In 2014, HKNZBA established a scholarship with the support of the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office for students approved for an exchange to Hong Kong. This is an award with a monetary value of up to $3000. The first recipient of this award was Jonathan Kuan, a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Auckland. Jonathan was on exchange at the University of Hong Kong in the second semester of 2014. Here are some blog posts from his stay:
Victoria Peak was the first place visited upon arrival in Hong Kong. Known for having one of the greatest night views in the world, I was far from disappointed by its magnificence.
A few exchange students and I walked back to the University of Hong Kong from there, taking forty minutes in total. The journey was marvellous, as we could see many different views, and it was a great exercise to gear ourselves up to welcome any challenges during our stay in Hong Kong.
The stunning night view of the city seems to promise a wonderful life I would have in the following months here.
Mid Autumn Festival
Mid autumn is the traditional festival celebrated by Chinese people. Here, in Hong Kong, people pass on the ancient tradition by performing dragon dance and showing lantern displays. Another tradition is lantern riddle quizzes. All these activities were held at Victoria Park.
In terms of food, moon cake is an irreplaceable feature. The round shaped cake is stuffed with lotus seed paste, red bean paste and dried egg yolks. The combination of the sweet paste and salty yolk was in fact delicious and subverted my original doubts about it.
My friends and I went to Ocean Park at around Halloween time. The park was decorated to the theme – the cable cars were painted to look like pumpkins, and the crew was dressed in scary costumes and tried to scare people inside the park.
As it was quite crowded, we carefully planned the rides we would go on. We decided to ride on the cable car to go to the upper mountain section first in an attempt to beat the queues. The view along the ride was magnificent, as it revealed another side of Hong Kong. Unlike the typical tall buildings of the city, looking down, we could only see mountains and oceans. It was a refreshing break from the busy skyscrapers.
There were many thrilling rides in Ocean Park, such as roller coasters and air drops. But in addition to the rides, there were many animals including dolphins, penguins, even pandas. In zoos in other places, you would probably have to wait in line to see these fantastic creatures, however in Ocean Park we could see them with almost no waiting time.
The park also had a special section which displayed the traditional essence of Hong Kong. There, we could experience the traditional Hong Kong style of life – it was not only fun but educational.
For Halloween, I was lucky to be invited to join the joint university Halloween held at the W Hotel. People dressed up in awesome costumes and make up artists were employed to do face painting.
Food – the Cultural Experience
Dim sum is the most symbolic food of Hong Kong. Here, people could have yum cha at 3 am in the morning! This is helpful for students in Hong Kong during exam period, as they would usually study late, and go to have “zou cha” (early yumcha) before going to sleep. It is quite a unique experience and reveals Hong Kong peoples’ daily lives and living habits.
“Yin yeung” is also a special drink in Hong Kong, which is a mixture of milk tea and coffee.
“Bo zai fan” is also another Hong Kong style food, which is made by putting sticky rice into clay pot with different toppings, such as Cantonese traditional preserved sausage or bbq pork and some vegetables and mushrooms. The brown crispy part at the bottom was really tasty and chewy.
Prior to 1997, Hong Kong was an English colony, therefore it inherited the English tradition to celebrate Christmas. Businessmen also see it as the greatest opportunity to earn money. Therefore, each year, every shopping mall decorates itself glamorously to attract customers.
This is my favourite place, 1881 Heritage. As the name suggests, this antique place was built in 1880’s as the headquarters of marine police. It is now renovated as a shopping mall.
The buildings are also decorated with colourful lights.
This is one of the historical attractions built in 1931 and was used at as Chinese medicine clinic.
Flower Street is where flowers and plants come at a cheap price.
At Bird Garden, vendors sell birds, but people also gather here to share ideas about how to raise them. The birds sing when their cages are uncovered, but interestingly, they suddenly become quiet when the cage is covered with a white cloth.
At Goldfish Street; the display is almost like a beautiful piece of artwork.
Ladies’ Street, a place in Mong Kok where you can find bargains on clothes and various products.
This is a temple built by fishermen in 1865. The spirit they pray for will protect them from rough conditions of sea when fishing.
Although Hong Kong seems like an extremely modern city, with an amazing skyline of skyscrapers, its special history is preserved through the continued existence of buildings of traditional Hong Kong.
The University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong is my place of exchange for the semester.
This is the front of the main building, an English style old building.
This was built on the new campus to celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of the University.
This is the front of main library, which students have nicknamed “Happy Park”. On the left is the “Democracy Wall”, where students can express their opinions and thoughts.
This is a picture of my cantonese class; all of us are exchange students from various universities.