Maybe it’s because I didn’t really set any expectations or maybe it’s just because I’m me (which also probably means that I don’t set expectations), but landing in HK and finding my way to res didn’t take as long as I allocated. So my plan was to not take any taxis and do it like the locals (ie, bus my way to res) and after getting lost 2 times, I found my way to res. In which I met my next hurdle: the residence staff.
So as a whole, I’m not able to listen to canto very well but with mando I’m able to “get by”. What’s sad is I literally think that I spoke more mando talking to the residence staff over the course of about an hour than I did the whole year last year. While speaking, I was actually surprised that I remembered more than what I thought I did.
After unpacking my things, I went to the canteen to get myself dinner. *aside* – for some reason, when I first heard canteen, I thought of the bathroom… I don’t know why…. – I was very surprised with the selection of their food as they had quite the variety. I was even more surprised with the prices because I could get a decent sized portion of rice +1 for 17HKD.
So the next morning was the start of AIESEC Hong Kong’s conference and so being the person I am, I decided to attempt to find my way to HKUST by myself. Of course after 2hrs or so, I finally reached the destination (it should’ve taken closer to 1hr). So if I’m correct, HKUST is located on another mountain, so when I got off the bus, I felt that the air was a lot fresher (which doesn’t say much I guess since HK is pretty polluted as a whole), but the view was stunning. Unfortunately, I do not know why I didn’t take a picture of it..
In order to keep this shorter than what it could be, I’ll just talk about the key highlights that I’ve noticed about HK conferences vs Canada ones. In HK:
a lot less dancing, only stuck to a small set of songs
a lot less cheering, all LC cheers are very similar – “who rocks the house? _____ rocks the house! We’re up and down and all the way around”
members from the same local committee (LC) stuck together
usually a constant whisper in audience during sessions
A LOT of sharing (it put me straight to sleep after getting back to the hostel, which is a first)
a lot more reflecting (morning plenary, evening plenary)
less fun team activities
a lot more food during meals (yay chinese food)
a lot more snacks and beverages during sessions
had LC vs LC night events <- something that should totally be done everywhere
The highlight for the conference for me was the last session. The theme for the conference was all about dreams and throughout the sessions, they spent a lot of time sharing during sessions. I understand the value of that, but I feel like having 200 people passively listening isn't very engaging. With the last session, what we had to do was to write down our dreams on a piece of paper and hang it on a string that was all around the room. after that, we had to go around, look at other people's dreams and hang words of encouragement or suggested steps or anything positive really on the piece of paper. The positive atmosphere in there was something that I haven't felt in so long, it was actually nice.
So with the conference over, next up was school. The problem with the maps on campus is that it's 2D whereas the uni's on a mountain so there's many levels and stairs going everywhere. That being said, I definitely got lost a couple of times, but after 2 days or so, I began to realize just how small the campus is.
Classes seem like they'll be quite awesome. After changing my schedule about, I have 4 courses spread between Tues-Thurs. Water management and sustainability, non profit management, CSR and economic history. The best part is that my econ history prof is new to the course and has never taught it so he said he'll upload everything we need online and he understands if we don't go to class. The kicker here is that it's my thursday course meaning I have 5 day weekends!
In terms of AIESEC, I've been invited to help AIESEC HK with their social media at a national level, which was exactly what I was hoping to get to do. I'm also thinking of helping a new LC ramp up their performance as I think I'm able to contribute more there than I am with HKU.
As for my res, I must say that I'm enjoying it quite a bit. The res life here is very different and very inclusive. There are so many res activities and res competition. There are about 20 other people on my floor and I can see myself enjoying their company. The featured picture is the cake that they got me for my birthday.
And the most important part: travels.
So my current plans are:
Feb 7 – 18 – Malaysia and Singapore for Chinese New Year with family
Feb 28 – Mar 4 – Taiwan for the lantern festival
Mar 7 – 18 – Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos – reading week
Mar 22 – 29 Singapore for APC (AIESEC conference)
Mar 29 – Apr 1 – Bali Indonesia
Apr 4 – 8 – Japan for cherry blossoms
If anyone has any suggestions or places to visit, food to try, people to meet in any of those countries, please do share!
I'll try to update this on a weekly basis, but no promises