It has now been one month since the beginning of my exchange, and let me tell you, I have fallen in love. It is now nearing the middle of autumn here, which feels like a late Australian spring, which to me is the perfect climate. In other words, as more time passes, the less heat and humidity I must endure.
Since my last report, the semester is now truly underway. I am busy with classes four days of the week, with a long weekend to catch up on coursework and take little day excursions around Hong Kong. I know of other exchange students who have travelled to Taiwan and Vietnam on weekends, though I have found that there is also much to explore within Hong Kong. In other words, you can explore and discover during the busy semester without travelling very far.
So, what have I discovered in Hong Kong? Well, for my Business Administration degree, I am taking an international business course, which can be counted as a course equivalent for BUSI2025 at ANU. For this course, I went to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for a class excursion, where I was shown the theatre where Hong Kong was handed back
to China in 1997. Without taking this course, I would not have thought to visit the HKTDC, and let me tell you, it was really an eye-opening experience
Want something a little less serious and a little more fun? Of course, Hong Kong also has you covered. Around 90 minutes from CUHK via public transport, Repulse Bay is the perfect option if you feel like a day trip to the beach. As an Australian who grew up next to the beach in Newcastle NSW, I was intrigued as to how many locals did not swim beyond the shoreline, or not swim at all on such a warm day, or even wear beach clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen this on Australian beaches; it was just a surprise when I found I was not in the majority. On an early-autumn afternoon however, swimming in Repulse Bay was just what the doctor ordered; the beach felt like home. Within ten minutes travelling back to CUHK, I was returned to the Hong Kong life; travelling through the central city still covered in sea-salt.
Daily life at university continues to be full of surprises. I have discovered the delicious pineapple bun, the red-bean mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn festival, and the best places to eat around the university train station. As I have discovered, many people can speak Mandarin here, although it is difficult to know who, and when is appropriate to speak in Mandarin. So, in daily situations I continue to talk to service people in English; I shall learn a very small amount of Cantonese slowly but surely. What I have learnt quickly though is this: Hong Kong life and culture cannot be generalised from the outside; you have to be part of the city to know it.