TUEN MUN, Hong Kong, SAR, China – So I realize I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I have been busy doing school work here for the first time in a while…well its actually the first bit of work I’ve actually had to do but thats beside the point. Today was the last day of classes and this past week I took my first final in Chinese. I also had to hand in three term papers. The next two weeks will have another three finals. Then I will be traveling around for a while and I promise there will be a ton of posts about various sight seeing opportunities in Hong Kong, China, and Macau. But first finals…
TUEN MUN, Hong Kong, SAR, China – Today officially marks the beginning of my last two months in Hong Kong and the last two months of my semester abroad. It also marks the last full month of classes and only a month and half left until finals end!!!
TUEN MUN, Hong Kong, SAR, China – This post marks just over one month of me studying abroad in Hong Kong. As I have stated before I am studying abroad in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong at Lingnan University. Right now all of my classes are in full swing. I am currently taking four courses this semester. My courses include: The Government and Politics of Contemporary China; Greater China: Identity and Interdependence; Hong Kong, China & the World Economy; and Chinese as a second language. All of these courses help me with both of my majors, which are International Relations and Asian Studies.
As my time here progresses I am constantly bombarded new aspects of the life and culture of the Hong Kong people. For instance, when in class, most students sit silently when the professors asks a question. Students here also do not like to read for their courses, as such, it is not expected. To remedy this, professors provide students with all the notes that they need, as well as their lectures typed up in a powerpoint presentation format.
With the lack of work (or at least this is my opinion) students have a lot more free time. It is rare that students go to bed before 4:30 AM everyday, and it is not because they are studying. They are just socializing and often screaming. They celebrate birthdays with a “happy corner,” which usually involves holding the birthday boy and spreading his legs between the door of an elevator as it closes and opens (this is something I will never understand).
As for the sights, I have seen many great sights so far and have sampled many delicious meals. I am about to begin traveling outside of the Hong Kong to other surrounding countries. There will be a lot of new posts coming soon.
FU TAI, HONG KONG, SAR, China – Hot Pot is a traditional Chinese meal. It consists of a large pot of boiling soup broth. There is usually one pot of spicy soup and one that is mild. Once the soup is boiling, raw thinly sliced meat, raw seafood, dumplings and vegetables are placed in the soup. The soup is brought back to a boil and the food quickly cooks. Once the food is cooked it is ready to be enjoyed with various dipping sauces. This meal is very similar to Shabu Shabu in Japan. Being a college student, especially one studying abroad, a meal like hot pot is ideal because it is usually all you can eat for a set price. In the case of this particular restaurant it was $98 HKD (approximately $12.25 USD) all you can eat and drink (beer included) for two hours. Not a bad deal.
FU TAI, HONG KONG, SAR, China – Hong Kong is known for a variety of things including its tourist sites, many festivals, and club scene. However, one of Hong Kong’s best reputations is for its food. There is a variety of different styles of food in Hong Kong. Soho, located off of the Central MTR stop in Hong Kong, is full of various restaurants and bars serving food from all over the world. There is of course Dim Sum that is also readily available.
However, some of the best food comes out late at night. Starting around 9PM people will open up small cooking stations and begin to serving homemade food or street food. This food is unbelievable and for a very cheap price you can get a lot. These “street cooks” will make anything from noodles to grilled meets or even soup and dumplings.
Another type of food is the Hong Kong style Pancake. Unlike an American style pancake which is flat. A Hong Kong pancake is make up of gooey bubbles made from a sweet egg based batter. If cooked correctly (and not burned), these pancakes almost melt in your mouth. They are also make for a great snack or for desert. These are found at little shops that line very active streets.
TSIM SHA TSUI, Hong Kong, SAR, China – So this marks the first week of my study abroad experience. I am again studying abroad at Lingnan University, this time for a semester. I am away from home for the next four and a half months and I am joined by over one hundred other international students. For most students, a semester abroad is to travel to a place you have never been before and full of new experiences. For me this will be different since I have been to Hong Kong before, my challenge is to find what else this country has to offer.
The first week was full of unforgettable experiences in which we have taken the chance to step outside our comfort zone and get to know one another. The most interesting part about being in Hong Kong, let alone in Asia, in the middle of January was the chance to experience the Chinese New Year. Unlike the New Year that every country celebrates on December 31st, the Chinese New Year follows a lunar schedule. This year marked the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. In total the Chinese New Year lasts fifteen days. A majority of the holiday is family oriented with business and government offices closing, this made finding a good meal occasionally tough, but some business remained opened and charged a 20% service charge (usually 10%) for food.
While the Chinese New Year is a family oriented holiday, there were many exciting festivities. One of these festivities was the Cathay Pacific New Years parade. This was mainly one big advertisement for the Hong Kong Tourism Board and for Cathay Pacific, however, it was neat to see representatives from nations all over the world.
One of the organized trips through Lingnan University that exchange students were given the chance to participate in, was the consumption of Pun Choi. Pun Choi is a traditional New Years feast usually consumed by most families. Traditionally it was consumed only by the men of a family, however, as the time progressed with tradition was opened up to women. Pun Choi consists of a large bowl and each member of the family picks a type of meat that they want included in the bowl. The meat is then placed in layers and served with rice. After the dinner, we were all taken to the flower market. The flower market is again only open during the New Year’s holiday. The flower market, as its name would suggests, sells a variety of flowers and orange trees. It also sells a bunch of junk toys.
The main highlight of the New Years celebration was the fireworks over Victoria Harbor. I was told that these fireworks are on of the eight new wonders of the world and are only visible once a year. They were spectacular.