CAPTURE THE MOMENTS
This past weekend I had the opportunity to take one last trip to Korea before I was swamped with projects and finals. It was in the spur of the moment that I decided to buy a ticket and join my friends and I do not regret it at all. Korea was everything I hoped it to be from the cold weather I enjoy very much to the great Korean food that stuffed me full throughout the trip. This was also the first time I experience a real Fall season with colorful trees around me which was quite enjoyable to look at especially at Seoul Forest. I also got to meet up with fellow FISH scholar CIndy Phong who is currently studying at Korea University. It was great catching up with her over some dinner and desserts as it gave me a sense of familiarity while in Korea. To me, Seoul felt like it was a mix of deep culture and modernism which made such a unique and fun trip.
Here are some of the places to highlight:
After having an enjoyable trip in Korea, I now face the trials and tribulations of awaits before me or otherwise known as projects and exams.
There is more to Hong Kong than just the busy city streets and fast paced environment that people associate with this special city. Hong Kong is home to over seven million people which is quite a lot for such a small region of the world. It is split into three main territories between Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories. Beyond the bright lights and large buildings of Hong Kong Island, there is a lot more to discover in the New Territories of Hong Kong.
One of such places that I had the chance to explore was Sai Kung. It is located on the northeastern side of the New Territories and it is mainly known for its quaint fishing villages and hiking trails. More specifically, Sai Kung Town is popular among foreigners because of the quiet and relaxing vibe of the town. The foreign influence was quite noticeable as the overall vibe of the town felt completely different from the city. Many shops and restaurants were designed to cater foreign tastes such as the style of the cafes and the food choices available within the town. Two main things that are noticeable within the town is the busy floating market of seafood supplies along the pier as well as the many dog lovers living in the town. The fish market itself is located on the many boats filled with a variety of local seafood that I had never seen before. It was if this place was separated from the rest of the world and Hong Kong. It felt nostalgic walking along the pier and feeling the trade winds hitting my face as if I was back in Hawaii. RECOMMENDATION:This town had by far the best pineapple bun I've ever had in my life. The bakery was called Sai Kung Bakery and it is quite easy to find as there is always a line for these freshly baked delicious treats.
Normally, you would have take an hour and half bus ride including switching buses and some walking, but luckily some family friends who live in Hong Kong took me along with them one weekend in their car. The drive was very nice and scenic as you drove through mountains with lush green landscapes and ocean views on the side of the road once you are almost there. It reminded me a lot of the drive through H3 back in Hawaii!
Bus Directions: Take the green line on the MTR to Choi Hung Station then take the Bus No. 1A : Choi Hung MTR Station to Sai Kung Town
After many weeks of exploring and eating, I wanted to share some of my favorite spots I've found since coming to Hong Kong. It is safe to say that Hong Kong is a foodie city due to the fact of all the different types of cultural foods you can find all across the city. Just to name a few, you can find many Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Chinese restaurants if you know how to find them. A great app to download to find some delicious food is Openrice as it is the Hong Kong version of Yelp. With all that being said here are some of my personal favorites and recommendations for food in Hong Kong.
It's hard to believe that it is already halfway through this study abroad journey as I feel like there is so much still left to do with my time here. I've come to find out that I've been counting the memories I have made rather than the time I've spent abroad. To me, Hong Kong doesn't feel like a distant place I once dreamed of living in anymore but a place I can always come back to and feel at home.
Hong Kong in some aspects are similar to Hawaii yet still so different at the same time. The most obvious difference being the constant moving city life versus the island lifestyle I'm grew up living in. At times, I miss my friends, family, and life in Hawaii, but at the same time I really enjoy the city of Hong Kong and the memories I've made with the people here as well. It is moments like these that make me really think how similar two places can be. I've noticed that both Hong Kong and Hawaii are both melting pots of people and culture. I only noticed this fact after being able to try so many different cultural foods in just this one city. People from all over the world come to work and live in Hong Kong whether it be in big business companies or small local stores. It is because of this similarity that makes me miss home but also inspires me to enjoy the rest of my time here in Hong Kong.
This midway point also means midterm week for me as I had two midterms this past week. The exams were fairly easy and my professors gave ample time for students to study and prepare ahead of time. Midterms were quite interesting by the fact I realized a couple of things about CityU courses by this time.
This past week was filled with a lot of thoughts about my time while studying abroad as well as exam material. Next week I hope to provide you with a list of reviews on some of my favorite places to eat while living in Hong Kong!
The cycle of eat, school, friends, and sleep continued this past week as I enjoyed just casually progressing through the week and living life. I've found a nice group of friends to hang out and eat some great food as well enjoy spending time together. As more weeks pass by, I realize that living in Hong Kong is quite different from Hawaii, yet I enjoy the change of pace that I'm experiencing. This week's blog is going to be a little different as I want to highlight a particular event that happened this week. Particularly, an interesting guest lecture I had during my International Marketing class the other day.
To my surprise, I actually got sick the week during the mid-autumn festival with a small cold. For the first few days, I tried to brush it off and take the medication I brought with me from home. This didn't work however and I ended up going to see the doctor.
