about your home country, Kyrgyzstan?

Kyrgyzstan is not a very big country, with a population of about 6 million, but with plenty of natural resources, such as oil, coal, gold and water. The major religion in Kyrgyzstan is Islam. 'Dordoi' is the largest market in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, and many people from different countries arrive to shop. My mother works there and I occasionally went to help her. Kyrgyzstan is 90 percent covered with mountains. The weather goes up to 40 degrees in summer and drops to negative 20 degrees during winter. Every summer, visitors come to see a famous and beautiful lake called 'Issyk-Kul', which is 5 times the size of Hong Kong.

Why did you choose Hong Kong? What was your image of Hong Kong before you came?

I aspired to study in Asia. From my understanding, students here compete with each other vigorously and put effort into their work to improve, and I thought this is exactly the atmosphere where I would flourish the most, because it would pull me out of my comfort zone to make progress. Hong Kong was my top choice since it is a financial and economic centre. I was thrilled to know that I would be studying at CUHK — that was a life-changing moment. Also, though not directly related, Bruce Lee was my idol in the martial arts since I was young; we grew up watching him fight and getting inspiration from his talent.

How was your expectation different from what you saw here? What are they? Did you experience culture shock?

I really didn't know much before, except through the internet. I did know that Hong Kong has a high living cost, and people value punctuality. Because of Bruce Lee and the image of triads, I thought some people would be aggressive. It turned out to be my imagination and Hong Kong is in general a safe place to live in.

Did you encounter any challenges in life and studies? How did you overcome them?

I did badly during the first two months here. There was no one from Kyrgyzstan to talk to, and I felt quite down for some time, spending lots of time watching YouTube videos. In terms of study load, I didn't feel too much pressure, but the atmosphere inside classrooms was unexpected to me. Almost no one asked any question even when he/ she has not fully understood the situation. Whenever I ask a question, everyone would look at me as if I am not allowed to do so. For local and mainland students, they can easily discuss among themselves and try to find the answer, but I had no one to ask at first and used to ask the instructors instead. Over time, I have become more aware of and open-minded about cultural differences, and I have started making new friends.

Can you tell us more about the people you have met here?

I have many local and international friends now from different disciplines, and I think meeting people face to face is what sustains friendship, not online messages. One of the first few people I met here is Ms Doris Tso from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. She has been very friendly and caring and we have lunch together quite often. I also met Ms Eunice Lee from the Office of Student Affairs who has been giving me guidance since my first year. And of course, I am very grateful to Prof Kenneth Young and Prof Wong Suk Ying for their support and the opportunities they provided me at CWC.

How do you feel now after two years? What is your plan for the future?

Last year, I did summer internship at a local company. I am taking up another internship this summer, at Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI). I am blessed to be given this chance and am grateful to my College for both opportunities. Believe it or not, I now feel more comfortable talking to locals and expats in English than in my mother tongue, Russian. I really admire the punctuality of people and public transport here. The only thing I lack now is having my own family here. I'm planning to work in Hong Kong after my graduation.

Kairat enjoys a night in Hong Kong
Kairat enjoys a night in Hong Kong
Kairat (right 2) joins hiking event with friends from CUHK
Kairat (right 2) joins hiking event with friends from CUHK
Kairat (left) in High Table Dinner
Kairat (left) in High Table Dinner
Kairat with Prof Wong Suk Ying
Kairat with Prof Wong Suk Ying
Kairat (middle, in blue shirt) joins Workshop on Getting Ready for the Workplace
Kairat (middle, in blue shirt) joins Workshop on Getting Ready for the Workplace
Kairat (front, left 3) assists teacher in organising Russian Cultural Night
Kairat (front, left 3) assists teacher in organising Russian Cultural Night

Back To This Issue
From the Editor
Master-designate Appointed
Donations (10 May 2016 – 30 Jun 2016)
Personalia (May – Jul 2016)
Farewell Party for the First Graduating Class
Miss Carissa Ma Wins Cultus et Beneficentia Award 2016
Cultural and Language Study Tour to Beijing
In the Eyes of Exchange Students
From Japan: My Life at CW Chu College
CWC Students Share Overseas Exchange Experience
From Kyrgyzstan to Hong Kong
Alumni Club
The Student Honour Code Committee
College Internship Scheme 2016
High Table Dinner and Dinner Events
College Activities
Hostel Events and Initiatives
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