When you study abroad, time doesn’t run the same way. A day is equivalent to a week, and a week feels like a month. The past three weeks have confirmed that I definitely made the right decision to come here!
To answer all the uncertainties of my previous blog post: my roommate is from Istanbul, Turkey, and she’s probably going to read this post because we’ve become good friends (Hey, Ilgin!); I’ve taken the metro many, many times and love the efficiency of public transportation…I swear the escalators are faster here, too; every day is busy and fun, even when I go somewhere that I’ve been just a day or week ago because it’s almost always with a different group of people.
From adapting to life in Hong Kong to meeting people from all over the world, I’ve realized that I’m more American than I thought. It’s definitely easier to strike up conversation with another American because of similarities in backgrounds and that one mutual friend you’re guaranteed to have, but I’ve been actively trying to interact with different types of people. Besides learning more about China and Hong Kong, I’ve also learned about places such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, the U.K. and more because there are 400 exchange students this semester at HKUST.
In addition to new friends, a special part about studying abroad in Hong Kong has been celebrating the Lunar New Year in Asia. While my family recognizes the holiday back in the U.S., I had never experienced it in China before, where the New Year is celebrated for 15 days. For the first few days, we had a break at school, so I travelled to Guangzhou, China to meet up with my dad and my grandma. This past weekend, I stayed with a friend in Taipei, Taiwan, and we braved the crowds to attend the Lantern Festival in Pingxi, marking the end of New Year festivities.
So far, I’ve loved this semester abroad. I’m hoping to continue meeting new people and to explore more of Hong Kong. Visiting mainland China and Taiwan have been fantastic trips, but I’m really looking forward to venturing out on local nature and cultural excursions.