Please see my previous blog post to find out about my first day in Hong Kong.
On my second day in Hong Kong I slept in and woke up at 2:30pm (jet lag!). My room-mate and I went to explore the main campus. On our way back we met some friendly exchange students from France, Holland, Singapore and Lithuania. Just to let you know, there may be misunderstandings or awkward social interaction when you first meet people from other backgrounds. This may be because of different body language or language barriers etc. You are surrounded not just with the culture of your host country, but the culture of exchange students from around the world. For example you might be used to giving a simple hug, while others are used to giving a peck on both cheeks. Nevertheless, the ‘culture shock’ subsided with time, as I got to know people.
Afterwards, the group of us went to the main campus library. While in the library, we visited the university gallery, which includes information about the history of CUHK. Then we all went to look at the exquisite views from our orientation hostel. Please see the cheeky selfie below.
In the evening I ate dinner at Dimdimsum, with some new friends in Mong Kok (a busy area with loads of shops and restaurants). There was a range of dim sum including, delicious shrimp dim sum, custard buns, bbq pork buns and two unique delicacies: intestines and chicken feet. Our friend from Hong Kong helped us choose what to order. However, English menus were available too. Dim sum is traditional Cantonese cuisine and is served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. It’s so yummy! If you’re ever in Hong Kong, you should try it out. Afterwards, I purchased a yellow Fujifilm instax mini 8 instant camera from a shop in Mong Kok. I had wanted one for a while and it was around 450HKD, which is pretty cheap in comparison to its price in the UK.
Then we roamed the streets of Mong Kok, bought Hong Kong style milk bubble tea (a delicious drink with tapioca pearls) and I also purchased an egg puff from a street food vendor. We visited the famous Ladies Market – which has both real and imitation goods for sale. There is a shopping centre connected to Mong Kong station, so before our commute back to university we went inside to do some window shopping. There are a variety of Japanese brand shops there.
The third day involved lectures about CUHK and a crash course in Cantonese. Then at night we hit the streets of Lan Kwai Fong (LKF), where there are many bars, restaurants and clubs. The clubbing night life is big amongst exchange students and expatriates, but if you don’t like the clubbing scene there is so much more else to do in Hong Kong like eating out and day trips.
On the fourth day I attended a lecture about my college, Chung Chi. Did you know, that there are nine colleges at CUHK? All undergraduates (and exchange students) are affiliated to one of them. There was a chance to meet other Chung Chi students over a scrumptious Chinese lunch arranged by the college.
The next morning I moved out of my orientation hostel, United College, at 8:15am. In between moving out and checking-in into my permanent hostel, International House, I paid a trip to Ikea and bought myself a memory foam pillow. It was really great to meet one of my two permanent room-mates who was from Peru. She humoured me as I practised my GCSE Spanish with her and together we learned how to work our new room’s air-conditioner. There is a charge for the air conditioning which you pay for with your student card. I met my second room-mate a week later; a lovely local Hong Kong student studying nursing.
More about my first month
It’s to be expected that you will probably miss home during the first couple of weeks. During the first week I felt a bit homesick. I found that Skype and social network sites/apps helped me keep in contact with my friends and family back home.
Once I moved to my permanent hostel, I rarely saw the lovely friends I made during my three day stay at the orientation hostel. This was because of our busy schedules. However, we met up weekly for lunch or dinner! During the first month I had new flatmates and course-mates to get to know. I say this with full confidence, the people I have gotten to know in Hong Kong are some of the friendliest people I have ever met!
Lectures and tutorials flew-by during the first month. I will write more about my academic experience in another blog post. Please look out for it.
I think it’s helpful to mention that if you have a religious background you are likely to find a place of worship, because Hong Kong is so culturally diverse. For my first two Sunday’s in Hong Kong I attended my local friend’s Cantonese church and I even had my own interpreter. Furthermore, there is a chapel on CUHK campus. At the moment I go to an English speaking church which is in Sha Tin, 30minutes away from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.