Sitting in my nicely air-conditioned room after a morning of battling the late summer humidity of Hong Kong, I can safely say that my first week in this city was filled with adventures, challenges and uncertainties. In this short time overseas, I already miss my regular flat white. Starbucks is available for the desperate, but when in Rome do as the Romans do.
I arrived in Hong Kong on August 28th after a comparatively short 9 hour international flight. Feeling tired and not entirely certain where my hotel was, it was very nice to use the MTR (metro) airport connection to the city. Coming from Canberran life, this is definitely a nice change in public transport.
Speaking of transport, something that Australia could definitely adopt from Hong Kong is the use of the Octopus card. Like the NSW Opal card and the ACT MyWay card, the Octopus card is a reloadable card granting access to all public transport. Unlike its Australian counterparts however, Octopus card credit may be used to buy food and supplies in cafeterias, take-away stores, supermarkets you name it!
Around 45 minutes from the city centre, the Chinese University of Hong Kong is a town within itself. With it’s own supermarket, campus buses, it even has its own metro station, athletics stadium, aquatic centre and countless cafeterias. The enormity of the campus is at first slightly daunting, even by ANU standards. Believe me, if you think ANU is big with its own postal code, you haven’t seen anything yet!
After exploring the campus, it’s time for some city fun! So far, I have taken a ferry and enjoyed the city lights on Victoria Harbour, and explored the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui. As some of you may know, Lan Kwai Fong is the place to party. If you plan on partying in the city while living at CUHK, be warned: go big or go home. If you like at least some sleep, you may be faced with a long MTR ride, or a hefty taxi fare if you are leaving your friends early, who will be partying until dawn.
Back on campus, at S.H Ho College, I share a room with a local student. Admittedly, I have not shared a bedroom before, and I may be placed outside of my comfort zone, though I feel that it will be character building. After living at the self-catered Burton and Garran Hall for two and a half years, I will enjoy cafeteria college life. From my experience so far, the Cantonese cafeteria food is quite nutritious. And as busy university students know, once the semester is under way, it’s hard to find motivation to study let alone cook healthy meals you need. This is a challenge I had in the past, so this will be a nice change.
So, classes have now begun! I will be here until December 24th, leaving to experience a Japanese Christmas. Stay tuned for my next report, by which time I hope to have travelled and explored more of the wondrous Hong Kong!