CityU has a medical clinic located within their university called the Young Chung Yee Health Centre otherwise known as "13 doctors" by the locals. For a standard visit it costs 150HKD per visit, but if you decide to purchase the insurance provided by CityU it only costs a simple fee of 13HKD. It may also help to call-in for an appointment if you have time as it can get quite busy of some days. In my case, I had to wait around an hour before I actually saw the doctor. I guess it was flu season? Anyways, the check up was fairly quick and short as it only took 5 minutes for the doctor to write up a prescription for me.
This experience also showed me something I didn't expect at the time which was the friendships I have made throughout these past few weeks. Continually, I had my friends ask if I was OK or if I needed help getting anything which was very kind and helpful. While I was resting, I was offered by my friends to buy me medication or bring me meals which surprised me quite a bit. It showed me that friendships cannot be measured by time but rather by the moments you share together. In these past few weeks I have had many memorable moments with all sorts of people and I hope remember them for the rest of my days.
This past weekend I traveled to Taiwan with my two friends Josh and Matt. Yay! Taiwan was my first trip while studying abroad and it was an adventure full of food and more food accompanied with lots of walking. I could summarize this trip into three simple words: food, language, and photography.
Week 3 offered a bit of nostalgia for me as I was able to have a little bit of Aloha in Hong Kong. Back in Hawaii, hiking was one of my favorite things to do in my spare time. I was glad to have found out that Hong Kong has many hiking trails across the city that offer spectacular views. I was also to be able to meet up with some familiar faces for some dinner.
One of the firsts things to do before studying abroad is to research all the fun activities and places to explore within your new city. For me, that involved a lot of research on food, photo spots, and hiking. After thoroughly investigating on some potential hiking spots I settled on a fairly easy hike called Dragon's Back to begin the semester. The hike is quite straightforward as the first half is a nice walk under the shade of trees while the 2nd half gave gorgeous landscape views of mountains and beaches. This experience reminded me a lot about home as my favorite part of any hike was always the view from the top. As I scaled back down the mountain I was reminded that the 2nd best part of a hike is a delicious meal waiting for me to devour.
I was able to have the opportunity to hang out with my brother as he was in Hong Kong for 24 hours before he went off to visit our family in Zhongshan. With this opportunity came another as it ended up being a Shidler reunion of alumni and current Freeman scholars studying abroad in Hong Kong! It was a small reunion as it consisted of alumnus Tony Wong Cam and Lewis Wang as well as current Freeman scholars Joshua Stefen Rasay, Momi Morgan, and myself. We all gathered for dinner at an all you can eat hot pot restaurant called Jackpot. As we filled our stomachs with delicious food, we chatted about missing Hawaii as well as all our new experiences in Hong Kong. Lewis was also able to give us some advice for Hong Kong as he is a part of the alumni association and has been working in Hong Kong since his graduation. Overall, the night was filled with nostalgia and laughter as I was reminded that Hawaii is never too far away as there is a huge network of Shidler alumni located across Asia.
As an exchange student, CityU helps pre-register and schedule your courses for you from your 10 preferred classes from when you first applied. However, they may not always plan your schedule to your personal liking. CityU uploads your schedule a week before Week 0(move-in week) to give you time to add/drop courses until the 2nd week of classes. I took advantage of this as some courses were not transferable. Eventually my schedule(below) ending up to my liking with the time and courses that I wanted.
The first week of classes were pretty relaxing as it was syllabus week, but it was my first time experiencing 3 hours for one course per week. Thankfully most professors offer a small 10-15 break at the halfway mark of class. Overall, I am enjoying the classes I have picked as I hope to learn what CityU has to offer for my education. Stay tuned for how I feel about these courses by exams!
Whenever I find myself in a new environment or city, I always want to know my surroundings through the people I interact with or the places I explore. In this case, Hong Kong had plenty to offer as I found myself surrounded by new faces and a whole new atmosphere I haven't experienced before. Every passing hour and day I found myself learning more about Hong Kong and the people that live here.
One of the first interactions I had at CityU was with the College of Business Exchange Student Club. Before you even arrive in Hong Kong, they are constantly giving updates on exploration events and orientation details. It was through them that I was able to get a tour of CityU as well as getting to know my fellow exchange students. Through this I was able to explore my university as well as meet some new friends that will last a life time.
Another set of interactions I had was between the various people in my dorm. This is my first time living in a dorm and I can honestly say that it has been a great experience so far. One of my main reasons I came to Hong Kong was to practice and improve my Cantonese. Within my dorm, I have met so many locals to be able to help me practice Cantonese. It was refreshing to be able to have a decent conversation with people other than my relatives in another language.
With new friends and home, I have come to realize that Hong Kong is truly the perfect choice for me to study abroad. There is so much to explore and learn within this small yet populated city and I have only scratched the surface. For now, I have fully mastered the art of navigating the subway as well as engaging myself in conversations with Cantonese as much as I can communicate. I can honestly say that Hong Kong will forever have a special place in my heart as I can now call it home for these next few months.