Monday, March 03, 2014

Erik P - Hong Kong - Spring 2014

After my 14 hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong, I was ready to drop my bags in the airport and fall asleep in the “claim your baggage area.”  Walking towards the exit I was searching frantically for a window to look outside at anything “foreign” I could lay my eyes on.  Once I got on the taxi I rolled down my window and stuck my phone out and recorded everything I saw, which mostly consisted of large housing complexes.  I wonder if I looked like a foreigner with my phone out of the window.  Once I arrived to my hostel I set everything to the side and fell asleep.  Waking up I decided to have breakfast in a nearby cafeteria and was astonished at the beautiful view of campus there was.  I would soon find out that every building in the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) had some sort of scenic view outside of the windows.  CUHK is known as the most scenic campus in Hong Kong because it is built on a hill surrounded by a few other hills/mountains.  I was pleased with the selection of food in the cafeteria (my first meal was roasted duck with white rice), very pleased with the prices (average meal cost 22 HKD about 3 USD) and was even more pleased to hear all of the staff speak in English (English is a major language in Hong Kong).  The first week at CUHK was basically an orientation of sort for all the international students.  I was pretty amazed to hear that about 50% (200) of the students studying abroad this semester were all from the US! That is a ton.  In this orientation there was a Cantonese survival seminar that basically taught us a few phrases that would be very helpful [m goi (mgoy) is basically the magic word here; it means excuse me and thank you depending on the situation].  After the third day at CUHK I realized how health conscious this city is.  In the subways you will commonly see people with face masks, not because they think you are sick (common misconception), but because they are sick and they do not want to infect others.  My first outing to the city was to Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong Island.  In this peak you are able to see a magnificent view of Hong Kong Island at about 500 m high.  Overall Hong Kong is a small scenic city with a great club scene, a quality and inexpensive transportation system, and a large selection of inexpensive tasty food.  If you have any questions regarding CUHK and/or Hong Kong I would gladly answer them!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi from CPP250, Erik!


5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CPP 250

Teddy Cassidy

Hello Eric, I was wondering how bad the air pollution in Hong Kong really gets. Also, based off your interacts with native students so far, what appears to be the general opinion of the United States?

4:29 AM  
Blogger ErikPantoja246 said...

Hello CPP250! Be excited for study abroad it will be an amazing experience!

Hello Teddy, the air pollution in Hong Kong is really not that bad. Initially when you enter Hong Kong you can feel a lower quality of air but after a one or two days you get completely used to it.
Based off my interactions with the local students most seem to be overall very friendly to all international students. The Local students here are very interested in meeting exchange students. Local students definitely do not have negative opinions of the US though, most actually want to study abroad in the US which is pretty awesome. Did that answer your question?

-Erik Pantoja

7:21 AM  
Blogger Alex Matkovic said...

Hello Erik!
It sounds like you're having quite the adventure in Hong Kong! I'm currently in CPP250 and I was wondering if you had anything to say about how you handled culture shock while abroad! I'm glad you're enjoying your time abroad!
-Alex Matkovic

9:56 PM  
Blogger Katie Boals said...

Hi, Erik!

It sounds like you are having a wonderful time in Hong Kong! I am studying abroad in Dublin next fall. I was just curious as to whether you ever get homesick and how you deal with it? Do you call home a lot? Thanks!


7:51 PM  
Blogger ErikPantoja246 said...

Hello Alex!

Culture shock is honestly not as bad as it seems. You may find things being done by locals different and possibly strange but it is a very fun adventure. The way I comforted myself through culture shock is finding a friend with culture similarities, in this case I made a few friends from the US. I also took on journalism, just writing about how my day went and what new things I saw/did. After some time though you eventually get used to your host college and learn to enjoy yourself!

3:42 AM  
Blogger ErikPantoja246 said...

Hello Katie!

Actually I have not gotten very homesick. I have had such a great time exploring and adventuring Hong Kong. The way I dealt with the little amount of homesickness though was by talking to people about it because a lot of exchange students are in that same situation and talking about it with other people that feel the same way helps a lot. At times I do check up on my parents to see how they are doing maybe like once every two weeks, just so they are not worrying about me.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Kris Willard said...

Hello Eric,
I will be studying in Shanghai and Hong Kong trough Semester at Sea in February 2015. After reading your blog, I'm so excited to see China and experience the culture, even if it is for a short time. It sounds like you wrote this during your honeymoon phase of culture shock. I was wondering if/when you hit the crisis stage and what that was like for. Thanks for your post! - Kris

4:10 PM  

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