First Blog Entry (Jan 31st) Hong Kong University
I think it’s safe to say that I was completely unaware of what was ahead of me when preparing for my semester in Hong Kong University. Having never been to Asia, the big move seemed like a distant endeavour, something I said I was doing but never really believed myself. Come January, I would be back on the cobblestones of Front Square for my third Hilary term in TCD.
Now approaching our third week into life in Hong Kong, I can say without hesitation that coming here has been one of the biggest and by far the best decision of my life. Hong Kong oozes vibrancy, character and culture, not to mention the fact that the food is sublime. The yummiest foods range from Dim Sum (essentially tapas but Chinese food), to Nepalese, Vietnamese and Korean food as well as delicacies like Bubble Waffles and 50 cent cans of beer. Last week, we were lucky enough to have dinner in one of the cheapest Michelin star restaurants in the world for Dim Sum. It set me back around $60HKD or approximately €6 for my meal and it was stunning to say the least.
The aspect of Hong Kong life which I find myself grappling with most is a small and unexpected issue – chopsticks. The skill of using them eludes me completely and I find myself getting more and more frustrated with every rapidly-cooling dumpling. At one point last week when engrossed in my attempts to eat my noodles, a waitress felt the need to come over, point, laugh and call over the other waiter to join her in mocking me. At this stage, I had the attention of the entire restaurant, compelling the woman at the table beside us to come over and teach me. The cheers that erupted when I finally picked up a noodle were both satisfying and humiliating in equal measure.
Apart from my obvious lack of talent in the world of chopsticks, Hong Kong has been unbelievable. We have already had the chance to take the tram up to Victoria Peak overlooking Hong Kong Island and to take the cable car to see the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island. We’ve revelled in the views of the Hong Kong skyline at night both from boat parties, from the Star Ferry and through simply walking through the bustling streets. Every Wednesday, we make sure not to miss the horse races in Happy Valley where university students flood to en masse for a few drinks and a good time. The night life is also great, so you can’t ask for a whole lot more!
University-wise, HKU is a beautiful campus. Built on the side of the mountain, views are incredible and the campus is both modern and welcoming, while class sizes are small with a huge focus on participation and interactive learning. There’s an abundance of international students to make friends with which is also a big comfort.
Though I haven’t quite worked up the courage to try the local delicacy of chicken-feet, I can already feel how much this semester will challenge me and present so many new opportunities. All I know is that if it continues to be as good as the past few weeks has been, these next few months will be some of the best in my life.
Visit www.tcd.ie/study for more information on studying at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin