By Daryl Egan, Hilary Term Business School Exchange to the Chinese University of Hong Kong
My name is Daryl Egan and I am a 3rd year Trinity College Dublin Student studying BESS. I am a little over a month into my Hilary Term Business School Exchange to the Chinese University of Hong Kong and it’s safe to say that the time has absolutely flown by! Hong Kong is a truly incredible place and is nowhere like I’ve ever been before. There is the unconventional cocktail of steel skyscrapers, consumerism and an urban feel only comparable to great cities of the world such as New York mixed with the stunning natural beauty of the forests and beaches. The chaos of the neon lit streets and vibrancy of the markets in Mon Kok is a complete juxtaposition to the tranquillity and calm one experiences hiking through the forests or camping on a secluded beach. It is this variety that Hong Kong offers which appeals to me most.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places on earth and is also one of the most expensive places in the world in which to live. These two factors result in some of the most cramped living conditions one will ever experience and some of the buildings and ‘housing estates’ we have seen have been eye-opening. Below are pictures from the famous Chung Hoi estate and Yick Cheong estate (where one of the Transformers movies was filmed).
Continuing our exploration of Hong Kong’s urban side, we explored Mon Kok and the famous street markets of the surrounding area where we bartered and haggled merchants for knock offs. Here we experienced some local street food and struggled to use our chopsticks to sufficiently feed ourselves.
We We then wandered around Hong Kong’s SOHO area getting lost in the vintage market stalls of Hollywood road and the hipster coffee shops of Gough Street.
With Tayto Park the closest thing we have to a theme park in Ireland we decided we had to experience Disneyland Hong Kong. It was a class day!
On Wednesdays we head to Happy Valley Racecourse to chance our arm at the most profitable racecourse in the world. The magnitude of this place is hard to put in to words and its setting amidst the towering skyscrapers of Causeway Bay is indescribable – a very different experience to the St Stephens Day race meet at Leopardstown! After the last race we head to Wan Chai or the notorious LKF for the night!
The contrast of the fast-paced city life style and the slower paced one in the countryside is something which I love about Hong Kong and something which I love about CUHK. CUHK is located about 40 mins by MTR (Hong Kong’s incredible public transport system) in the mountains. The campus is huge and is covered in lush vegetation that plays host to a variety of wildlife from monkeys to snakes! The lectures are long, but the lecturers are incredibly engaging. Additionally, I only have college Monday to Wednesday which is perfect for allowing exchange students to explore and travel!
We have explored Hong Kong’s more natural elements through some absolutely incredible hikes, camping and spending time in the water. We took a ferry to Lamma island and spent a day there exploring the beaches and the old fishing villages – we felt worlds away from Hong Kong Islands busy metropolis.
We marveled at the most incredible views from Suicide Peak after hiking for in the heat which gave us an unbelievable vista over Kowloon. 100% worth the hike!
We also spent a day on the water in Tai Tam Tuk Village wake-boarding and wake-surfing which was great craic. The weather was lovely and despite the water being slightly cold we all had a great time with everyone managing to get up on the board!
It is currently Chinese New Year as I am writing this and tonight, we are heading into Hong Kong Island to watch the fireworks display after spending yesterday camping on the beach in Lantau Island. The variety of lifestyle here is amazing and there is so much to do, college is also quite enjoyable too.
For anyone who is on the fence about studying abroad I cannot recommend it enough that you give it a chance. You will see incredible places, experience different cultures and meet some awesome, like-minded people. Travelling is the best form of education there is, and I cannot wait to see what the coming months have in store in Hong Kong and in Asia!
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