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I went to the international exchange program in a top CS university in Hong Kong, during 2020 spring, when the world was suffering from the pandemic. The Covid-19 affected the exchange program and made it much less exciting - most of the time the courses were taught online and I didn't have any research experience with the professor. But I indeed learned a lot from the coursework and the touch with foreign friends I met in campus.

I am currently drafting the SoP of CS Master program, where I would like to mention the exchange experience in Hong Kong. How should I describe it in an appropriately? Although Covid-19 is something unavoidable in description of the experience, how can I adjust my narration so that the exchange program appears to be still valuable and rewarding?

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Actually, the SoP my be the wrong place for this information. The Statement of Purpose should be looking forward to your academic and career plans, not the past. The CV and other introductory material form a retrospective on your past.

Don't waste word in the Sop on things that aren't about future plans. The exchange program would only be appropriate there if it causes some change in your plans looking forward.

But a line or two in the CV would be a better place to mention it, with some simple phrasing (or not).

If you wind up in an interview, you can bring it up then. But give the SoP the impact it requires.

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  • Thank you for your reply. I am an undergrads from Physics Major and I was in the dept of CS in exchange program. So does it add extra necessities to put the experience on SoP ?
    – H Yang
    Sep 7 '20 at 15:52
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    Make the SoP indicate you will be "great" in the future. Talk about how great you have been up to now elsewhere. Don't mistake the purpose and don't lose track of what readers will be looking for when reading your application. You normally have limited space for these elements. Use the space wisely.
    – Buffy
    Sep 7 '20 at 15:59

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