So I’ve been in Hong Kong for 3 months now and wow… what a city. Choosing to go on exchange in Hong Kong was a good choice for me because I’ve met many people and learnt so many things that I can take back with me as precious memories that I wouldn’t forget for a long time to come. The objective I set for myself whilst on exchange was to embark on a journey of self-discovery – and I believe that it has enriched my understanding of life.
The most important thing before leaving to Hong Kong is to make sure that accommodation is arranged. I recommend you to arrive a few days prior to the start of the semester as these few days you can take the opportunity to settle in to the new place as well as purchasing necessities without feeling rushed.
Every floor shares a common area including a kitchen if you wish to cook instead of eating out.
I’ve been told that Hong Kong is a city that never sleeps. It’s fairly accurate; students are still awake after 3am making noise and having fun, which can be annoying when trying to sleep.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)
Located in Hung Hom, the campus is pretty big with a theme colour of reddish-brown and I had fun getting lost and exploring. Buildings are differentiated by letters of the alphabet rather than numbers. The first few days in the start of the academic semester was pretty daunting not knowing what to expect from a new university, but honestly, assignments, examinations and teaching manner and environment is very much similar to UTS. Study and workload will depend on how many subjects are taken (I took 4). The maximum amount of subjects that could be undertaken in a semester here was 7. I was so shocked when I found out about this, 7 subjects a semester was the norm and I was amazed at how hard working the students here in PolyU were. The students I’ve noticed were more shy and reserved which I felt that I could develop better connections.
Lifestyle & Culture
There are so many differences between Hong Kong and Australia. I felt overwhelmed at just how fast-paced Hong Kong life is. Imagine everything you see being played out at 1.25x normal speed; that is what Hong Kong feels like. Main forms of public transport is MTR, buses as well as ferries.
Despite Hong Kong being so population dense and crowded, people still form a queue and line up on the right of the escalator whilst the people in a hurry will take the left side. Hong Kong is different in that it is partly Westernized and hence you can experience the best of both cultures and lifestyles.
Food Food Food… where to begin…
Price of food here usually depends on its location as well as the type of food. Cheap food can be found in the street (also known as street food) or the campus’ canteen (student prices = cheap cheap cheap). Below is an image of the campus’ YumCha. It costs $8HKD per dish after 2pm, yeah you read that correctly, $8.
Popular tourist locations will typically be more pricey (e.g. say an Italian pub located in Central district). Now some restaurants will have their menu in English, but if you prefer to try the local flavour, it’s best to bring someone along with you who can read Chinese as the menus sometimes will not have English! Most restaurants will not close until 10pm-12am, so me and a couple of friends went go down and walk a few minutes for a quick pre-midnight feed.
Despite its air pollution and fog, to say Hong Kong is a gorgeous city would be an understatement. Its city and harbour view at night in Tsim Sha Tsui promenade is spectacular with its vibrant colours. The promenade stretches out to the “Avenue of Stars” and it’s the perfect place to exercise and jog. Me and my roommate would jog there a couple times a week and you would see other joggers at any time of the day. (yes, even midnight).
The famous “Victoria Peak” is no joke. You can practically see the entirety of Hong Kong from this point and it is absolutely beautiful. The only downside was the queuing times to board the tram (30-45min wait). But was it worth it…? You bet it was!
Another popular activity in Hong Kong is hiking. There are many great hikes and getting away from stressful city life to spend some time to witness nature’s beauty is breathtaking (literally… because it can be very tiring). Make sure you bring water, snacks and appropriate sportswear because there will be lots of walking involved.
Hong Kong has so much to offer, if you are like me and want to try something new, I would definitely recommend you to travel here. It’s no wonder why Hong Kong is one of the best cities in the world and I will be upset when I leave this place, not just because of the place but because of the amazing friends that I’ve made while on this journey. You really have to cherish every moment you have here because time flies super quickly. But this will not be the end; this is only the beginning.
Kent Chung Adrian Tam – 11442973