Hong Kong: First Impressions

Riva Japaul, Anthropology, CUHK, Hong Kong

I’ve been in Hong Kong for just over a month now, and it definitely feels like home. I was expecting to experience some degree of culture shock, but it’s been surprisingly easy to settle into life in Hong Kong. Although HK is completely different to Manchester and my home in London, the energetic nature of the city makes it feel familiar.

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Tai Po Market

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is pretty far out from the main city area, which comes with benefits and disadvantages. It takes around an hour to get to Central which can sometimes be tiring when attempting to go shopping or on a night out (the inexpensive travel definitely makes the journey a little better), however the campus completely makes up for this! Our campus is huge, and has been voted the prettiest/greenest campus in Hong Kong. My halls are situated on top of a mountain, so the view from my room is amazing. Academic life here is definitely different, but I’ll be speaking about that in another post. In terms of social life, there’s a big exchange student community so everyone is super friendly and up for going out and travelling, so I’ve already had a 5 day trip to Vietnam!

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CUHK Campus

Thoughts about Hong Kong:

  • Even thought the city is insanely busy, people seem to walk at an almost unbearably slow pace.
  • ‘Everyone speaks English’ is definitely a lie! Often people will be too self-conscious to speak English, and may choose to ignore you instead. Luckily, I’m attempting to learn Cantonese to a conversational level, although it’s proving to be difficult.
  • Certain things in Hong Kong are unbelievably cheap, I’m paying the equivalent of a month’s rent in Manchester for a whole semester here! Transport is also cheap, an average journey is 50p with a student MTR card.
  • Whilst the city is packed and full of buildings, cars and people, you can travel for under an hour and arrive at quiet beaches and concealed hiking trails.

  • Hong Kong is the best base for travelling around Asia, I paid £80 for return flights to Vietnam.

  • Forget makeup, you will sweat it off within your first five minutes of being outside!

  • Meat here is not like meat in England, prepare for boiled chicken with skin on and chicken feet as snacks. 
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Cheng Chau Beach

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