Outstanding students from the SAR and the mainland gained a better understanding of each other through a two-week exchange programme. Eighty-nine students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and 83 students from 19 universities in the mainland took part in the New Era Executive Training Programme, jointly organised by CUHK and the Kowloon Chamber of Commerce. The programme included seminars on corporate management, common law, the use of technology in speculation and infrastructure in electronic commerce. Other activities included leadership training, map reading games and sightseeing. The programme aimed to help students from the SAR and the mainland break down barriers through communication and collaboration. CUHK student affair officer Jeremiah Wong Kui-hung said the exchange was a rare opportunity. 'The mainland students come from prominent universities and are selected by their schools. Therefore, they are the elite of the young generation,' he said. 'Hong Kong people used to consider themselves different from people in China. But this perception should have changed with the handover. 'We hope the programme would help participants develop a better understanding of each other so they can work together to build a better future for the country.' James Chow Chit-ming, 21, final year student in professional accounts, said: 'It's interesting that even though they all speak Putonghua, they have very different cultures. The programme helped us understand each other better.' He said the country would be much stronger if people from the SAR and the mainland joined forces. 'Hong Kong students respond faster and are internationally minded. But mainland students have critical and analytical minds. they think in more logical ways,' he said. Zoey Tsang Pong-wun, 19, a second year student in translation, said students from China were active learners. 'Hong Kong students are afraid to speak up and ask questions, but the mainland students are very eager to learn. They want to know about everything,' she said. 'And their sense of belonging to the country is stronger than ours. They told me Chinese students study hard because they want to contribute to their country.' Liang Xiaoqian, 19, a third year student from Beijing University's Department of Chinese, said the programme made her think. 'I didn't know much about Hong Kong before. I only knew it was a modern city. 'The programme gave me first-hand information about the city. There is a lot for me to learn,' she said. 'China lags behind in development. 'We should rethink our education system and planning for metropolitan areas.'