#exchange Cześć! -International Youth Exchange Programme

October 17, 2016 / by / 0 Comment




Cześć (hello in Polish)!

The International Youth Exchange Programme (IYEP), jointly organized by the Home Affairs Bureau and the Commission on Youth, aims to provide opportunities for youths to broaden their horizon and international perspective.

Every year, a group of youth delegates will be selected and arranged to visit a country as assigned by the selection board. This year, youth delegates are divided into groups to visit Poland, Ireland, Australia, Japan and Singapore. I am very grateful to be nominated by HKU such that I had the opportunity to travel to Poland in Autumn 2016.

Here are 5 reasons to join IYEP:


#1 Lifelong friendship

With other Hong Kong delegates – a total of 15 youth delegates (including me) visited Poland. We all came from different institutions, study different subjects and are talented in different ways. After the 10-day trip, we transformed from complete strangers to good friends.

With the Polish delegates –students from Lazarski University accompanied at all times (literally from day 1 to day 10, from 9am to 9pm). All of the Polish delegates were extremely nice and friendly. They were very eager to learn more about Hong Kong and Chinese culture as well as to share with us on their life in Poland.


#2 Exclusive visits

One of the best things about this trip is that I was able visit places which are usually not open to tourists.

We spent quite a lot of time at the Lazarski University, which is a private university in Warsaw, also ranked the best in Poland. We toured around their campus, enjoyed lunch at their cafeteria, and attended Polish classes. As part of our trip, we also had the unique opportunity of visiting the Sejm (the parliament of Poland) and speaking directly to members of the parliament.

The highlight of the trip is definitely visiting the homes of Polish families where we spent a relaxing afternoon chatting and tasting traditional Polish food.

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#3 In-depth exchange

We had a lot of opportunity to interact with Polish people and to experience the local culture during our trip.

The theme for this year’s programme is “Social Innovation and Youth Participation” and in relation to the theme, we had presentations and workshops delivered by students from Lazarski University. In return, we also gave a presentation on how the situation is like in Hong Kong.

Outside the classroom, we also had a lot of chances to chat with our Polish friends: on the coach, on the streets, over the dinner table.

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#4 Travel for free

The best thing about this programme is that all expenses (incl. air fares, lodging, food) are covered. The only thing I had to pay for was my travel insurance.

But of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  The application process itself is quite lengthy. You first have to fill out an application form, then attend a group interview arranged by CEDARS followed by a group interview arranged by the Home Affairs Bureau. If selected, you are expected and required to attend a series of pre-trip activities and to submit a report, service proposal and to give a presentation after the trip.

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#5 Legit reason to skip class

Just kidding…But as most of the trips take place during term time, if you are indeed intending to apply, do be prepared that you would have to apply for leave from school and to catch up with assignments and make-up tutorials after your trip.


IYEP 2017-2018 is now open for application. More info available at http://www.cedars.hku.hk/form/iyepoutline.pdf