Studying Abroad: Hong Kong

When I got to Hong Kong it was the middle of the night. I’d just finished my first year of college and was definitely ready for summer. Getting to Hong Kong was a trial within itself. I traveled for over 24 hours. I went from North Carolina to the District, from Washington to I went all the way to Seoul, and finally, made it to Hong Kong from Seoul. I’d been to Europe before, but that was nothing compared to the flights to get to Hong Kong. The sight that welcomed me was more than worth it, though. I would spend the next month living in Hong Kong taking classes and traveling a bit in Asia.

I did not take these when I first flew to Hong Kong. Sadly, it was too dark for good pictures. This is what Hong Kong looked like when I came back from a trip to Tokyo.

The airport is on Lantau Island, not the major center of Hong Kong. But, it gives killer views. Geographically, Hong Kong is set up to be the perfect meeting of nature and humanity. The special administrative region (SAR) sprawls over islands and continues up into the New Territories towards the border with the mainland.

Anyway, why do I love it here? Before anything else, it’s the way the city made me feel. More relaxed, clean, and modern than New York. More dynamic, efficient, and engaging than Washington. For me, living in Hong Kong was like having my cake and eating it too. I have a ridiculous love for the MTR, which is Hong Kongers’ equivalent to the subway. Anyone who has experienced the nightmares of the subway in New York or MTA in DC could fall in love with the punctual, all relatively new air conditioned trains that zip around Hong Kong. Are the trains in Tokyo nice too? Yes, ok. They are, but they don’t compare to the MTR.

mtr

Look at how happy I am with my friends at the MTR.

Besides the outstanding public mass transit, Hong Kong is a food scene that cannot be missed. If you’ve read my blog before I apologize for being repetitive, but if you’re new — I love Asian food. There’s an advantageous exchange rate for the dollar in Hong Kong and I definitely took advantage of that in buying food and snacks.To name a place, if you’re ever in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), you should give Iron Cow (a Taiwanese beef noodle place) a chance.

I am also a big shopper. Hong Kong is designed as the perfect global hub, so it doesn’t lack of small stores or huge shopping malls. For the record, Harbour City Mall and The One (both in TST), were my favorites to get lost in. Wandering through the streets of TST was one of my favorite hobbies. There was no telling what I might discover. Observing the people, the art, and the landscape gave me insight to a culture that I can best describe as East meets West.

I never imagined myself hiking through coastal terrain in China to get to beaches or traveling to remote fishing villages for fresh seafood, but those have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve found the most unexpected things can make the largest difference. I’m not trying to say some seafood changed my life (although I do love food that much), I want to convey how the journey of getting to those places with my friends created a kind of unquenchable desire to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Studying abroad is an experience I can’t recommend enough. Which is how I came to the 3 Campus Program.

3 Campus Study Abroad

I was lucky in Hong Kong to be a part of a program that allowed me to explore as much as I did. I was able to complete requirements for strategy and intercultural communications courses while discovering the city. The professors in the program were highly knowledgeable and I came away able to have conversations about the intricate history surrounding Hong Kong, the current political climate, and business culture. After the program ended, I knew I wanted to go back.

Flash forward to junior year, in place of the French I was originally studying, I’m taking Korean. I’m getting to go to South Korea for a whole semester. Not only that, but I have the unique opportunity to go to Tokyo, Seoul, and then return to Hong Kong all in one study abroad. I’ve never felt more conviction about a decision in my college career than I do about taking part in this opportunity. I cannot wait to share more as the trip actually begins next semester.

Seoul

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