Life in Hong Kong is very different to Sydney. It’s spontaneous, fast paced, and much more accessible. Border crossings are a less than an hour away by boat or high speed rail, making travel a much more casual endeavour. Hong Kong is an excellent base to see the rest of Asia, with flights to Korea for under $300, and bullet trains to Mainland china for under $100. The neighbourhood I live in, while not as diverse as Sydney or UTS, does offer a wide array of East Asian food and culture (as well the standard McDonalds). The university is an enlightening education institution, giving deep insight into the unique cultural facets of Hong Kong. Surprisingly though, as everything is taught in English, lots of American textbooks, examples and questions are used. As such, the university provides a wide array of intercultural perspectives.
I have found one of the best things about Hong Kong is it’s nightlife and entertainment district Lan Kwai Fong. Beer is very cheap, with $4 buying 12 cans at the supermarket. Due to the oversupply of venues, lack of lockout laws and RSA, it is an incredible place to experience (nanny state free) nightlife. Shisha is commonplace and cheap, however, a few of my American and Canadian friends were taken aback by the harsh drug punishments in Hong Kong.
What has surprised me the most about exchange, is the amount I am learning about countries and cultures outside Hong Kong. Because all dorm activities take place in Cantonese, exchange students find it very difficult to participate and integrate. However, it has meant that the exchange students form their own subculture within the dorms. The group I see regularly consists of an a few Americans, a Canadian, a Norwegian, a few Swedes, and a few Australians. It is a very diverse group, with the majority coming from migrant families that have resettled in western countries. As such, I am learning a lot about both their heritage and culture, as well as the countries they grew up in. Furthermore, it means everyone (excluding 2 Americans and myself), is bilingual or even trilingual.
It is honestly an incredible experience. You learn so much about so many countries and cultures, as well as experience a unique and special blend of east meets west in Hong Kong.
Bachelor of Business and BCII
Hong Kong Polytechnic University