It has now been just under a month since I arrived in Hong Kong and I have already seen and done so much. The first two weeks were the craziest, looking back now they are just a blur of meeting people, Ikea trips, going out, sightseeing and crashing back into bed at all hours of the morning! However, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I will admit, before I came to HK I was worried about not meeting any new people or not being able to make friends (original, I know) but that has absolutely not been the case. I have met so may great people and am meeting more every day.
My housing in HK (which I was originally very unhappy with) has turned out to be one of the best things about my trip so far. While it is definitely not the nicest accommodation available to HKU students, and climbing up six flights of stairs multiple times a day had definitely had an impact on my legs, the building has so many other advantages. It is located on a kind of main road with lots of small convenient stores and little cheap places to eat, including a little bakery that I love. There is a 7-11 right next to the building which has come in handy when I have underestimated how much food I would need for the week.
The best thing about the building though is the fact that it is almost entirely exchange students. I think I have met more people just in my building that I have from all the HKU organised activities. The rules are also slightly more relaxed here and we don’t have any restriction on visitors/visiting hours like many other HKU halls/colleges do. So, for any future students thinking of going on exchange to HKU, it is worth considering applying to On Hing – its definitely not as bad as it looks.
In my first blog post I was worried about enrolling in topics here at HKU, especially since I hadn’t had any backup topics approved but it turns out there was no need to worry. I was waitlisted for one class but within a week it was approved with no further issues. One thing I have noticed here is that the course load is quite a bit different to back home. Though the class contact time is similar to back home if not slightly less, the amount of work that we are expected to do outside of class is enormous. I will admit I am having some trouble getting through it all. I suppose my main task now is finding a reasonable balance between uni work, having fun and exploring Hong Kong and sleep!
One of my favourite things about being an exchange student is having so many other people to travel and do things with. Being a part of this large group is so great because everyone is in the same position as me, wanting to see and do as many things possible while we are overseas!
So far, in the month I have been in HK I have already planned and booked flights and accommodation for a week trip to Vietnam with a new friend, as well as planned smaller weekend trips with a group to Taiwan and Macau. And all of this is in addition to the travel I had already planned before I left Australia to Mainland China, Bangladesh and India! I will admit the location of Hong Kong is excellent for traveling the rest of Asia which makes these trips easy and relatively cheap.
Hong Kong is a huge city and even though I have seen and done a lot already there always things that I still want to do. I can’t wait to continue exploring Hong Kong and I hope that 5 months will be enough!
Jessica Penrose, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Enhanced Program for High Achievers), Semester 1 2018 exchange at University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
- Read Jessica’s 1st blog here