CAPTURE THE MOMENTS
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.