Starting new in Hong Kong

Mateo Galeano, E18, writes on his first two weeks as an engineer studying abroad at the University of Hong Kong. "I’ve had the opportunity to experience many things for the first time," he says.
Mateo Galeano in Hong Kong

This spring, Mateo Galeano is studying abroad at the University of Hong Kong. Mateo is a civil engineering major, a STEM Ambassador, and a student in the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program. He will be blogging about his experiences in Hong Kong this semester.

By Mateo Galeano

“Are you sure the airplane can even hold enough fuel for a 16-hour flight?”

I know that’s kind of a silly proposition, but I did consider my mom’s half-joking question for a second before we said our last goodbyes at the airport.

Thankfully, EVA Air does not cut corners with their fuel and neither did my connecting flight from Taipei to Hong Kong, my destination for the next five months. It’s hard to believe that I have already been in Hong Kong for more than two weeks. More incredibly, I’ve had the opportunity to experience many things for the first time. I’ve hiked mountains, visited fishing villages, tried a variety of new food, left my cell phone in the back of a taxi, and explored Hong Kong’s surrounding islands.

Now, travelling outside of the United States is a relatively new phenomenon for my family. For most of my life, my citizenship status has restricted my travel outside of the United States. I don’t think I could have imagined myself studying abroad for a whole semester, much less on the other side of the world with a 13-hour time difference. As a U.S. permanent resident now, I recognize this is an immense opportunity and privilege that I have and I hope to facilitate access to such opportunities for other low-income engineering students who wish to study abroad as well.

I’ve had plenty of time here to myself, and a lot of time to reflect on my life, on my home and on my family’s journey. In these moments, I try to be grateful for all the privileges that I’ve had in my life and all the people who have helped me achieve my goals.

I’m unsure of what these next five months will bring, but I am excited to grow as much as I can along the way.