It has been exactly a month since coming to Hong Kong and that feels so strange to think about how fast time is passing. As someone who hasn’t lived away from home before or travelled much overseas, I was surprised how easy it was to adjust to this new life and culture. It’s such a beautiful city where I appreciate the humble pastel coloured apartments and living so close to the Harbour. Hong Kong is a fast-paced environment where the city doesn’t sleep and there’s always something to do or see.
I am currently studying at Polytechnic University and the classes have been great so far since I’m learning about subjects/skills and have access to facilities that aren’t offered at UTS. Studying Fashion and Textiles here is much more commercialised but having a different perspective on this has been really insightful. I am taking Knitwear Design, Design Studies, Textiles Studies III and Bra Construction and have already learnt quite a lot in the past 3 weeks! This uni offers an add/drop period for the first 2 weeks for any subjects that you wanted to pick up/weren’t what you thought and they are usually flexible with this especially for exchange students (within the subjects you’re allowed to take).
I would recommend looking out for the Art Pal booklet around 2 weeks in because there are a range of different workshops/short courses you can take. Some examples are Western Calligraphy, Ceramics, Singing, Kung fu, Mooncake making etc. that are offered to students/staff at a reasonable price. They also have day cultural tours around Hong Kong that would be a good way to see the attractions while meeting new people.
For accommodation, exchange students stay at the Hung Hom Halls which is honestly the best way to go because it is really cheap and convenient since it’s a 15 minute walk via footbridge to uni and close to many shops and restaurants. There’s a 24/7 supermarket called Wellcome (for all those midnight cravings and supplies), many cheap eats including Bafang Dumplings (honestly my favourite place so far – dumplings and an iced fruit/milk tea for $7 AUD), MacDonald’s (if you’re ever feeling homesick), Saizeriya (cheap pasta and unlimited drink refill for $2.5 AUD if you eat in) and many more.
The room itself is quite compact, though I expected nothing less considering how densely populated Hong Kong is. You do however get a lot of drawers (in the wardrobe, under the bed, next to the desk) and shelves to sort all your things which is really space efficient and will keep away the clutter despite the seemingly small room.
You are also assigned a roommate who you share this space with (you can pick if you want someone from the same country or not) and you share the bathroom with the 2 roommates that live next door (essentially suite mates). My roommate is from France and my suitemates are from France and Sweden which is a lovely mix! Though I’ve never imagined myself enjoying the lack of privacy, I have been really happy with this arrangement because I get along with them really well and they were my first friends here. Almost like a little family away from home.
There are also many common area facilities such as a gym, swimming pool, printing room, games room, food canteen, kitchenettes etc within the building that makes it much more interesting and convenient to live at Halls. Also, most people that go on exchange to PolyU do pick this accommodation (I mean, bottom line is the price is too hard to resist) so you’ll be living minutes away from the friends you make.
All in all, I think coming to Hong Kong (especially Polytechnic University!) is such a great option for exchange and I’ve learnt so much about not only the Hong Kong culture but the cultures from all around the world through talking to other exchange students. It’s honestly so adaptable living here and a great way to learn to be independent.
Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient.
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au