Erik P - Hong Kong - Spring 2014
After my 14 hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong, I was ready to drop my bags in the airport and fall asleep in the “claim your baggage area.” Walking towards the exit I was searching frantically for a window to look outside at anything “foreign” I could lay my eyes on. Once I got on the taxi I rolled down my window and stuck my phone out and recorded everything I saw, which mostly consisted of large housing complexes. I wonder if I looked like a foreigner with my phone out of the window. Once I arrived to my hostel I set everything to the side and fell asleep. Waking up I decided to have breakfast in a nearby cafeteria and was astonished at the beautiful view of campus there was. I would soon find out that every building in the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) had some sort of scenic view outside of the windows. CUHK is known as the most scenic campus in Hong Kong because it is built on a hill surrounded by a few other hills/mountains. I was pleased with the selection of food in the cafeteria (my first meal was roasted duck with white rice), very pleased with the prices (average meal cost 22 HKD about 3 USD) and was even more pleased to hear all of the staff speak in English (English is a major language in Hong Kong). The first week at CUHK was basically an orientation of sort for all the international students. I was pretty amazed to hear that about 50% (200) of the students studying abroad this semester were all from the US! That is a ton. In this orientation there was a Cantonese survival seminar that basically taught us a few phrases that would be very helpful [m goi (mgoy) is basically the magic word here; it means excuse me and thank you depending on the situation]. After the third day at CUHK I realized how health conscious this city is. In the subways you will commonly see people with face masks, not because they think you are sick (common misconception), but because they are sick and they do not want to infect others. My first outing to the city was to Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong Island. In this peak you are able to see a magnificent view of Hong Kong Island at about 500 m high. Overall Hong Kong is a small scenic city with a great club scene, a quality and inexpensive transportation system, and a large selection of inexpensive tasty food. If you have any questions regarding CUHK and/or Hong Kong I would gladly answer them!