One Month in Hong Kong

Arvid Bräne - September 24th, 2014 - #Personal, #Studies, #Travel, #University

So I moved to Hong Kong. Yes, the “small-half-island-jungle-full-with-people-that-used-to-be-an-english-colony-that-china-now-controls”-country is now my home. I’m currently one month into my four-month-semester-stay and I’ve just gotten used to the climate, food and culture. This is a short update on how things are going.

Living

sam the wiseI’ve been one of the fortunate to get a room at the student residence at CityU. I live in a 12 m2 room that I share with my roommate Sam, my bed is as hard as a rock, I pay for AC by the minute, I share my toilet with 4 people, I have no place to cook my own food, the WiFi feels like dial-up from the ’90’s and I wait for the elevator about 30-40 minutes per day; but I still consider myself very lucky. Living in Hong Kong is usually very expensive (in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world to live in) but as I live in a dorm I only pay about $4500 HKD (around $640 USD), and that’s for a whole semester! I can’t really complain about the distance to school either; for most of my courses it takes around 30 seconds to get to class (not counting the unbelievable amount of time I spend waiting for elevators).

School

One of the biggest differences so far is definitely school; even though City University of Hong Kong is a great school, it’s no where near Umeå University when it comes to the teaching quality and class participation. It might be the courses I’m taking (Media & Communication mostly); it might be that the serious stuff is still to come, but so far I feel way too relaxed about the workload.
cityu cmc City University of Hong Kong consists of four buildings: Academic Building 1, 2, 3 (on the left) and Run Run Shaw Creative Media Center (on the right).

Food & Culture

taxi-drivers do love there phones...The food is undoubtedly different and it’s not too uncommon for restaurants to have menus in only Cantonese, which makes ordering food that much harder. It takes some getting used to but most of the food is actually good, even though, in most cases, its looks beg to differ. The food (and most of the other stuff you buy for that matter) is fortunately quite cheap, compare to Sweden, so trying out new things doesn’t have to set you back a fortune. Even the public transportation is cheap and don’t even get me started on taxis.

Travel & Nature

One misconception of Hong Kong is that the country solely consists of the main city; this is obviously a load of bollocks since only 10% of the country is actual “city ground”. The jungle makes for great hiking and exploring. Catching a boat to any of the small islands (which feels like traveling to another country) outside the city is often cheaper than your average meal.

A panorama shot just above where I live, Kowloon Tong

A panorama shot just above where I live, Kowloon Tong

I’m planing to travel a lot during my time here; so far I’ve been to Macao and I have tickets to Taiwan for next week. Other places I’m planing to visit are South Korea, Cambodia, Singapore and hopefully Malaysia and/or The Philippines. This is going to be a hectic autumn, that’s for sure. See you in a couple of months Sweden and as my mother always says:

The best thing about living abroad is that you learn to appreciate home