Having been in Hong Kong for almost 3 months now, I feel like only now getting used to living in this gigantic city. When I first arrived I found myself bewildered by many of the customs and had to constantly ask myself questions like “is this hot water for drinking or washing my cutlery in?”. Figuring out the answers to questions like this took some trial and error but in the course of the last 3 months I think I have finally got it down. This was no easy task, when I say this city is gigantic I mean it. From the skyscrapers that stretch out in every direction to the millions of people, this city is teeming with life.
Although the rush of this city can be a little daunting, Hong Kong is nothing if not convenient. Trains run every few minutes (and will send public apologies if they are a little bit late) and the octopus cards (think opal cards except awesome) can not only be used to easily pay from public transportation but can also be used to pay things in local shops, supermarkets and fast-food chains. Shops here are also open until 10 to 11pm, so if you ever find yourself thinking “I really need to buy some coat hangers right now” (which was an actually issue for me) at 10pm on a Tuesday you are in luck.
While the heart of Hong Kong is in its narrow streets bathed in the artificial hue of neon, much of this “almost a country, but not a country” is actually park lands and nature preserves. Daytime hikes over mountains and through jungles are only a short trip out of the city. Out here you can see the sweeping views over the city or the sea and breathe some fresh(er) air. It’s a nice break from the daily life surrounded by apartment complexes covered in bamboo scaffolding and streets packed with cars and people.
Speaking of daily life, studying at the Hong Kong polytechnic university has been an amazing experience, mostly due to all the awesome people you meet. The support from UTS international and the local exchange team has made settling into uni life a breeze. PolyU’s campus is quite large and is built in a consistent theme which makes it feel separate from the surrounding city and while the student accommodation is quite small (as most rooms are in hong kong) being only a 10 minute walk from the campus makes life very convenient.
My time here has been an amazing experience, I would recommend going on exchange to Hong Kong to anybody who has the opportunity.
Kieran Ooi, 11393903